(Photo by Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
Bottom of the 9th, D’Backs leading 5-1 and Brandon Lyon gives up back-to-back doubles. With the score 5-2 and it now an official save situation, Bob Melvin brings in Jose Valverde to shut the door, but instead he throws it wide open. The Padres score 3 more runs and take the contest into extra innings.
I find that even 9-inning D’Backs games are exceptionally long. This was their 13th extra-inning game of the year. Fortunately, it was worth the wait.
Eric Byrnes drove in the winning run with an infield single that brought home Jeff DaVanon from third with two out. Byrnesie went 3-5 (hits no. 131-133) and an IBB. I just wish he wouldn’t slide head first into first. One of these days a first baseman will accidentally kick him in the head or spike him in the hand. It’s also slower.
Chad Tracy added insurance runs with a 3-run homer. Tony Pena shut down the Pads in the bottom of the 11th to get the win. Final Score: D’Backs 9 – Pads 5.
The Snakes might not have gotten this far but for a great catch in the 5th inning by Chris Young that deprived Mike Cameron of a grand slam. I liked the description by the San Diego announcer: "Cameron went for a salami, but Chris Young closed the deli."
The Diamondbacks are in first place, a game up on LA. That’s where they go after tomorrow’s game with SD. Byrnesie is particularly good against LA. <grin>
(photo by Paul Connors/AP)
and it ended in an unspeakably bad way.
But Eric Byrnes hit a triple his first time up. (He only had 2 plate appearances). It was hit No. 130.
70 more to go. 55 games left. Let’s hope there aren’t any more disasters like today’s. EB needs all the plate appearances he would normally have, if he is to have a shot at 200.
C’Mon, Byrnesie, you need some more 3-hit games. (And some more homers).
(Photo by Rick Scuteri/AP)
"There’s nothing better than a walk-off — just the energy and the
excitement it brings to the clubhouse — it’s indescribable."
—Chris Young, who has hit two of his own this season.
Eric Byrnes hit a two-run homer as part of the Diamondbacks six-run outburst in the second inning last night. That was his 128th hit of the season and he now has 59 RBI and 65 runs. In the seventh inning, he singled (129), advancing Orlando Hudson to second. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases that inning but did not score. That would come back to haunt them, as the Atlanta Braves chipped away at what was once a 7-0 lead. They came back to tie the score as José Valverde blew a save. Of course he had some help; with two out in the ninth, Valverde and middle infielders Hudson and Drew were asleep on the infield, failing to call time as Valverde walked around the mound after giving up a walk. Hudson and Drew were both standing away from second base and looking out into the outfield; the first-base coach urged the base runner, Yunel Escobar, to move to second and he stole the base easily. He then scored the tying run on a single.
The day was saved in the 11th inning by Tony Clark, who hit a walk-off homer. But it wasn’t just any walk-off homer, this was a situation in which a home run was not expected because Clark was batting right-handed and he had not homered right-handed all season. He was also facing Wil Ledesma, who had not given up a homer to a right-handed hitter all season. But the Diamondbacks are leading charmed lives right now. That was their seventh consecutive win.
(photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP)
"It was one of those situations where when you’re 0-2, you look for a
fastball and try to battle and put something in play. I
just ran into it."
—Eric Byrnes, describing his walk-off homer.
With two out in the bottom of the ninth, Eric Byrnes smacked a 0-2 pitch, a letter high fastball over the heart of the plate from reliever Armando Benitez, into the Diamondbacks bullpen for a three-run homer that gave the Diamondbacks a 7-4 victory and a sweep of the four-game series against the Florida Marlins.
The homer, Byrnes’ first since July 7, was his 15th for the season and his 127th hit so far. Earlier in the game, he walked and stole his 27th base. He also made a runs-saving diving catch. He now has 57 RBI and he’s scored 64 runs.
The Diamondbacks, who have now won six in a row, are in second place, a game and a half behind the Dodgers. Now comes the big test: the Diamondbacks play the Atlanta Braves this weekend before going on a road trip that takes them to LA and San Diego.
(photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP)
Eric Byrnes set a new personal best in stolen bases today when he stole his 26th base as Arizona beat the Cubs today 3-0. The last nine steals have come in quick succession. The Diamondbacks played their 100th game today. He will definitely reach 30 stolen bases this season and has a shot at 40. Congratulations, Eric!
