Friday, May 20, 2005

Natural Rivals Recap: Game One (5/20)

Holy cow, that was quite a game. A great pitching matchup, with one utterly dominant pitching performance; one team led throughout most of it, but a late-inning surge made it extremely interesting, as it looked like the great starting pitching was almost wasted. In the top of the 1st Arizona got out to an early lead, with a single by Cruz, a double by Luis Gonzalez, an RBI groundout by Glaus, and and RBI double by Green. Thanks to these two former Angelenos, the D-Backs led 2-0, a cushion which, while seemingly small, would be more than adequate given Brandon Webb's stellar pitching. He quickly dispatched with the top of the Tigers lineup (Logan-Inge-IRod) in 7 pitches, putting the bats back into the hands of his teammates. In the second Craig Counsell would hit the first of his three doubles of the night, though his teammates were unable to drive him home, as Gonzalez struck out with two on. Webb took the mound in the bottom of the 2nd, facing the heart of Detroit's order; he induced Guillen to foul-out, then struck out White and Young. Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman, Billy Beane's least favorite player of all time, pitched a perfect 3rd. Unfortunately Webb was not so lucky, walking Omar Infante, his first baserunner in 2.2 IP; Infante was unable to score. The top of the 4th inning was marked by Counsell's second double, and the bottom by a deep fly ball by I-Rod, though an impressive catch by Cruz preserved Webb's no-hitter--for the time being. The pitchers' duel continued through the 5th and the 6th, marked only by Counsell's 3rd double of the evening, tying him with six others for the most doubles in game by a Diamondback. After 6 innings, the score remained 2-0, and Brandon Webb had yet to give up a hit. Jamie Walker came in for Bonderman in the 7th, walking Glaus but emerging unscathed. Webb took the mound in the 7th, with everyone in both dugouts -- and in the crowd of 30,119 -- knowing that so far he had a no-hitter going. Inge grounded out to third -- only 8 more outs! -- and I-Rod came up to the plate. With the count 0-2, I-Rod hit a slow roller up the 3rd base line -- Glaus charged, barehanded it, and fired to first...too late. Brandon Webb had lost his no-hit bid, and with it, his confidence. A couple pickoff attempts, 3 consecutive balls, and Guillen hit a single up the middle. Runners on the corners for Rondell White, still just one out. After another pickoff attempt, Webb threw a pitch which White smashed for a two-run double. Not five minutes after his no bid for a no-hitter ended, Webb stood to get the loss. Three pitches later, he go two more outs and was out of the inning, but the damage had been done. Game tied after 7 innings, 2-2. However, in the 8th, Webb's teammates stepped up to the plate for him: consecutive singles by Tracy and Clayton, with an error by Carlos Pena leading to the bases loaded for double-king Craig Counsell. Counsell managed only a single this time (4 hits in 5 AB), but it was enough to drive in a run. A sacrifice fly by Gonzalez later in the inning increased the D-Backs lead back to two. Webb calmed down in the 8th, giving up another double, but otherwise escaping unharmed. In the top of the 9th Tigers reliever Chirs Spurling gave up another pair of runs, driven in by Clayton (single) and Counsell (sac fly). Webb came out to pitch the 9th, but started out with back-to-back singles to I-Rod and Guillen, and so as pulled by Bob Melvin in favor of Brian Bruney. Bruney made quick work of White, Young, and Monroe, and the Diamondbacks won, 6-2. Arizona leads the I94-to-I80-to-I76-to-I25-to-I40-to-I17 Series, 1-0. But trust me folks, this ain't over. Not with a rivalry as intense as that shared by uber-enemies Phoenix and Detroit. It ain't over, not by a long shot.

1 comment:

  1. funny, I was going to write in a follow up to your first post that we can expect a column by Bob Ryan decrying how interleague is a farce, it attacks the sanctity of the schedule and the integrity of the game and that it must be halted.

    I was wrong. It was the CHB who wrote the article. Yawn. I think that the affects of imbalance on the schedule are real, they are no more real(and probably less of an impact) than the effects of the unbalanced schedule on the Wild Card . With a much improved Oriole team and a slightly improved Blue Jay team (read: Healthy Roy Halladay), the Sox and Yanks have only 19 games agaist true patsy TB, while Minn and CHW will beat up on KC, DET, and CLE a total of 57 games.

    Sure it is easy for us to ridicule the Phoenix-Detroit games, but the reality is that teams with marquis names will fare well in drawing fans, while teams like TB will not be much of a draw in either interleague or reagularly scheduled games. KC was happy to have NL champ in town last drawing 31,000.