Friday, September 24, 2004

AFL Game Update 

Earlier this week, I suggested some games for an Arizona Fall League get-together. My brain was not functioning perfectly, because I missed a couple games, and missed the fact that they're also playing at Phoenix Muni. So here is a list of Scorpions games (Th, F PM, Sa all day) that works for us:

10/9 (sa) @ 1
10/16 (sa) @ 7
10/23 (sa) @ 1
10/29 (f) @ 7
10/30 (sa) @ 1
11/6 (sa) @ 1
11/12 (f) @ 7
11/13 (sa) @ 1

Jim from But It's A DRY Heat has suggested that 10/16 might be the best. I think that's open on my schedule as well -- anybody else want to chime in? Take a look, let us know. I think we should schedule this sooner rather than later just to get into our calendars.

Two Painful 

With the 7-1 and 2-1 doubleheader losses by the D-Backs to the Rockies yesterday, our pain can now be measured in single digits, as we have just 9 games left. The D-Backs seem to have forgotten entirely that we were playing in Coors Field, as they managed just 4 runs in 3 games. It was painful to realize the D-Backs turned 18 hits yesterday afternoon into just 2 runs. That ain't good.

If anything, hopefully Randy and other sportswriters were paying attention -- Randy got 2 runs scored on his behalf on Wednesday, matching the D-Backs' total in 2 games yesterday. Again, it's not that the offense is anemic when Randy's pitching -- it's that the offense is anemic, period.

Other stuff... Ryan at West Coast Bias noted the BP review of the Diamondbacks yesterday. It's hard to argue with the magnitude of the D-Backs' fall from grace, but in the same paragraph, BP manages to blame the decline from 2001 on "poor baseball management" while noting that they won the World Series in 2001. I'm not saying the D-Backs haven't suffered some poor baseball management (note the utter lack of success by their recent FA/trade pitching signings). But this year's collapse (made worse by injury and luck -- look at their Pythagenport record -- two issues completely ignored by the paragraph) cannot be discussed without discussing the 2001 World Championship. The D-Backs went the high-risk/high-reward route in signing veterans to long-term contracts, and reaped both the rewards (in 2001) and the risks (now). I'll be honest, folks -- in hindsight, knowing that we still have a year or two before things can get significantly better, I'd still do what the D-Backs did to get their championship.

But now that we have ours, please let's not do it again.

Also wanted to point out the article by Bob McManaman on the possibility of Mark Grace managing the D-Backs. It's nothing more than hearsay and speculation, but at least it's in-depth hearsay and speculation

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Playing Out The String 

Oh, man, I'm just like the Diamondbacks, just trying to get through these last 12 (now 11) games as quickly as possible. Keep the entries short, because at this point, what is left to say? (OK, plenty, but nothing I'm interested in.)

Unlike last week, when the Rockies offense played like they thought it was Coors Field, last night's 4-2 D-Backs loss to the Rockies could've been played anywhere except Coors Field. Another strong pitching performance by Randy Johnson; another anemic offensive performance by the D-Backs. If I had more time (which I don't), I would do further research on the theory I advanced a couple weeks ago, which is that one reason for the small statistical difference (possibly not even statistically significant) between D-Back runs scored in Randy's starts compared to other starts is that Johnson's pitching opponents are probably their staff aces, too. So while it's disappointing that the D-Backs could only score 2 runs, we should keep in mind that Colorado had their #1 starter out there (though perhaps Kennedy has had a better year). That by itself could be enough to explain away the rest of the difference.

But the defense was to blame, too...

And it's already 3-0 Rockies in the bottom of the 1st.


Playing out the string, that's all I'm doing...

"Hopefully I can go five or six innings." -- Steve Sparks, on his upcoming Sunday start. Frankly, I like to see a wee bit more confidence in my starters than exhibited here...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Random Notes 

So Randy Johnson's ticked off about not being considered for the Cy Young Award. Or, rather, he's ticked off about not being discussed in an ESPN report profiling the NL race. It's a little unclear how this tirade came about (would it kill the Republic or MLB.com's reporters to detail the question that set him off?), but it appears from a distance that Randy wanted to get his name back out there for consideration and decided to use the media time as an opportunity to do it.

Also in that same article is a note that the D-Backs, having lost their AA-affiliate to the Cardinals, picked up the Tennessee Smokies. The Smokies are in the Southern League and were, well, the Cardinals' AA-affiliate. The D-Backs have a 2-year deal, which means all squads' relationships with the D-Backs are set to expire at the end of 2006. If you're interested, they're in Kodak, 20-30 miles east of Knoxville on the eastern end of Tennessee. The address of the stadium -- I love this -- is 3540 Line Drive.

Oh, and for what it's worth, since August 2nd -- in other words, after Luis Gonzalez shut it down for the season and Steve Finley got traded, the D-Backs have a 14-29 record (.326), compared to 33-74 (.308) for the 4 months prior. I'm not sold on Pedrique coming back, but at least the team hasn't completely collapsed here in the last couple months.

Well, That Was Easy 

When the game gets rained out, it makes it pretty easy to write the blog summary for the game. So the D-Backs will play 2 against the Rockies on Thursday in a 28-runs-for-the-price-of-14 doubleheader at Coors Field.

The day was not entirely without news. Randy Johnson, Tennessee, and other stuff in another post later today.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

October (and November) Classics 

I'd been planning since last week to note the Arizona Fall League rosters were up, but Jim beat me to it. In any case, here's the main page, the schedule, and an article on the teams in the League.

Since our blogging D-Backs' confab never really got together, I suggested then and formally suggest now that we get together for a Fall League game. Here are the ground rules I'd suggest:
1. It has to be a Scottsdale Scorpions game (the D-Backs' players are assigned to the Scorpions).
2. Game must be at night during M-F, or any time Sa (no Sunday games).
3. No games T or W night (assuming SlamFest is still going on, Jim).
4. I gather the bloggers are mostly East Valley (or at least not West Valley) people, so I've eliminated games at the Peoria Sports Complex. This is optional, but I'd much rather see a game at Scottsdale Stadium or Ho-Ho-Kam, if only for time purposes (not to mention aesthetic).

With these 4 ground rules, here are the 7 games that pass muster:
10/9 (Sa) @ 1
10/16 (Sa) @ 7
10/21 (Th) @ 7
10/29 (F) @ 7
10/30 (Sa) @ 1
11/6 (Sa) @ 7
11/12 (F) @ 7

I don't have my calendar (or at least my wife's calendar), handy, so I don't know how many of these won't work for other reasons.

Jim, even if it's just you and me, I'm definitely in for one of these games. But hopefully Ryan, Robert, Stephen, and others will/can join in.

If you want to join us, post in the Comments section your available times. Looking forward to this.

Back for the Stretch Drive... 

... such as it is.

Spent an extended weekend in San Diego, enjoying the wonderful weather. The parks and playgrounds are great, Legoland has some decent rides (though I could tell that it has been far too long since I've been to an amusement park as I was even jonesing for the "Brontosaurus".) Kept up as best I could with the D-Backs, reading box scores. Of course, by doing so, I still have no idea why Brandon Webb only pitched two innings the other day. 1-2 against the Cardinals -- I think that bettered Jim's prediction by a game.

In any case, I'm here for the rest of the way. Give me a day or two to work up a full head of steam, and I'll be back in business.