Following Mark Reynolds' verbal peppering of his teammates in Denver, the Arizona Diamondbacks were a different animal for fifty consecutive innings (that's five and a half games, in case you're counting). The team finally started playing all easy breezy, winning five straight while simultaneously climbing out of the National League West cellar.
Last night at Chase Field, the D-Backs led 7-0 over the Florida Marlins after five innings behind a strong pitching performance by Yusmeiro Petit. Justin Upton had gone yah-yah and Arizona took advantage of the Marlins' sloppy play in the field, which included an errant lob over the catcher's head by Florida starter Andrew Miller during an intentional walk to Reynolds.
It looked like a laugher, indeed.
Turns out, the joke was on Arizona. (Note to Jay Leno, who loves ripping crap sports teams in his monologues: The 2009 Diamondbacks are a perfect punching bag.)
Going into the sixth down by the equivalent of a touchdown and an extra point, Florida tacked on 14 (!) unanswered, including ten in the eighth, to down the bad news 'Backs 14-7.
To chronicle the entire debacle would be analogous with wasting your time seeing a Facebook status update that says, "I just bought cereal on sale!" - it's dumb and nobody wants to read such lameness - but basically, the bullpen poo-poo'd away another one. The absolutely pathetic top half of the eighth featured a pinch-hit, three-run dong by Florida's Brett Carroll; a passed ball; throwing errors by Reynolds and reliever Blaine Boyer; and seventeen Marlins coming to the plate. To add insult to injury, Arizona loaded the bases in the bottom half of that inning with no outs and failed to score.
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So far this season, opponents have outscored the D-Backs 76-54 in the eighth inning. That's an astounding -22 margin.
Pardon us, but we're going to use another football analogy (because as far as we're concerned, baseball season is over in these parts). Think of the -22 mark as a turnover margin in football - which is one of the most important factors in determining a team's success - and it makes sense why this team stinks.
Is it football season yet?
Kurt Warner and the Cardinals' next game . . . uh, we mean, the Diamondbacks face the Marlins once again at 6:40 p.m. tonight at Chase Field. Scheduled starters are Arizona's Dan Haren (8-5, 2.16 ERA) versus Florida's Ricky Nolasco (6-6, 5.42 ERA). TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-620 AM. For more info, go to www.dbacks.com.