Line Drive in the High Desert

Baseball, the Universe, and Everything

A Red Haren

How can you not love watching Dan Haren pitch? Seriously. And I’m not just saying that because he demolished the Cubs this evening, which is always fun to watch, or because he’s pretty much demolished everyone he’s faced so far this season. I mean, if you want to compare first months of the season, setting aside win-loss records, which are dumb anyway, Haren April ’09 is an even better start than Webb April ’08. Yeah, that Webb April ’08, where Webb was on his way to winning his first 11 starts.

I mean, really- right now, Haren’s got the second best ERA in the National League, he’s second in strike outs, he leads the NL in innings pitched and WHIP, with a WHIP of 0.73. To put that in real numbers, that means that, on average, he allows fewer than three base runners every four innings he pitches. A large part of that is because he’s not walking people, only five this season. And three of those came against the Dodgers in his second start, other than that he’s got two walks in 29 innings. Yeah, seriously. Is it too early to start calling him Dan “2009 NL Cy Young Award Winner” Haren? Probably- we’ll wait until June.

On top of that, though, this guy is great for the team. He’s obviously had some terrible luck out there, getting near zero run support in his first few starts. But he’s gone out, and still pitched as well as he can, he’s supported the team, he hasn’t gone to the press and expressed the frustration he has to be feeling. No, he let it out on the field- as some have put it, “HAREN SMASH!” He’s stepped up in He feels like he’s not just another guy on the roster, he’s also a leader on the team. And, really, that’s something nice to have in a guy we’ve got for the next four seasons.

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April 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Red Haren

No offense, but…

Well, just that, I guess.

So, what’s the lessons learned from the first week of games? Well, when our offense is good, it’s very, very good, but when it’s bad, it’s bloody abysmal. In two wins, we’ve scored 18 runs. In four losses, we’ve had 19 hits.

That stunned silence is a pretty fair representation of what our bats sound like today.

It’s a pretty frustrating start to a season, really. You know, deep down, that it’s six games out of seven million- or one hundred sixty-two, whatever- but you want to start out strongly. Dropping the first two series? Not doing it.

Okay, bright spots- Dan Haren. He’s given us two great starts that, unfortunately, have earned him losses, thanks to that mime-quality offense. Jon Garland pitched a pretty good start- 7 innings, 3 runs, pretty much what we expected from him.

On the other hand, Webby. Oh, man. Rough week for anyone fond of Webby. First off, his start. That was painful. He started off well, but you could tell he wasn’t on his game- pitches left up, he looked like he wasn’t as confident on the mound as we expect from him, it was just awkward. And the news got even worse. First, a missed start yesterday, and then a move to the 15 day DL with shoulder stiffness. There’s rumors that shoulder concerns are why we didn’t offer him a contract extension last year, which is a bit worrying. We’ll have to see how that shakes down.

The bullpen has been rather sketchy, too- Jon Rauch, save for one decent appearance, has done nothing to regain any of our trust. Chad Qualls has looked good in his two appearances, but he’s the only pitcher who hasn’t given up any runs. Our team average ERA is 6.60. That’s not a good start.

As for the offense, well… There’s this:

Which is great for Lopez, welcome to the team. But we’re 13th in the NL in batting average, which means we’re suffering from the same problems last year. Justin Upton hasn’t even got a hit yet. It’s frustrating. Especially because we lost the series to the Rockies *and* the Dodgers, after starting out each series with a big win. I mean, is .500 too much to ask?

Of course, that’s dumb. Because it’s the first week of the season. A bad start in April isn’t good, but it is about as important as, I don’t know, a 20-8 start. Neither one is the end all, be all of the season, so we can’t give up yet. If things don’t improve, I say we fire Melvin and start coaching based off of 1980s sports movies- it can’t fail!

And, if all else fails, there’s still time to become an Indians fan- I like the bobbleheads they’re giving out this year….

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wait, news?

Yes, indeed! Something is rumored to be shaking down in Dbacksville, and though it may be a little late for the Christmas season, looks like they’re finally going to be putting up some Garland.

Yes, rumor has it that, pending a physical, the Diamondbacks have signed Jon Garland to a one year contract. You most likely recall Garland from when the White Sox won the World Series, an- No, I’m serious. The White Sox actually won the World Series. In 2005. You don’t remember that? Okay, I hardly do, either, and I’ve got a DVD about it. Unless it’s a fake. No, Wikipedia says it happened. Huh.

Anyway, last year Garland pitched for the Angels, putting up a 14-8 record with a 4.90 ERA. Okay, the win-loss is good, but that ERA is kind of wince-inducing. Hopefully we’ll see that drop a bit when he’s facing a league that doesn’t have the DH, and batters who haven’t ever faced him before. One of his key advantages, really, is that he pitched 196.2 innings last season. With Garland aboard, the Diamondbacks now have three of the top forty pitchers, by innings pitched, from last season. Toss in Doug Davis’s usual performance, when he isn’t taking time off to deal with cancer, and it looks like we’ll have a starting rotation that’s going to eat a lot of innings. With the uncertainty with the bullpen last year, that’ll be a bit of a relief, and that will also help us give Max Scherzer a little more cushion as he makes his way to the starting rotation.

Now, according to Jon Heyman, Garland is going to be making $6.25 million this year, with a mutual option for next year. Now, $6.25 million? For a starting pitcher? Okay, that’s fine and all, if he can perform an- wait a minute, how much did we offer Randy Johnson for a contract? And his ERA last year was a whole point better than Garland’s? That seems a little questionable to me. Of course, Garland is 29 years old, so there’s less worry about him missing games with injury, but I still sort of wish we had Randy on the roster. Especially if we’re going to be competing with the Giants next year. Really, they look like they’re going to be a factor.

One thing interesting about Garland is that he made $12 million last year, and declined arbitration. A lot of players who turned down offers of arbitration are probably going to be signing for a lot less than they would have made if they’d accepted this year, and I’m sure that a lot of front offices are breathing a deep sigh of relief over that fact…

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Pitchers, Roster | Comments Off on Wait, news?

Coming Soon!

In this space, you’ll soon find the ramblings of myself- covering primarily the Diamondbacks, with other random bits as I feel appropriate.  Keep an eye out- we’ll start up as we get closer to Opening Day.

In the meantime, I’ll introduce myself- my name is Devin, I’m a big Diamondbacks fan from the old days- which is to say Opening Day for the team. Yeah, okay, we don’t have much in the way of old days. But I’ve stuck with the team in the highs, the lows, and the painful declines in between. I love to watch baseball, and the only thing I love more than that is refuse to shut up, so it’s a natural result that I’d end up here. I’ve worked on a few blogs before- ran one on Blogspot for a few months, wrote on MVN.com for a couple of years, and I kick in at the AZ Snakepit from time to time- so now I’m used to reacting to the games via keystrokes, rather than vocally. Really, when I attend games, my fingers instinctively twitch as I remind myself to cheer. Well, maybe I’m not quite that bad… Yet. Either way, I’m looking forward to another year of Diamondbacks baseball, especially since I’ll be in town to see the whole season, for the first time since… Well, ever. Wow, I didn’t realize that until just now.

Here’s to a good season!

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Administrative | | 3 Comments