Arizona Diamondbacks fans, meet your newest scapegoats: Bobby Korecky, Doug Slaten, Juan Gutierrez, and Jon Rauch.
What's their crime? The quartet of relief pitchers collectively screwed the D-Backs out of a two-game win streak (not to mention their first series clinch of the season) by blowing a three-run lead and essentially gift-wrapping a 9-6 comeback victory for the Colorado Rockies last night at Chase Field. Korecky & Company qualified for the Byung-Hyun Kim Boner Award by allowing six runs over three innings late in the game, pooching a potential victory for the hometown heroes.
Every time the Rox scored early on, the Snake Squad answered back. After Colorado went 2-0 in the second when Brad Hawpe and Clint Barnes were plated by successive RBI singles (courtesy of Franklin Morales and Yorvit Torrealba, respectively), Arizona's Chris Young and Eric Byrnes retorted with back-to-back home runs over the center field wall off lefty Morales minutes later. ("Who says we can't hit against a left-handed pitcher?" asked KTAR colorman Tom Candiotti after the pair of dingers, referencing his team's problems against southpaws as of late.) The call-and-response run-making continued in the third when Todd Helton scored thanks to a swat single by Ian Stewart, only to have the D-Backs battle back by driving home Felipe Lopez and Augie Ojeda with RBIs. (Mark Reynolds also homered with Conor Jackson on second base in the fifth).
Then it all went to hell. The bullpen meltdown went down after D-Backs head coach Bob Melvin nixed starter Yusmeiro Petit (who racked up 90 pitches while struggling through five innings) in favor of Korecky in the sixth. The former Minnesota Twin proceeded to load the basses via an Omar Quintanilla double and walks of Torrealba and Dexter Fowler. But instead of fighting his way out of the inning, Ryan Spilborghs then grounded off Korecky's next pitch, scoring Torrealba. (It could've been much worse had Ojeda not whipped out a 6-4-3 double play). When Doug Slaten took the mound, the floodgates opened. A seemingly non-stop parade of singles up the middle ensued, causing Quintanilla, Hawpe, and Garrett Atkins to notch runs. Even Gutierrez couldn't stop the bleeding. And to think, a single out could have stopped it all from happening. But just in case the score wasn't lopsided enough, Rauch (who KTAR sports wag Dave Byrnes has dubbed "piñata," due to his loathsome habit of "always getting hit on") allowed Helton to homer in the eighth with Hawpe on second, making things 9-6.
When Rauch finally left, a porcine Colorado Rockies fan in the bleachers yelled out the following:
"What's the quickest way to get to Mobile?"
Although technically Rauch would likely be sent down to the Triple-A Reno Aces, the heckler's point is nonetheless astute.
It makes you wonder how embattled pitcher Dan "Hard Luck" Haren would've fared. We'll find out this afternoon during the rubber match (which starts at 12:40 p.m.) as the 0-3 righty (1.89 ERA) attempts to not only grab his first win of the season, but just maybe give the 'Backs that elusive series win they sorely need. He'll face off against Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 4.50 ERA). TV: FSN AZ. Radio: KTAR-AM.
For tickets or more info, visit www.dbacks.com.