Heading into this six game road trip against the Rangers and Angels many of us would have been happy with a 3-3 showing. Heck, before the series started if you said they’d win one game in each series I probably would have said OK. But as the Diamondbacks came away with two wins there isn’t a very good feeling about the road trip. That might have something to do with the completely non-existent offense that continues to be inconsistent. So keeping to our expectations before the road trip- we shouldn’t be too upset overall-yet we continue to expect more from this Dbacks team.
Record Notes: The Diamondbacks lost both series on the road trip, finishing up at 2-4. They now sit at 32-34 and are 9.5 back of the Dodgers. They are three games out of the second wild card spot behind the Atlanta Braves.
*The Dbacks won game one of the Angels series only to lose the final two games. It is the sixth series this season that they have won game one and then lost the final two contests.
*In their last seven losses the club has scored a total of three runs and have been shutout four times.
*Of their 34 losses, they have been held to one or fewer runs 17 times. They’ve plated two or fewer runs in 23 of their 34 losses.
GOOD: Starting Pitching. The starting rotation was excellent in this series allowing just four earned runs over twenty-one innings of work. They were able to keep the offense in the game all weekend and held the Angels to a 1 for 15 success rate with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately, they were hurt by the long ball. Joe Saunders’ only two runs allowed came on a homerun in the first inning off the bat of left fielder Mark Trumbo. Albert Pujols would hit a solo shot off of Kennedy on Sunday that would be enough run support for the Angels.
*Trevor Cahill has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the month of June posting a 3-0 record and .77 ERA including a complete game shutout. It is Cahill’s best three game stretch since April 17-23rd 2011, where he went 21 IP allowing just 2 earned runs. This has been a pleasant surprise out of the new Diamondback as he struggled most of the way through April and May.
*Bullpen. The bullpen worked four innings of shutout ball this weekend with Ziegler throwing a pair of shutout innings in relief. It was the second series in their last four that the bullpen didn’t allow an earned run.
*Overall the team has to be very pleased with the way they held this potent offense in check. Their three hottest hitters: Mike Trout, Pujols and Trumbo were a combined 4 for 35 with 10 strikeouts. Unfortunately, three of those hits went for extra bases and accounted for all of the Angels runs on Saturday and Sunday. Still, if the pitching staff can be consistent with these numbers moving forward, they will be able to compete with any team they face.
BAD: I could probably list just about every Diamondback to pick up a bat this weekend aside from Kubel and maybe Upton but it’s not worth the space it would take up on this article. And I want to save that for the next section.
* Leadoff Spot. Well, he finally did it- he had someone hit leadoff in consecutive games. Chris Young led off the final game of the Rangers series and then the first two games of the Angels series. He went 1 for 8 in the Angels series and 1 for 13 in the three consecutive games. Not exactly the best way to gain momentum early on. Including Bloomquist’s day on Sunday at leadoff the team was 2 for 12 in that spot against the Angels. In the last two series they are 3 for 24 filling that role.
* For the record: Bloomquist has the most starts as the leadoff man with a .263 average on 133 at bats- he’s hitting .365 in the two slot. The next most at bats as a leadoff is Gerardo Parra who has fared quite well posting a .315 average and .407 on base percentage in 73 at bats. But I say we keep switching it up everyday just so no one can game plan against Gibby’s strategy. Consistency is overrated.
*Being one-hit by Ervin Santana was pretty embarrassing. Yes, the guy has thrown a no-hitter before but he has been HORRIBLE this season. In his last four starts leading up to Saturday’s near perfect game he had given up 23 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings with six homeruns allowed and FIFTEEN walks! Those numbers are nearly enough to lose your spot in the rotation and I’m not taking a small sample size to prove my point- he is 4-7 with a 5.16 ERA on the year. We never managed to touch second base safely in the game and honestly never really contested the no-no until Upton’s single in the seventh. Too many fly ball outs.
UGLY: Did I mention this team has been shutout four times in their last twelve games? What about being shutout three times in their last five games? It’s good for the Dbacks to face some solid competition and very encouraging the way the pitchers were able to be so effective against two of the best lineups in baseball but the way the offense fell flat on their faces is disconcerting if nothing else. Here are a couple culprits:
*Chris Young is in a six-week slump right now and getting more and more frustrated by the day. He was 1 for 11 in the series and has just one RBI in his last twenty-two games. He has yet to hit a homerun since he returned from the DL- a span of 23 games. His biggest problem this season has been his inability to get on base against right handed pitching. He is now batting just .193 vs. righties while he is hammering left handed pitching at a .333 clip. This may be an opportunity to get Parra his at bats if Young keeps struggling against righties.
*Gerardo Parra finished the Angels series 0 for 8 and has just two hits in his last eighteen at bats.
*Paul Goldschmidt got cold real quick after being one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball for about two weeks. He was 1 for 7 against the Angels and since his 17 game hit streak was snapped he has gone 1 for 14 with 0 walks, 0 RBI’s, and 0 extra base hits.
NOTES: For perspective, the Angels have now won 7 of 9 and 18 of 24 overall. They’re rolling. They’ve also posted the most shutouts in all of baseball with nine. Something to keep in mind before we get too down on the lousy series.
*The Diamondbacks offense are riding a 21 consecutive scoreless streak into their series starting Monday against the Mariners.
*Sunday was the second time this month they were shutout by a rookie pitcher. On June 4th, Rockies pitcher Christian Friedrich held the Dbacks scoreless in a 4-0 Rockies win. Both Friedrich and Angels’ rookie Garrett Richards were making their sixth career start when they beat the Diamondbacks.
*Justin Upton Homerun Watch continues into another series as he failed to go yard again. The streak extends to 19 consecutive games now and he’s now gone seven straight games without an RBI, extra base hit, or walk. Again, that’s our number three hitter. –To be fair, he was 4 for 12 in the Angels series.
*The team returns to Chase Field to play the Seattle Mariners (29-39) on Monday and the Chicago Cubs (22-44) over the weekend. Given their recent success at home, this team needs to win both series and could very well pull off at least one sweep.
Now bring on the M’s!!
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Topics: Albert Pujols, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field, Chris Young, Christian Friedrich, Dbacks, Ervin Santana, Garrett Richards, Gerardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Justin Upton, Kirk Gibson, Leadoff Spot, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Trevor Cahill, Upton Homerun Watch