Saturday, October 02, 2004


I just want to get to 50 wins.  That's all.  And the D-Backs were so close.  Yes, Jake Peavy just made us look plain awful last night for the second time, but then he gave up a mistake to Shea Hillenbrand and just like that, the 1-0 deficit turned into a 2-1 lead.

And Michael Gosling gave it right back the next inning on a pinch hit homerun.  Final score, 3-2 Padres.

I just want to get to 50 wins.  Did I mention that?  But in any case, praise here for two folks:

1.  Michael Gosling.  Unlike all those other pitchers who've attempted to fill the, well, 3 through 5 slots (especially the #5 slot), Gosling has pitched solidly, and hasn't truly been lit up (even his bad outing wasn't Gonzalez-like bad).  Based on the (limited) stuff he's shown so far, he's got to be pencilled in for a starting spot in 2005.

2.  Shea Hillenbrand.  Yes, he doesn't walk much.  Yes, his fielding isn't much.  Yes, he has exhibited a disturbing tendency to ground out into inning-ending double plays this year.  But no D-Back player has a higher offensive VORP or batting average.  Hitting above .300 is a definite accomplishment.  On top of that, he has not complained (publicly) about the anemic team that is the 2005 Diamondbacks.  Don't get me wrong -- if they sign Richie Sexson, Chad Tracy is definitely the future at 3rd base, and Shea and his arbitration-eligible contract is not worth retaining, but at least he didn't fail this season.

Speaking of Sexson, Bob McManaman has an article in today's Republic about how Sexson is the first of many dominoes for the D-Backs.  It has one of the funniest quotations of the year:

"If Richie's not coming back, I'm not coming back either"

This from a member of the D-Backs pitching staff.  Dude, whoever you are, the D-Backs don't want you.  I mean, the article says that it wasn't Randy Johnson who made the comment, but Randy's the only pitcher that makes sense coming from.  The rest of the staff is either a) too young to have any say in where they go, or b) too interchangeable for the D-Backs to care.  But who do you think it was?  Choate?  Randolph?

Finally, congratulations to Ichiro Suzuki, breaking George Sisler's record for hits.  258 and counting.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Arizona Fall League Get-Together Set 

Yes, Jim, it is going to be 10/16.

The Peoria Javelinas take on Your. Scottsdale. Scorpions. at Scottsdale Stadium Saturday Oct. 16th at 7:05. Jim had talked previously about meeting at a local Old Town watering hole prior to the game -- any suggestions?

All are welcome -- as we get closer to the game we'll note the location of said watering hole and a meeting point for the game itself.


Oh, and I posted my follow-up about the player/wins thing before reading any of the comments on my first posting by Jim and Mike from Mike's Baseball Rants, on whose blog I noted my "find" on a, well, uncharitable view of the D-Backs. It's not that I disagree that the D-Backs are bad, it's just that I believe uncharity begins at home.

Player/Futility Update 

Now that I've made a claim for some never-before historical feat by the D-Backs, I feel compelled to do a little more research into it. And I'm glad that I offered myself some wiggle room, because I have found that at least one other team has done it before -- the Detroit Tigers. Not the 2003 version, but the 2002 version. 55 wins, but 57 players. I'm going to try to go back as far as possible to check other teams, but it may take a couple days before I can finish it off.

But the D-Backs obviously still have a shot to exceed the Tigers in terms of the number by which players exceed wins.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Man Called "Fass" 

As Jim predicted yesterday, the D-Backs couldn't complete the sweep against the Brewers, losing 4-1. Casey Fossum pitched OK, but injured his hand in the 3rd inning, gave up two homeruns in the 4th, and left at the end of the inning.

I "watched" the game on MLB.com's Gameday, and when lefty Jeff Fassero was described as the pitcher in the 5th, I attributed it to one of the occasional Gameday bugs. "Fassero" and "Fossum" even sound alike, sorta. And Fassero was pictured in a Rockies cap. But Gameday noted that Fossum left due to a hand injury. Sure enough, it wasn't a bug, and the D-Backs had signed Fassero, yesterday apparently. He pitched 1 scoreless inning.

With Fassero's appearance, it took the 2004 Diamondbacks one step closer to what I think might be a major league first.

Wins, 2004 Diamondbacks: 49
Players, 2004 Diamondbacks: 52

Folks, I haven't researched this, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first time this has ever happened in a modern era. Obviously, teams with less than 50 wins are few and far between, and I doubt any that any team pre-1950 switched players as much as modern teams do.

The only team I checked this against was the 2003 Tigers. The Tigers had both 43 wins and players.

For those D-Backs fans wondering if you'll have to cheer against the D-Backs in their series against the Padres so they can set this illustrious record, never fear -- Brandon Lyon is still trying to pitch at least one inning, which would bump the D-Backs up to 53 players used.

