Game 34 – Snell a Stud
The Diamondbacks came into today’s game having been shut out just once all year long and that was by Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros – a starter they had seen very little of. Further, they have been held to only 1 run one time this year. On top of all that, in the last 8 games AZ has put 50 runs on the board and won 7 of the 8 games.
In fact, since they moved to AZ in 1998, I can’t find one time the Pirates have ever shut them out.
Ian Snell, Roberto Hernandez, and Mike Gonzalez combined to pitch a shutout.
But it didn’t come easy. The nemesis that has hurt us all year – defense, especially outfield defense – came thundering back to save Ian inning after inning after inning. Five of the sixteen balls put in play off Ian were crushed deep to the outfield or were gap shots, five more were hammered thru the infield or right at an infielder, one was a sac bunt, and the rest were simple pop ups or ground balls.
But he stranded runners and that is the name of the game. Actually, his defense stranded runners. Burnitz made a flying cow grab in the 3rd that saved at least one, if not 2 runs, Nate cut off a shot toward the gap before it went to the wall saving another run in the 3rd, and Craig picked a poor Sanchez throw out of the dirt in the 4th to save yet another run opportunity.
The Diamondback have yet to win a game when held to one or two runs so they seemed deflated as a team by the fourth inning when they couldn’t figure out Ian Snell. It was Ian’s first time facing them and it didn’t look to me like any of the batters had any clue whatsoever what he was going to throw, so I have to assume they didn’t watch much film on him. Tisk tisk. I’m guessing they either came in thinking the Pirates would be an easy win or they knew their starter was 2-4 against the Pirates and had already given up early runs and the Pirates pen would be a bit tough on their left hand lineup.
Pirate bats were quiet for the most part. Yes, we managed nine hits but we only went 2-11 with men in scoring position and thank gosh we got those two hits to give us 2 runs. One by Freddy in the first inning and one by
Doumit Duffy in the 7th. BTW, take a look at this photo of Doumit’s Duffy’s right hand sitting on the bench as the game started:
Ryan Chris hit his double, he sure didn’t look like he had a hammy problem at all the way he ran. To have his wrist and hand taped up like that makes me wonder what is really going on with him. But his hand didn’t look to bother him when he hit the double. Ah cortisone.. the young players just love the stuff.
The only other run came from a Paulino home run – his first in the bigs. So while we got two clutch hits tonight – and got them from two guys who have not delivered in the clutch to well so far this season – Ronny’s home run was a nice addition.
In the 7th Ronny hit another blast off the right field rail padding. Look at where the ball hit:
See the woman pointing to the crease in the pad? But look at the dude on the left – he is pushing the pad down. Maybe next time the fans see a ball being hit that way they will all jump up on the pad and knock it down so the ball goes over for a home run? BTW, what’s that woman doing with sunglasses on during the night game? Too many brews maybe?
Kudo’s to Snell for getting so lucky (hehe), kudos to Paulino for a great night at the plate, kudos to Freddy and Chris for timely clutch hits, kudos to Burnitz for actually lumbering over to catch a ball he would have let drop 99 out of 100 times, PLUS kudos to Burnitz for actually making it all the way to 2B on a double he stroked, and kudos to AZ’s Gonzo for a nice eve at the plate.