Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Orlando "O-Dawg" Hudson had a career day, leading the D’Backs to a 15-4 skinning of the Cubs with two homers, the first of which was his first MLB grand slam. With the two homers, O-Dawg had 6 RBI, and 3 Rs. Shawn Green, Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew and a certain center fielder also homered for Arizona. Brandon Webb got his 12 victory against 4 defeats. Mark Prior took the loss and is now 0-5.
It was a horribly hot night. Temp 93 and heat index 104 at first pitch. With a stiff wind blowing out to center, a homer-filled slugfest was no surprise. But it was one-sided as only Aramis Ramirez hit one out for the Cubs. The Chicagoans couldn’t get much elevation on Brandon Webb’s heavy sinker.
The day started slowly for Eric Byrnes, but by the end of the night, Byrnesie had accomplished all that I hoped for him today.
It was True Elation 14 as Byrnes got three hits, moving his batting average to .291. His first hit was a home run, his 15th, in the 6th inning off reliever Glendon Rusch. The homer was hit No. 94, surpassing his total hits for A,A’05, and RBI No. 41, surpassing that total from A,A’05. So Byrnesie now starts the last two months of the season having surpassed his A,A’05 totals for HR, XBH, 2B, basehits, Total Bases, R, RBI and Stolen Bases.
What I said yesterday bears repeating: To all who were ready to write him off after last year: Ththbbthttbt!!!!!
The homer also moved him back into a tie for the team lead in homers, Chad Tracy having hit his 15th homer in the second inning.
Byrnesie followed up the homer with a single, and then with Double No. 27. That two-bagger came with 2 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Even though those RBI were not needed for the victory, it was good to see Byrnes get a hit with 2 out and RISP. Such hitting will be needed at more clutch times down the road.
For the week from Tuesday 7/25 through Monday 7/31 (Monday 7/24 was a team off-day), Byrnes is 8-24 with 2 HR, 2 DB, 6 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 SB and the wonderful catch that ended the Sunday game against the Astros, preserving the come-from-behind victory by the D’Backs. If he hadn’t caught that ball, the ‘Stros would have tied the game. Methinks he’s getting hot again. And so once again I have to state that he is being wasted as a lead off hitter. He led off 4 times this game. That sort of thing is not going to bolster his RBI totals.
Orlando Hudson, who generally showed us why he won a Gold Glove last year by starting two sick DP’s, made a bad throw on what should have been a routine 4-3, and was rightfully charged with an error. He also made a baserunning miscue: he was batting 7th and by stealing second with two out in the 5th inning, he took the bat out of Stephen Drew’s hands. With first base open, Drew was immediately IBB’d to get to pitcher Brandon Webb, who made the third out.
Byrnes went 0-3 against starter Mark Prior. I had hoped that he would walk in his first plate appearance because Prior’s first three pitches to him were balls. Byrnes ended up grounding a 3-2 pitch to the third baseman. I think he was standing a bit too far away from the plate. At least that is the notation I made in TEBPCR in the 3rd inning. The 0-3 was distressing because, unlike yesterday, when Roger Clemens was shutting down everyone, Prior gave up long balls to Green, Tracy and Hudson (the grand slam).
Chad Tracy, who batted second, failed to drive Byrnesie home the two times he was on base. So while Byrnesie drove himself in with a homer, he was not driven in by teammates when he was on base.
Congrats to Stephen Drew for his first MLB HR. And DTLFL hopes Johnny Estrada’s upset stomach, which resulted in his removal from the game midway, was just a bad reaction to the weather and nothing more serious.
So once again, Eric Byrnes gets three hits, including a homer, on my birthday! That is certainly worth another candle on the cake!
Kellia "Truly Elated for the 14th time this year" Ramares
So where’s my invitation to Hogwarts already?
I’m 51 today and not ashamed to say it. It happens to the best of us…or should…and considering what the alternative is…well…
What I want for my birthday this year is the same thing I got last year: an absolutely fabulous day at the dish from Eric Byrnes. He went 3-5 with a homer a year ago today, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was sitting on this very same chair, at this very same desk, in front of this very same computer…wait…am I stuck in a rut or what…watching MLB.TV, which I got when Byrnesie bounced to Balto. I still have The Eric Byrnes Pitch Count Report from that day around here <shuffle, shuffle> somewhere….<shuffle> Where is it? <shuffle> Ah yes, here it is: White Sox 9 Orioles 4 at Camden. <sigh> It was that kind of year. But my notes say that Byrnesie got all three Hits Against Right-handed Pitchers. (HARP: Music to my ears!)
