Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Annus Horribilis 

In late 1992, Queen Elizabeth II gave a speech in which she coined the phrase "annus horribilis," or "horrible year." The year was clearly a bad one in which 3 royal marriages collapsed and Windsor Castle was engulfed in flames. A bad year, though I'm sure there are many families -- with far less in monetary resources -- who suffer just as badly.

Last night's 7-1 loss to the Pirates exemplified why this year has been the D-Backs' own annus horribilis. To be sure, although this team was never considered a World Series contender, the depths into which the D-Backs have fallen took us all by surprise. It seems like nobody has exceeded expectations and personal failings (the return to earth -- or worse -- of the 2nd-year D-Backs) and unexpected calamities (the rash of injuries to players talented and less-so) are the order of the day.

To wit: Stephen Randolph making his first major league start. Randolph became the 11th D-Back pitcher to start a game this year, tying the Mets for the most starters in the National League. Randolph joins a long line of D-Back pitchers in having a lousy first game as a starter in 2004. Only Brandon Webb can be said to have had a good first outing.

Pitcher: IP H R ER HR BB SO
Johnson: 6.0 6 3 3 1 3 6
Webb: 6.0 5 1 1 0 2 7
Sparks: 6.0 8 6 5 2 2 3
Fossum: 5.0 5 3 3 1 4 4
Dessens: 5.2 6 3 1 0 2 5
Daigle: 2.2 10 8 8 5 0 0
Good: 3.2 8 7 6 2 1 0
Gonzalez: 4.0 8 6 6 1 2 1
Cormier: 1.1 6 7 7 1 1 0
Reynolds: 2.0 6 6 1 0 2 0
Randolph: 3.0 4 2 2 2 3 3

Randolph pitched about as well as I expected; that is to say, not that well. (Not that Lance Cormier made any argument for putting him back into the starting lineup, pitching even worse.)

And then the unexpected calamity -- Koyie Hill breaking an ankle. Now, considering Hill has been with the team for, oh, 2 1/2 weeks, I'm not going to go into a TwinsGeek-like CAPITAL LETTER swoon over the loss of our catcher. But, still, c'mon. How many more injuries do we have to put up with? With the exception of Sexson (and Gonzo, who packed it in after the season was lost), injuries are not the cause of our poor season as the injured players weren't that good to begin with. But with Hill's injury, I've finally accepted that anything that can go wrong this season, will go wrong.

And I'm glad to get that out of the way. On to 2005.

I didn't even mention the most obvious parallels between the 2004 D-Backs and the 1992 royal family -- the two divorces (Brenly and Colangelo).
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