In a division where upswings and free falls seem to happened weekly for every club, you can’t make too much of any single game. But if the D-Backs can somehow squeak into the postseason, their come-from-behind, five-hour, 15-inning, 9-7 thriller over the Dodgers on Friday night will be well remembered.
Pointing to their just-finished 3-7 road trip, one that ended with three straight losses at San Francisco, manager Bob Melvin said, “All in all, it was a huge victory. That would have been a tough loss for us . . . if we had lost.”
His main worry was that while the Dodgers still had a backup catcher available, the D-Backs didn’t once Melvin sent in Johnny Estrada for Chris Snyder.
“If your catcher goes down, you’re in real trouble,” Melvin said. Among the highlights was Melvin’s decision to use pitcher Livan Hernandez as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and one out, with the score 7-7 in the bottom of the 13th. Hernandez struck out, as did Eric Byrnes behind him. Melvin said he didn’t consider trying a squeeze play with Hernandez: “In that situation, you have a force at home . . . if you pop it up, you get two outs. It just wasn’t the right time for me. “Livan was a guy I felt could put it in play . . . I felt good about it.”
The marathon won’t cause the D-Backs to make a pitching call-up from Tucson. “No one here deserves to be sent down,” Melvin said. “We just have to suck it up.” Had the game gone much longer, he would have had to go to a starting pitcher. His emergency pitcher among position players had been Shawn Green, who was traded last week. His emergency pitcher today?
“It’s still Shawn Green,” Melvin joked. More seriously, he said, perhaps the role will go to infielder Damion Easley.
Jeff DaVanon sprained his left ankle sliding into second base three weeks ago. He was thought to be out for two or three games. Instead, he’s missed 19 and counting. DaVanon, who Melvin says is “frustrated” by these developments, is set to seek an opinion from doctors in Los Angeles on Monday.
“There’s a chance” that surgery will be necessary, Melvin said, adding that the outfielder has potential problems with tendons and ligaments.
COUNSELL TO LEAD OFF
In his first start in six weeks, Craig Counsell hit seventh in the lineup.
“I’m taking it easy on him,” Melvin said.
But, “If everything goes well for him physically, you’ll see him back in the leadoff role pretty soon.”
BYRNES ON BASE
In a media poll of scouts, Byrnes was fingered as one of the game’s poorest base runners.
Yet it’s hard to argue with his decisions to steal bases, where he’s 18-for-19 this season.
“In base stealing, he’s outstanding,” Melvin said. “Sometimes, he’s a little overly aggressive as far as going first to third. But he’s similar to Counsell” in that Melvin often gives them the green light “because they understand when they have a chance and when they don’t.”