At the risk of jinxing the whole thing, I have to say it...
The Slump Has Ended!
Eric Byrnes, after sitting out an entire game on Thursday night, came into the lineup hitting in the seven hole. This was a great decision by Bob Melvin. Byrnes is much more of a lower-order guy to begin with, and the day off forced him to get over the mental issues.
When Byrnes finally stepped to the plate to lead off the third inning, things just felt different. He had changed his music, which pleased just about everyone in the ballpark. The Outfield's "Lose Your Love" was wearing thin on most of us quicker than Byrnes' slump.
He came out to the 2007 favorite "Jump" by Van Halen, and we all knew things were going to change. After taking a few pitches, Byrnsie fouled one straight back. The next pitch he shot it down the line; it knocked the ball girl square in the jaw. The next pitch after that, Byrnes hit a line drive to the left fielder. It was caught, but he kept his shoulders level and swung through the ball, making solid contact. And there was much rejoicing.
When Eric returned in the bottom of the fifth, expectations were high. With two outs after a botched hit-and-run by Snyder left Upton stranded, Byrnes had no pressure to come through. He took a Jeremy Bonderman fastball up and out to left field, never to return again. And there was much rejoicing.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the D-Backs were running out of time. After Bonderman had walked both Upton and Snyder, Zach Minor came on in relief. Byrnes took his pitch hard to center field, a double if Granderson isn't out there, and drove in Justin Upton to bring his team within one run. After Byrnes advanced on an attempted sacrifice, Chris Young brought him in to tie the game. There was definitely much rejoicing.
Byrnes never hit again during the game but his swing was much more solid and defined. He was not trying to do too much with every pitch, and it felt like he had taken a much more relaxed approach to the game. It was refreshing to see.
Tonight will tell if the slump is over...or just postponed.