(Editors note: “Random Running Diary” is a recurring post which aims to give you a running commentary on events which would otherwise not qualify for a running diary.)
Today’s “Random Running Diary” is a rather pedestrian affair. It is an early season MLB contest among teams in perhaps the weakest division in baseball. Tonight’s pitching match-up is Doug Davis (trying hard in a contract year) versus Eric Stults (if you guessed that I chose this game simply because the Dodgers were starting a pitcher who’s name sounds like Eric Stoltz….well….let’s just say “no comment.”)
Pre-game: Sutton gives us the D’backs lineup with averages. He remarks that Eric Byrnes (hitting .164) is “working on climbing back up the ladder.” D’backs Chevy “Key to the Game” anyone? Did I hear Chapter 11 bankruptcy? No, its “end the story.” Even Grace is stumped on what this means. Dead air follows and it is somewhat refreshing. He’s not the best color man in the game for nothing, folks.
Top of the 1st inning: CY strikes out, Cojack doubles but is stranded. Should I just cut and paste this entry for the next eight innings and go to bed? Never mind, don’t answer that.
Bottom of the 1st inning: Gracie and Sutton are remarking on Manny’s hair. Apparently, it is long. Great stuff. Oh by the way, Manny and Andre Ethier just hit back-to-back home runs on back-to-back Ed Harris fastballs by Doug Davis. If you are keeping score, that’s back-to-back home runs against the D’backs in back-to-back games. (Insert Tom Emanski joke here.)
Top of the 2nd inning: Chris Synder is batting .188 and I am going to give him a pass. When you fracture a testicle you have at least a 12 month grace period. By the way, D’backs have one run in with runners on first and second and one out. Wait, never mind, Doug Davis sacrifices into a double play to end the inning. Someone might want to go over the exact meaning of “sacrifice” with him because maybe it’s just a simple misunderstanding.
Bottom of the 2nd inning: Fungo ground ball to SS Josh Wilson, who apparently got his name and face from the EA sports random generator for minor leaguers, for a taylor-made double-play ball but it is too “hot” to handle. Everyone is safe — looks like the D’backs are getting at least five outs this inning. Did you have the 6-4-3 triple play to end the inning in your office pool? No? Cowards.
Top of the 3rd inning: Apparently, Anil Kapoor (Regis in Slumdog Millionaire) threw out the first pitch. The catcher must have put down the sign for the t-rex/short-arm/ limp-wristed one hopper. If I were Amir I would have probably shaken that one off. Added bonus: he’s joining Sutton and Gracie in the booth later. Mute buttons stand alert.
Bottom of the 3rd inning: Relatively uneventful inning. Manny hits into a double-play to end the inning.
(Random distraction: The new Smokey the Bear commercials are bothering me. Sam Elliot, an American voice-over institution, is still voicing Smokey. However, Smokey’s famous slogan has been changed from “Only you can prevent forest fires” to “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Is this a politically correct change, a la Bud Light’s “real american heroes” to “real men of genius” in the wake of 9/11? If there is a wildfire lobby, I am not aware of it.)
Top of the 4th inning: Anil is in the booth. Game on mute. Still waiting for the gratuitous celeb sightings segment of any sporting event televised in Los Angeles. Who’s out on Monday night in May? Can I at least get a Henry Winkler? Of course, Anil is slated to talk the whole inning and this is the inning the D’backs choose to avoid their “three-up, three-down” routine. Upton is caught stealing, as if on cue, followed by Snyder’s K. Thanks guys. I owe you one.
Bottom of the 4th inning: Text poll question revolves around favorite ASU Sun Devil baseball player. Ken Phelps is mentioned because he works for the D’backs broadcast team. I refuse to call him “Digger” Phelps. Digger Phelps is an old guy who has an unnatural obsession with highlighters and the Big East. One nickname per old dude please.
Top of the 5th inning: Sutton and Grace love talking about how D’back hitters are JUST missing perfect pitches to hit. Yeah, exactly. That’s why they are below average hitters. It’s not like this is witchcraft.
Bottom of the 5th inning: Ah, now I remember why I hate watching Doug Davis games. He brings new meaning to the human rain delay. We are talking about almost a minute between pitches. Apparently, Doug doesn’t have anywhere to be tonight and he comes to grinding halt in the stretch. The guy from Some Kind of Wonderful just drove in a run. (Melvin goes to Jon Rauch and his 8.71 ERA. At least, Davis is out of the game.) Manny drives in his 2nd run of the game but otherwise Rauch pitches out of a jam (just wait, he will redeem himself next inning).
Top of the 6th inning: This has been said before but it is completely clear when you watch the D’backs hit. The fact is, D’back hitters are so scared of striking out after last year’s 1287 K’s that they refuse to take pitches. The result is that they are hacking at pitches out of the zone and weakly popping up or grounding out. If there is any paradigm shift that could help every hitter, it would be an increased emphasis on patience at the plate. Mark Reynolds takes the first pitch, then hits the second one into the left field seats. Hmmmm…… Torre goes to the pen to face Byrnes and he weakly grounds out to end the inning. Really Torre? You gotta kick a guy when he’s down, huh?
Bottom of the 6th inning: Rauch is still in. This game is officially over. It won’t be 4-2 for long. Lead-off single. Followed by a RBI double by Matt Kemp. What did I tell you? 5-2. Melvin goes to the pen to Esmerling Vasquez. No one can figure out what Bob Melvin’s obsession is with Jon Rauch. He gives up a run per inning, check his stats. I hope Jon is as loyal to Bob when Bob is looking for work in early August. E-1, 6-2.
Top of the 7th inning: Gracie and Sutton are having their typical seventh inning conversation about how D’back hitters made an otherwise mediocre pitcher look like a Cy Young candidate. I wonder if they pre-record this for the seventh inning of every game and grab a couple beers.
Bottom of the 7th inning: Gracie and Sutton, knowing this game is over, begin discussing tomorrow’s match-up featuring Max Scherzer. The camera cuts to Max and his bizarre mismatched eyes. Creepy.
Crap. Tivo ran out. Rookie mistake on my part with Davis pitching slower than the shifting of the tectonic plates. If you have seen a D’backs game since May 1st of last year, I am sure you can imagine the rest. Final score ended up 7-2. (I’ll give you one guess who drove in the seventh and final run.)
To quote Eddie Izzard:
“So that’s the end of my show. I do like to end the show with a kind of ‘oh’ feeling. And, er… And I think l’ve done that quite well. Thank you for being here. Hope you enjoyed it.”