There are some times that for unexplainable reasons a player just has a team’s number. It would be safe to say that Jason Schmidt has had the Diamondbacks number. Since 2002, Schmidt has established an amazing 11-0 record against Arizona while maintaining a 2.93 ERA. It doesn’t matter who the Diamondbacks start against Schmidt the results always seem to be the same. So when Arizona arrived in San Francisco and saw the pitching match-up for tonight’s game was Jason Schmidt against rookie Edgar Gonzalez they had to have a sick feeling in their stomach. Schmidt pitching coupled with the late surge by Barry Bonds is not a good combination if you are a Diamondbacks fan.
Edgar Gonzalez has had some success since his latest promotion to the major leagues. In his last start against San Diego he showed a lot of confidence and command which were two things he did not have earlier in the year. Edgar has been very inconsistent until recently so you just never know what you are going to get with him. Gonzalez was challenged early when Bonds came up in the second inning and drove a pitch to the deepest part of center field. Fortunately for the Diamondbacks Chris Young was positioned perfectly and ran down the fly for an out. For Gonzalez though it didn’t end quite so nicely as the next batter Ray Durham hit a home run to right field after Gonzalez got ahead of the batter 0-2.
Schmidt maintained his mastery of the Diamondbacks retiring Arizona in order the first three innings establishing the groundwork for a perfect game. That perfection was stopped in the fourth inning when Eric Byrnes hit a home run to left field. Luis Gonzalez followed with a single to right then Chad Tracy hit another single to right putting runners on first and second. Conor Jackson then hit the second home run of the inning giving the Diamondbacks a 4-1 lead. That was all the team needed as Edgar Gonzalez pitched brilliantly over 7 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits and striking out 3. Probably his most memorable inning would be the fifth inning when Jason Schmidt hit a double to center after the Diamondbacks had recorded 2 outs in the inning. Randy Winn walked followed by Omar Vizquel who also walked to load the bases. With Barry Bonds on deck and Mark Sweeney at the plate Gonzalez struck out Sweeney leaving everyone to wonder “what if” Barry had gotten up.
At the end of the night when the dust had settled, the streak was over and Jason Schmidt was no longer perfect against the Diamondbacks. Barry Bonds was left to contemplate how a rookie pitcher who had only won 3 games all season had held him 0-4 and eliminated the Giants from the 2006 post season. This road trip was one where the Diamondbacks could define the fortunes of the Padres, Dodgers and the Giants. In the end it was only the Giants who saw their fate decided by the hands of a rookie who is making a case for his inclusion in Arizona’s 2007 plans.