The Diamondbacks won their final two games against the Milwaukee Brewers to take their first home series since opening weekend- snapping a span of six consecutive series losses. They improved their record to 22-26 overall and remain 10.5 games behind the Dodgers. The team begins another road trip this afternoon with a three game set in San Francisco.
GOOD: Team Offense. There is a trend beginning to form with this offense. Get shutdown in the opening game of a series, put on a hit parade the next two. For the fourth time in the last five series the Dbacks were held to just one run in the opener and then went on to score 5, 9, 7, 11, 8 and 4 runs in the remaining games of each series. They are 5-1 in those six games.
*The team has also been cutting down on their strikeouts recently and have dropped to sixth in the N.L. after leading the majors in strikeouts just four weeks ago. They’ve collected the fourth most walks in the N.L. as well and are now fourth in on base percentage as well. Let’s hope this offense is here to stay, especially with the starting pitching still struggling to put up consistent numbers.
*Jason Kubel. The left fielder has been a great addition to the team so far and Kubel was excellent again this weekend. The streaky hitter was coming off a 3 for 20 dip but finished the series 6 for 10 with 3 runs scored, 3 RBI’s, and 3 walks. He gave the Dbacks their only run on Friday with a solo shot and then provided a clutch two out single yesterday to tie the game at three apiece.
*Aaron Hill. It’s nice to see the second baseman in the middle of a hot stretch. He finished the series 6 for 10 with 2 runs, a pair of doubles and a stolen base. He is 10 for his last 18 and has three multi-hit efforts in his last four games.
*Henry Blanco. Blanco was thrust into the starter role when Montero went down on Monday with a groin injury and has done very well filling in. Since Tuesday, Blanco has gone 5 for 14 including the eventual game winning RBI single in yesterday’s finale against the Brewers. His defense has been excellent as well, throwing out all three of the runners attempting a stolen base.
*David Hernandez. The setup guy has been excellent all season and continued the dominance yesterday in a shutout inning. On the season opposing hitters are batting just .188 and he’s averaging a career best 13.29 K’s/9 inning. He’s one of three relievers in baseball to have not allowed a run at home yet, going 12 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts.
BAD: Starting Pitchers. Over their 16 2/3 innings of work over the weekend, they allowed eleven runs- nine earned, while walking five and allowing two homeruns. Kennedy was particularly bad struggling through 5 2/3 innings on the way to his fifth straight loss. He recorded his fourth balk on the year and gave up two homeruns. Wade Miley didn’t fare much better on the hill but was backed with eight runs and recorded his sixth win on the year. He also extended his hitting streak to seven games and is hitting a ridiculous .444 on the year.
*RISP. The team finished 9 for 34 (.264) with runners in scoring position this weekend and couldn’t convert on three different occasions on Friday night- including a bases loaded opportunity for Roberts where he grounded into an inning ending double play. They hit into four double plays on the evening and finished 0 for 6 with RISP. Plus side is that they had four 2-out RBI’s on Sunday and showed they could still come from behind in games.
*Craig Breslow. The lefty has now given up a run in each of his last three appearances- one of which he failed to record an out. On Friday he hit the first batter he faced, walked a batter and gave up a single to load the bases with nobody out. Fortunately he worked his way out of the mess with only one run allowed on a sacrifice fly. Hopefully his recent struggles are just a matter of location and not an injury or a sign of things to come. He had gone 10 consecutive innings without allowing a run prior to his recent hiccup.
UGLY: Mike Zagurski. This roly poly lefty has been inconsistent all season, mostly struggling with his location. On Sunday he fell behind all five of the hitters he faced with a first pitch ball and walked three hitters. He retired just one Brewer, the first he faced, and was removed with the bases loaded after allowing one run. Luckily for the Dbacks, Bryan Shaw induced a first pitch ground ball to Nyjer Morgan that turned into a 6-2-3 double play with some help from Morgan turning around towards home on his way to first trying to see if the runner scored. It was the turning point in the game without a doubt as the Diamondbacks scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Zagurski now sports a 5.56 ERA on the year and patience has to be running thin for Charles Nagy.
*Base running. The Diamondbacks like to run. That’s great and for a team that struggles to plate runs on a consistent basis, it should be encouraged. But their efficiency has been terrible lately. They were picked off at first twice yesterday by Randy Wolf and once on Saturday. Their stolen base efficiency dropped to just 67% after this weekend, 11th in the National League. So while they sit in 3rd place in the N.L. in steals, they are also tops in the league in the ‘caught stealing’ category. Willie Bloomquist has had the worst luck being caught six times now in ten attempts.
NOTES: Upton finished 0 for 4 Sunday snapping a nine game hit streak and 17 game stretch of reaching base safely.
*Miguel Montero inked the largest contract in Diamondbacks history this weekend keeping him in Arizona for the next five years and worth $60 million. Coincidentally, the catcher missed the entire series against the Brewers with a groin strain and hasn’t played since injuring himself on Monday against the Dodgers. He is in the starting lineup today though so that is encouraging.
*The bullpen struggled at times the last two series but did get the starting pitchers out of two bases loaded jams this weekend without allowing a run. Brad Ziegler did it on Friday to save Kennedy from an even worse outing, and Shaw did it Sunday with a one pitch double play to end the inning.
*Today starts a nine game stretch against the N.L. West for the Dbacks with Trevor Cahill starting against Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants.
Now bring on the Giants!!
Topics: Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks, Craig Breslow, D-backs, David Hernandez, Dbacks, Henry Blanco, Ian Kennedy, Jason Kubel, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, Mike Zagurski, Milwaukee Brewers, National League West, Nyjer Morgan, Randy Wolf, San Francisco Giants, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Willie Bloomquist