The Diamondbacks finished up a three game set Wednesday night against the L.A. Dodgers with a victory to salvage one game and avoid the sweep. Heading into the series there were high hopes that the team would at least take two of three or ideally pull off a sweep. They were in line to take two of three but watched that lead fade away with some horribly undisciplined baseball. The Diamondbacks currently sit at 20-25 in third place in the N.L. West behind the Dodgers and Giants.
- May 23, 2012; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton (10) hits a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Image: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
GOOD: Team Offense. The offense played very well overall in this three game set plating 18 runs on 29 hits in the final two contests. While soft throwing Capuano did shut down the offense on Monday, the bats seem to be back with all players contributing. In the finale, every starter-including Joe Saunders- had at least one hit and they racked up seven walks on the day. On Tuesday, they had five doubles and two homeruns and scored in five of the nine innings.
*The 11 runs scored on Wednesday were a season high for the team and they’ve scored six or more runs in four of their last seven games.
*RISP. The team was more successful with runners in scoring position in this series finishing with a .407 conversion rate, 11 for 27.
*Willie Bloomquist. You have to wonder if Stephen Drew is really going to be able to offer an upgrade to the shortstop position. Bloomquist has recorded multi-hit efforts in six of his last seven games hitting at a .419 clip during that span. In the Dodgers series he had six hits including a double and two triples with five runs scored. He’s committed just two errors at short on the year, best in the N.L. at his position.
*Justin Upton. Upton continues to heat up finishing 5 for 12 with three runs scored, a double, homerun and four RBI’s against the Dodgers. Also, Upton has kept his strikeouts to a minimum lately and was fanned just twice over the three game set. Over his last seven games, the right fielder is hitting .417 with 9 runs, 2 HR, 8 RBI’s and 7 walks giving him a .531 OBP during that stretch. He has reached base safely in 15 straight games.
*Other Notable Hitters: Lyle Overbay. The first baseman went 4-4 with a double and go ahead homerun in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Overbay continues to prove he at least deserves the opportunity to start more games at first.
*Josh Bell. The switch hitting third baseman was called up on Monday and had his first homerun as a Dback the following night- a 453 foot bomb to right center field. He has been given the ‘starter’ role at third, moving Roberts to a utility role so his production will be watched closely in the coming weeks. His defense was suspect in the two games he played including a crucial error in the seventh that allowed the eventual game-tying run to score.
*Ryan Roberts. After a dismal April, Roberts has really been hitting well and went 3 for 7 with a double, homerun, and three runs scored against the Dodgers. He’s hitting .368 in his last seven games with three extra base hits and six RBI’s.
BAD: Jason Kubel. The left fielder was just 1 for 12 in the series with four strikeouts. He grounded into a game ending double play on Tuesday with the tying run on third base. He’s in a 3 for 20 dip right now and has proven to be a streaky hitter if nothing else in his short tenure with the Diamondbacks.
*Home Record. The Diamondbacks continued to struggle at home losing two of three and dropping to 8-14 at Chase Field. Since starting 4-0 at home, the team has dropped 14 of 18. They failed to win their six straight series at home, a franchise record. This is unusual territory for the team as they were almost unbeatable at home in 2011 posting 51 wins.
*Miguel Montero. The catcher strained his groin on Monday and sat out the final two games against the Dodgers. He is listed as day to day but could miss additional time.
UGLY. The Bullpen. This was a humbling series for the bullpen allowing 11 runs, 9 earned, 4 walks and 2 homeruns. On Tuesday they found a way to blow two save opportunities and Putz eventually took the loss. Neither Ziegler or Breslow could record an out despite facing seven hitters. The bullpen has been very consistent in May-sans Putz- and hopefully this was just a bump in the road. They finished the series with 2 2/3 scoreless innings of 1 hit ball with their outing Wednesday.
*J.J. Putz. Here he is again, an ugly performance. Putz only got to throw once in the Dodgers series but he won’t forget about it anytime soon. After retiring Gwynn Jr. to open the frame, he walked two straight before De Jesus laced a first pitch fastball to deep center, scoring both runners. Heading into the game Putz had a 16:1 K/BB ratio. He had thrown four consecutive shutout innings and converted three straight save opportunities. Before Tuesday’s game it appeared as though the Dbacks may have their closer back. Now, following another disappointing outing, Gibby & Co. have to be discussing other options for this role. David Hernandez would the obvious choice averaging 13 K’s/9 innings so far.
NOTES: Before Monday’s game, Cody Ransom was designated for assignment and Josh Bell-acquired from the Orioles in April- made his Dbacks debut at third base. The word around the ballpark is that Bell is ‘getting his shot’ at the starting third base role and Roberts has been moved to a utility role. The move was surprising since Ransom had been rather impressive at the plate but had fallen off in the last three series. He was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers and could now possibly play against the Dbacks this weekend at Chase Field.
*On Tuesday, rookie pitcher Patrick Corbin was sent down to AAA Reno and catcher Konrad Schmidt was recalled to help split time with Henry Blanco as Montero lets his injury heal. Corbin had an up-and-down stint with the club posting a 2-3 record and 5.73 ERA. The move is an encouraging sign that Daniel Hudson will be coming off the DL in the next day or two and should start against the Brewers on Sunday. Hudson hasn’t pitched since he took the loss against the Pirates on April 18th and has a 1-1 record with a 6.00 ERA in three starts.
*Standings Comparison. A lot of comparisons have been made with this 2012 team and the team of 2011, hinting the team is just a day or two away from a big run. On May 24th 2011, the team was 24-24 and 3.5 back from the San Francisco Giants. They wouldn’t drop below .500 the rest of the year on their way to a 94 win season. In 2010, the team was 20-25 on May 24th, 6.5 games back. They would go on to lose 97 games. On May 24, 2012 the Dbacks sit at 20-25 and are 10.5 games out of first place. One thing is for sure, this team is much improved from the lowly 2010 team. Now whether this team is prepared and disciplined enough to make a run at the division or wild card is something we’ll have to wait and see.
Now bring on the Brewers!
Topics: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field, Chris Young, Colorado Rockies, D-backs, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Dbacks, J.J. Putz, Jason Kubel, Justin Upton, Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles Dodgers, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, Ryan Roberts, San Francisco Giants, Willie Bloomquist