I'll have more thoughts on injuries, etc. when I take a look at the team after the season, but clearly when even the coaches are having surgery, it hasn't been a stellar year.

More stuff today... or possibly tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Context Is Everything 

A fairly amazing game last night. Sloppily played, to be certain. Poorly pitched, sure. But to have the D-Backs blow a lead in the top of the 9th, come back with two runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie it, give up a run in the top of the 11th, then have the most "whodat?" of all the many "whodat?" players the D-Backs have put on their roster this year (i.e., Alan Zinter) hit a game-winning, walk-off 2-run homerun? Wow. 9-8 D-Backs over the Brewers in 11 innings.

And nobody outside of the greater Phoenix and Milwaukee metropolitan areas cares. And relatively few inside those areas do.

Let's face it, if one of the teams were in the playoff chase, this would be one of those "fateful" games that fans of the team would be referring to on a regular basis for the rest of the season. As it is, it'll be forgotten by the first pitch this afternoon.

Of course, even if the teams had been in the playoff hunt, the game might still have been overshadowed by yesterday's baseball events...
-- Dodgers score 5 in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Rockies, 5-4. Elmer Dessens pitched great when the game was out of reach and lucked into the win, Steve Finley gets a major RBI, and, most perplexedly, Milton Bradley gets tossed for arguing with the fans. At Dodger Stadium.
-- Red Sox pull within 2 1/2 of the Yankees. Yankees play a double-header against the Twins today.
-- Ichiro just 4 hits shy of Sisler.
-- The Angels have somehow managed to catch up with the A's. Identical records, 5 games to go.
-- The Cubs are doing their best to throw away the wild card, tied with the Giants, 1/2 game ahead of Houston.

Oh, and MLB has decided to move the Expos to D.C.

No wonder my wife said this morning, "You're spending longer than usual reading the Sports section..."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Two Trains Colliding 

Pity last night's squad... 19-49 since the All-Star Break, with the staff ace pitching well in his last 5 starts (1.84 ERA) but a 2-3 record to show for it. And the ace pitches well once again, giving up just 1 earned run... and they lose? Now they're 19-50?

Huh? No, it's not the D-Backs and Randy Johnson I'm talking about, but the Brewers and Ben Sheets. Unluckily for Sheets, he was going up against Randy Johnson, and while the D-Backs' bats didn't exactly set BOB aflame, they did score 3 runs, which was more than enough. Heck, the relief staff pitched 2 solid innings of relief, too. 3-1, Diamondbacks.

For what it's worth, the D-Backs' record since the All-Star Break is 17-53 (including last night's game).

In other news, Chris Snyder won't be playing in the Arizona Fall League this year. Looks like we'll get catcher Corey Myers in exchange.

Monday, September 27, 2004


Is this how low we've sunk? To be happy that a former member of the D-Backs starting rotation managed to go a whole four innings, and "save the bullpen a little bit." Goodness, gracious, folks, even I have more pride than that. 7-1, Padres, for the 6th D-Back loss in a row. Peavy just made the D-Backs look bad...

You would think, reading Tim Tyers' summary of the game in the Republic, that he'd been suffering with the team all season. He hasn't really, though, so maybe he's just a little more negative. The man does not like Luis Terrero, though I'd agree that Terrero had a lousy series against the Padres.

In the 1:00 hour yesterday I spent time flipping channels between the Cardinals-Falcons game and the Diamondbacks-Padres game. That was an hour I'll never get back. Sports at its ugliest. (OK, I guess the Padres played their game well, but I didn't really need to see that.)

Finally, it looks like there is some small consensus forming around going to see the Arizona Fall League game on Saturday, Oct. 16th at 7 PM. If I recall one of Jim's comments, I think the game's at Scottsdale Stadium. Unless somebody comments by Wednesday that we should not pick that game, let's do that game. Again, comment either way.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

D-Backs Double-Take Two More... Losses 

It is an axiom that it is never a good sign for at least one team involved when you do a double-take when reading the sports scores.  So when I opened up this morning's Republic to see the "Padres 6, D-Backs 5" score at the bottom the Sports section's front page and did a double-take, I knew the story behind it wouldn't be good.

The Republic had either a) messed up and duplicated Friday's score, or b) the D-Backs had, indeed, lost their second straight game to the Padres by an identical score.  Sure enough, the answer was "b."  I suppose this was a slightly less painful loss as on Friday we gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to lose it, while no such last-minute occurred Saturday night.

Most stunning stat of all -- to score the 5 runs on Friday night, the D-Backs had seven - 7! - consecutive hits.

All of them singles.

And now Jake Peavy is making the Diamondbacks look bad and Sparks is making the Padres look good.  4-0, bottom of the 2nd.

Less than seven games to go... less than seven games to go...