Speaking of Abysmal, Aberrant 2005 (a.k.a. A,A’05), Byrnesie needs only 1 hit and 1 RBI to surpass his A,A’05 totals in those categories. A homer would kill two birds with one stone, and since I have been consuming vast amounts of poultry for about half a century now, I can tell you I have no problem with killing birds, or at least having them killed for me…some birds, anyway.
While the one hit would take care of a few things, I am really hoping for the overdue True Elation 14, a multi-hit day with at least one RBI. Byrnesie is batting .287 and I would like to see him end the month at .290 or better. So, yes, 3-5 with a homer would fill the bill exactly.
Of course, the first question is whether Byrnes will even start today’s game in the Friendly Confines. The Cubbies are starting right-hander Mark Prior, who was not a happy camper after being lifted with two out in the 6th of his last start, while throwing a no-no at the Mets. He’s 0-4, with a 6.60 ERA, an 11.57 home ERA and a 4.20 July ERA. Byrnes has faced him 3 times and gotten a hit off him. DaVanon has no Prior record. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). But Prior’s quick splits show that he’s much more effective against righties than against lefties and we know how BoMel is a ****** for a lefty-righty matchup, even though Byrnesie’s game-tying 3-run homer in Houston yesterday came off a right-hander. Eric’s average against righties is no where nearly as good as his average against southpaws. But the lion’s share of his power numbers, including most of his now 14 homers, which tie him for the team lead with Chad Tracy, come off righthanders. It’s also generally easier to steal against a righty because his back is turned to first base. Byrnes leads the D’Backs with 13 steals (in 14 tries).
So I really, really, really want Byrnes to start today. (Of course, I really, really really want Byrnes to start every day!)
As for the trade deadline, well, it appears right now that all’s quiet on the Phoenix front. That’s too bad because I think the team could use another starter and a pinch-hitter who can play first base. Shawn Green and Juan Cruz to the Angels for Ervin Santana and Howie Kendrick would have been nice. The Angels were looking for protection for Vladi, and an upgrade at 1B, (Kendrick is their rookie 1B. So he’s got to learn the position at the major league level, but he’s swinging a good bat). Green is willing to go to a West Coast team, is batting .294, and has shown lately that he remembers how to play 1B.
Alas, the Angels rotation is beat up and so they have to hold on to Santana.
After Eric Byrnes tied the game in the 8th with a 3-run homer, pinch hitter Conor Jackson–Shawn Green played first today–put the D’Backs ahead in the 9th with a 2-run jack.
But closer Jorge Julio did not have his best stuff, and it seems that every time he threw the ball it was sent deep into the outfield. The Astros got one run back in the bottom of the 9th and they had a runner on 2nd with two out when ‘Stros pinch hitter Eric Munson sent a fly ball deep to center.
Eric Byrnes ran back, ran back, ran back, and caught it a few steps from the bullpen gate he then lightly banged into. He turned around pumped his fist and the ball game was over.
So while we tip our cap to Conor Jackson, for his game winning HR, and also to Chad Tracy and Jeff DaVanon who had an RBI a piece, the guy who made the game today–at the plate and on the field–was Eric Byrnes!!!
And none too soon, as I now have to go to work!
Kellia "grinnin’ like a fool" Ramares
Eric Byrnes just scored his 50th run of the year. He took care of the matter himself by belting a Chad Qualls pitch into the Crawford boxes at Minute Maid a few minutes ago. Homer No. 14, which put him back into a tie for the team lead with Chad Tracy, was a three-run affair which tied the game 5-5. A Clutch Crunch!
He now needs only 1 more hit and 1 more RBI to surpass A,A’05 totals in basehits and RBI.
To all who were ready to write him off after last year: Ththbbthttbt! !!!!
Kellia "Very Happy" Ramares
Eric Byrnes was 2-4 but he didn’t score any runs today. (I really don’t like him batting leadoff; can’t we have Jackson or Drew do that?) Can you guys do something about Byrnesie’s "runs scored" total? Please, D’Backs? Very Soon, please? Like tomorrow and Monday? He’s on the verge of some A,A’05 category busters here, and I would love to see him get them in the next two days.
