Thursday, April 28, 2005

Six. Seriously? 

I don't care whether you've been playing baseball for eight or ninety-eight years, sweeping a 3-game series at Dodger Stadium is a Big Deal. [Edit: Yes, I realized after posting that Dodger Stadium hasn't exactly been around for ninety-eight years, but you get my point. I think. That is, if I had one.]

And that's exactly what the Arizona Diamondbacks did last night, beating the Dodgers 6-3 to win their sixth game in a row.

On a night when the starting pitching was merely adequate (Brad Halsey pitched OK, but only went five innings to break the seven-game quality-start streak the rotation had going), the bullpen and the offense picked up the slack. The bullpen (Cormier, Koplove, and Lopez) pitched 4 hitless innings, giving up just two walks. Koplove showed he could, at least one time, pitch more than 1 inning. (And, on a completely random note, can I just say that I love the fact that Koplove, a Philadelphia native wears # 76?) Lopez showed he could, at least one time, be more than LOOGY, getting all 3 outs in the ninth rather than just 1. And the offense? Well, it's not like they went all Coors Field on the Dodgers, but they still put together eight hits and six runs.

For whatever reason, breaks have gone the D-Backs' way for the most part this year. When one component of the team hasn't had a good game, the other components have shouldered the load. This is different from last year, when it seemed like only a perfect game or an 8-run outburst would give the team a shot at winning. Yes, the Diamondbacks have still given up more runs (105) than they've scored (100). Yes, there's no reason why they should be 6 games above .500 right now.

But they are. 22 games in, it's time to decide how serious to be about this team. Is this just the residue of luck destined to fade away by the All-Star Break -- are the D-Backs this year's Brewers, our fates intertwined once more? Or is this a team that might actually play meaningful games in September -- meaningful to us, and not just other teams?

I had not anticipated dealing with these big issues this early on...

And speaking of big issues, having won "man" in a row Tuesday, and "monkey" in a row Wednesday, the Diamondbacks go for "God" in a row Friday night against the Padres.

It might be worth considering that 37 of those 105 runs given up come in just four games- the debacle of opening day, and the series in Washington. Take those games out out, and we've got a 14-4 record with 85 runs scored and 68 allowed.
Well, the problem with that theory is that you can pick and choose which games to omit and include. I'm willing to exclude Opening Day because it does seem like a completely unexpected result from this team, but not the rest...

And welcome aboard the D-Backs' blogging train. We'll give you a shout-out soon.
I was trying to keep it at least vaguely scientific by limiting it to Opening Day and the one series. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to toss in the 8-1 loss to Colorado. Regardless, those four games represent over a third of our runs allowed, and in four of our 22 games. Take those out of the equation, even just for a hypothetical analysis, and the team look a bit better.

This is all starting to develop in to a longer analysis of it, so I figure I better wait and finish it up after work. Thanks for the welcome, I certainly hope we've got an interesting season ahead.
As a fan of Bob Melvin's ex-team, I have three questions... 1. how is this happening? 2.do you feel like he abuses your pitchers? or was that solely the fault of our pitching coach? and 3. no, seriously, how is this happening??
1) It's happening because the starting rotation is pitching better than anybody expected, the defense is playing as well as hoped, and the offense isn't stinking up the joint. We haven't had a lot of bad luck yet.
2) There's not a lot of pitching abuse concern yet as the starting rotation has done a great job of eating up innings thus far. We'll see what happens when the staff returns to earth.
3) I don't know. But it's better than last year.
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