D-backs’ Aaron Hill led the D-backs to a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners Monday night by hitting for the fifth cycle in D-backs history. It was the type of performance the D-backs badly needed coming off back-to-back shutouts at the hands of the Angels.
It’s the type of performance the D-backs got last year when they needed it the most. Going into May 14 last year, the D-backs were on a five-game skid where the team had scored 11 runs in those five losses. They looked to be in free fall. However, they got a great performance from Josh Collmenter in his first career start. Given only one unearned run of support on only one hit, Collmenter parlayed that into a win by throwing six shut out innings and only allowing two hits.
The D-backs won 1-0 and it turned the entire season around as the D-backs went on to 18 of their next 21 games and launched themselves into an NL West lead they wouldn’t surrender. It’s yet to be seen if this type of performance could jump start a highly inconsistent offensive attack and propel the D-backs into a similar run.
It’s possible, though. The D-backs have two more games with the Mariners and then a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs, who have the worst record in the league. They then play a good but not great Braves team followed by the below-par Brewers and then the Padres, who would have the worst record in the league were it not for the Cubs. And the final series for the D-backs before the All-Star break pits them against the NL-West leading Dodgers.
This is quite possibly the make or break stretch of games for the D-backs. If they are going to make a move, they will have to use Hill’s cycle as a jumping off point towards a string of wins. If the D-backs could scratch away at the Dodgers lead to close to four games before their series with the Dodgers, that series could really give momentum to whichever team comes out on top.
But to get there, the D-backs will have to continue to beat the bad teams on their schedule like they did last night.
Wade Miley, quickly becoming a rookie-of-the-year candidate, was marvelous once again as he tossed seven innings while only allowing one run. He tied his season-high in strike outs with eight and didn’t give up a walk. Collmenter pitched a scoreless eighth and JJ Putz pitched a scoreless ninth for the D-backs win.