The D-backs came off a five game losing streak looking to Ian Kennedy to be the ace he is and stop the slide. He was up to the task and pitched a good game and the D-backs got a much-needed win.
But, it wouldn’t mean all that much if the D-backs went on to get swept by the Phillies so it was important to continue the momentum they gained in the game Kennedy won into tonight’s game. It didn’t take long.
The D-backs scored four runs and batted around in the first inning against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. And an underlying story in how they scored those points was that they didn’t need a home run to score multiple runs. They were able to string together hits and move runners around the bases without the long ball. That is important for the team because the D-backs were batting less than .200 with Runners In Scoring Position. In this game, they were 5-12 with RISP.
That doesn’t mean the D-backs didn’t hit some long balls, though. Justin Upton finally hit his first of the season with a mammoth shot to the left field and Jason Kubel hit his second of the year with a bomb to right field, just one batter after Upton.
The D-backs scored eight runs total in the first four innings to put the game away early or so it seemed at least.
Wade Miley was absolutely fantastic for the D-backs as he has been for them for most of the season coming out of the bullpen. He threw six scoreless innings only allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven. He had the Phillies off-balance for the entire game with a low-90s fastball and a devastating change-up that he threw for strikes on a consistent basis. Brad Ziegler and freshly called-up from triple-A Jonathan Albaladejo pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.
But the shutout was ruined when left-hander Joe Paterson, struggling so far this year, came into the ninth with a 9-0 lead and proceeded to give up five runs without recording an out. It cut the lead enough that it forced Manager Kirk Gibson to bring in oft-used Craig Breslow and start getting closer J.J. Putz loose in the bullpen.
But Breslow was able to close out the game and finish off the Phillies in what should have been a laugher for D-backs fans but ended with a little bit of anxiety. Miley received the win for the D-backs to increase his record to 2-0 on the season.
There were several important aspects of this game that the D-backs can build on going forward. Most importantly, they won consecutive games for the first time in a week. But getting Upton hitting has to be a priority with Chris Young on the DL for an indefinite amount of time. Upton did not even have and RBI coming into the game but recorded two tonight. It is vital that Upton, the D-backs best hitter, starts to drive in runs in bunches like he is capable of doing.
Furthermore, tonight was another great showing for Miley but it was also encouraging to see him strike out seven batters. In his three previous appearances, Miley threw 8.2 innings but only struck out two while walking four. That type of k/9 rate or k/bb rate is not a good sign of success to come. But tonight, he struck out seven while only walking one. If Miley can continue to strike out people, he should be a great weapon for the D-backs out of the bullpen.