6 5 4 4 2 4
Game Score 48
I was thinking when Matt finished the 5th (getting Helton to groundout after a long at-bat) that I'd be happy with three more outs. Six would have been ideal, but I would have taken three at that point, down 2-0 and looking pretty weak against De La Rosa. Maybe we could conjure up a couple of runs, I thought, and push the game to the bullpens. At home, I like our chances late. Alas, Sean Smith hit the Death Bomb. As it was, we got those late runs, but that was too little by then, and a little too late as well.
We played a horrid game for the most part, with fielding blunders, a spectacular baserunning gaffe, and wretched hitting to go along with the big 2-out mistakes from Cain. When Matt has trouble getting strikeouts, he's vulnerable, and the Crockies feasted on the cheese tonight. Cain has seen a big drop in strikeouts this year, with his K/9 dropping below 7, the worst rate of his four full seasons. He's cut down on his walks, always a good thing, but he managed to get burned on a 2-out walk tonight. September has not been kind to Big Sugar in 2009. "Mandatory" studliness was demanded, and "a shutout" as well (hey, this is a tough crowd), and that sure didn't happen. Sorry, Matt, the suitcase sticker with "no. 2" on it has to get peeled off and passed around, ol' no. 75 has been itchin' for it, and he's been looking pretty good lately, so give it up, amigo. (Psst, it's OK, we're still homeys. But I have to serve you up for a flaying, so suck it up and take your whuppin' like good boy.)
Rafael Betancourt--he of the Renteria grand slam--had to clean up Franklin Morales' mess in the 9th, and the usually reliable Troy Tulowitzki made an error to put him on the spot. Alas, Renteria was unable to produce the encore, and the Scheirholtz strikeout ended what turned out to be a last-gasp tease. I've written one obit for this club, and I won't write another. The numbers don't look good with 16 games left to play, but improbabilities have piled upon improbabilities this season, so you never know. You can flip "heads" ten times in a row, can't you?
UPDATE (0656 Thursday): It was Ian Stewart who hit the Death Bomb, as JCP points out, the no. 8 hitter. He's a funny duck, with a Renterivian BA/OBP (.231/.323) but slugs .483 (19 2B, 24 HR). It's not a Coors Field artifact: his splits are lefty-righty, not home-away. There is no "Sean Smith," only a "Seth Smith." (Memo to self: don't blog after late games.) There's a write-up at BtB re Seth Smith. Be nice to have an OF or two with his "upside." The venerable Rob Neyer (one of the few ESPN guys I respect) was at the Park last night (link via ShysterBall). Grant at McChronic and El Lefty Malo both offer thoughts on last night with their usual skillful mixture of humor and insight.