However, he’s got to get going on the hitting if he has hopes of being a member of the prestigious 30/30 club this year. His home run production has fallen off. He has only 14, his last one coming on July 8. He has lost the team lead to Chris Young, who has hit 15 homers. So Eric now has 62 games in which to hit 16 more homers. That will require him to go on a couple of tears in which he hits something like five homers in eight games.
He also has to pick up the doubles production, which he has to a certain extent lately, if he would like to set a new personal best in doubles (40). That will require 20 doubles in the next 62 games. He is up to 122 overall hits. He should surpass last year’s total of 150 rather easily. 180 is very realistic and the gold standard of 200 is still within the realm of possibility if he keeps accumulating multi-hit games.
Today he went to 1-4 (a single) with a walk. It was walk number 35, which surpasses the 34 he got last year. I’d like to see him get 15 more walks this year, which is basically one in every four games. Walking is good for the OBP and the stolen base opportunities. His best year for walks was 2004, when he walked 46 times.
2004 was also his worst year for strikeouts; he struck out 111 times. Unfortunately, he’s headed that way again after last year’s very good showing in striking out only 88 times. Right now, his K/BB ratio is exactly 2.00. That means he has 70 strikeouts to 35 walks. If the ratio does not go any higher and he gets 50 walks, that means 100 strikeouts. That isn’t the 70 to 80 I was hoping for, but it would be better than going over 111.
Eric has scored 60 runs so far. It remains to be seen whether he can beat his 2004 personal best of 91 runs. To do that, he would have to score 32 runs over the next 62 games. He gets on base enough times to make that possible, but his teammates don’t drive him in enough. Over the last two series with the Brewers and the Cubs, I saw him stranded in scoring position quite a number of times. If they would bring him in at least half the time he is on base, as they did today — he scored one of the two times he was on base — he’s got a shot at. He would also help his own cause in this respect by hitting some home runs.
It would also behoove him to be a bit more clutch now that he’s batting third rather than leadoff. He has 52 RBI, but his RBI pace has slowed of late. Would that he had 10 more at this point in the season. His personal best is the 79 he drove in last year. I’d like to see 90, which means 38 over the next 62 games. He really needs one or two of those explosive days where he gets five or more in one game. The kind of day guys like Albert Pujols manage to have at least once a year. A grand slam, his first, would be really nice.
What has been good to see this year is greater consistency. There have been no really long o-fer streaks. See, folks, give Eric a chance to play every day, and good things happen. Are you paying attention, Mr. Sabean?
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that contract talks between Eric Byrnes and the Diamondbacks have broken off.
Good. I wouldn’t want a job with a company that already knows who they want to replace me with.
Hopefully, the Giants are paying attention.
(photo by Darren Hauck/AP)
"We had a bunch of opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them. We have to figure out a way to get it done. No more
excuses. Bottom line is,
if we want to be a playoff team, we’ve got to win games like tonight.
Otherwise, we’ll all be sitting at home in October waiting on next
year. I know I don’t want to do that."
—Eric Byrnes, after the Diamondbacks’ 3-2 loss to the Brewers, in which they stranded 11 runners (including himself in scoring position 3 times).
In yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Brewers, Eric Byrnes made the last out of the game. He hit the first pitch he saw from Francisco Cordero, the league’s best reliever. It was a broken-bat blooper into short center field that was gathered in by the second baseman. It stranded potential tying run Orlando Hudson at first base. And that was the theme of the game for both teams — stranding runners. It’s just that the Brewers managed to get one more runner home than the Diamondbacks did.
But Byrnes was more the strandee than the strander in this game. He went 3-5 and two of the three hits were doubles. His single, the first time up, drove in a run, his 51st of the year. He then stole his 21st base and was later driven in by Chad Tracy. But he would not touch home after either double or after reaching first on a fielder’s choice and working very hard to steal his 22nd base. That last at-bat was the only time in the game that Byrnes did not reach base. He was left in scoring position three times. There’s only so much one guy can do.
Byrnes now has 118 hits. It was great to see the two doubles; that’s more like Byrnesie. Chalk up yet another multi-hit game, and 22 stolen bases. This is the second time in recent days that he has stolen two bases in one game. In addition to driving in his 51st run, he scored his 57th run. The Diamondbacks would have won if he could have scored his 59th run yesterday. They’ve now lost 10 of their last 12 games and by and large it’s been because of one thing: lack of timely hitting. They get the runners on base; they get them in scoring position; but then they can’t close to the deal.