Byrnesie needs 1 more R, 2 more hits, and 4 more RBI to surpass his A,A’05 totals in those categories. It would be so great if he could start the last two months of the season with those categories crunched. He’s already surpassed the totals for HRs, XBHs, 2Bs, SBs and TBs.
My birthday is July 31, but you don’t have to wait. I would welcome anything you can do Sunday to help Byrnesie continue burying A,A’05. He’s 2-6 lifetime v Roger Clemens and the two are both doubles. If he gets any more two-baggers off the Rocket, (or any other hits for that matter), it would be great if some of you guys drove him home, or were on base if he goes yard.
Oh, and Byrnesie, if there’s a situation tomorrow where Rocket decides he doesn’t want to deal with you, just let him give you first base. You only need 6 BBs to crunch that category and it would be nice if you took care of that by the middle of August.
Kéllia "Category Countdown" Ramares
Big, Fat, Hairy Deal!
In the 11th inning tonight, (D’Backs 8 -‘Stros 7. It went 11 because Lyon blew the save), Eric Byrnes got put into CF as a defensive replacement. It wasn’t a pinch hitting situation; he got no ABs. And it wasn’t a double switch with the pitcher, because the eventual winner, Tony Pena, pitched the 10th.
It was just BoMel remembering who the better CF is.
The big question for me now is whether or not Byrnesie starts on my birthday: July 31. I don’t work on Mondays, so I will be able to watch the game.
The RFID podcast is done, but there is one line wrong in the RSS feed and I don’t understand the error message. When everything is put aright, (geeks write error messages non-geeks can understand; Byrnesie is playing everyday; RFID is seen for the bad idea it really is), I’ll let you know.
My father used to say, "Give a batter a life and he’ll come back to hurt you."
That is just what happened in the top of the 5th in Philadelphia when Phillies catcher Chris Coste did not catch a pop foul off the bat of Eric Byrnes. The next pitch was a ball and the pitch after that was Double No. 26, a shot over the head of CF Shane Victorino.
And then Byrnesie was driven in by Conor Jackson, who should have had a double to center also, but Victorino cut it off, made a great throw and Jackson was tagged out by 2B Chase Utley.
Byrnesie has now scored 49 runs, that ties his total for A,A’05, so I hope he gets to crunch that category tomorrow. The astrologically aware should know that Vesta is applying an opposition to Byrnesie’s natal sun, so his focus should be heightened now.
The EB line for the night was 2-4 (he was left on deck in the 9th) with 1 R, 0 Ks, 0 DPs, and 0 LOBs because he came up four times with no one on base. (GRRR! That doesn’t help the RBI totals!)
Chris Coste learned his lesson and caught the pop foul Byrnesie hit in the 7th, even though it meant bending over the railing of the D’Backs dugout. Even the Phillies announcers thought, at first, that this ball was out of play. Too bad it wasn’t. That was the only bad out Byrnesie made tonight. He lined out to right in the third inning, but DTLFL didn’t mind that because it was hard hit. Unfortunately, it was hard hit AT Bobby Abreu. Another night, that ball lands in the gap for a two-bagger. We want Byrnes to remember that he has power to the opposite field and doesn’t have to try to pull everything to get an XBH.
As mentioned before, Byrnesie has surpassed last year’s Total Bases. His batting average is up to .288. And the double gives him his first XBH since 7/17. DTLFL is ready for Eric to have another hot streak like he did in the first three weeks of May. We really enjoyed watching him bat over .320.
We’re also really pleased to see the double. He entered the day 25th in the NL in two-baggers even though he was only 67th in ABs. We look forward to more doubles. He is now 58% of the way to our benchmark of 45. July has been a bit thin on XBHs. He needs to pick it up a little more. DTLFL trusts that he will.
We also like the fact that, last night, he walked on two occasions with a runner on third and 2 outs. No crazy swinging at balls like a few nights ago. Now, he needs only 6 more BBs to top last year’s total.
The D’Backs lost tonight 6-4. Brandon Webb was not sharp tonight. He was also not helped by errors by Hudson and Tracy that allowed 2 unearned runs to score in the first inning. Tough error on Tracy because the ball was hard hit, but it went right through his legs.