Friday, April 22, 2005

The Glass 

Half Full: The D-Backs were playing against Jason Schmidt, one of the two best pitchers in the division… and winning…

Half Empty: They lost anyway.

First, credit where credit is due: Russ Ortiz pitched very well. 7 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 2 Ks. Chad Tracy had a home run that traveled about 399 feet, 6 inches, or about 6 inches beyond the center field wall (and then made a nice scoop of a throw in the dirt by Alex Cintron in the bottom of the inning).

And, you know, I find it hard to blame the bullpen. They pitched 5+ innings and gave up 2 runs -- not shutdown work, but not implosive, either. Melvin's decision to have Bruney start the 8th is easy to second-guess, given the result, but it's not like Bruney hadn't pitched well thus far this year and Ortiz had reached 101 pitches. In Bruney's 9 2/3 IP prior to last night's game, he'd given up just 4 walks; who knew he'd give up 2 more in this one inning of work? (Let the overwork arguments begin!) Cormier and Gosling also pitched well (that is, until the 3rd inning).

Still, news that Jose Valverde is progressing well with his rehab is welcome, welcome news.

No, if we are assigning blame here (and, hey, I'm human and I need to assign blame, just like everyone else does), let's blame the offense, which continues its recent anemia. Scoring just 3 runs against Jason Schmidt is one thing -- acceptable, in my mind -- but failing to score against the 7 Giants pitchers over 6 innings is not. It's the baseball equivalent of a "coverage sack." The offense ground into 3 double plays, which is one way to score just 3 runs off 11 hits.

Half Full: Royce Clayton didn't bat second (uhhhh… because he didn't start, though he went 1-fer-2 as a late-inning substitute)

Half Empty: Quinton McCracken batted second. Really, an OBP of .300 is good only in comparison to Clayton's .281…

The team is still doing OK getting people on base thus far (5th in the NL in OBP), but they're tied for 2nd in GIDP, which helps explain why they're in the middle of the pack (9th) for runs scored.

So now the D-Backs head home for a brief 3-game set against the Padres. The marquee game is Saturday's Brandon Webb-Jake Peavy matchup, which sadly will not be on TV. I always like the D-Backs' chances with Webb on the mound, but with Jake Peavy -- the other one of the two best pitchers in the division -- going for the Padres, I'm not overly optimistic. The other two games are definitely winnable -- Our chances of ending the weekend above .500 are probably about… .500.

So which will it be -- half full or half empty?

My complaint with the bullpen is there is NO EXCUSE to come in and walk the first batter you face, then walk the next batter who is trying to bunt. If I had something to throw at my TV I would have. We should have beaten Schmidt who was having an off night control wise.
Oh, I probably let the bullpen off too easy, you're right. Wasn't the talk before last night that Bruney had apparently solved his control problems? I especially agree that walking a batter who is trying to bunt is bad.
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