The Diamondbacks were in desperate need for the calender to turn to May after a horrible April. After the first month, the Dbacks were in last place in the National League West, and had the worst record in baseball. Dbacks players clearly acknowledged that they had put themselves behind the eight ball. In order to play better better baseball and make history as Miguel Montero said, the Dbacks first needed to get better outings from the starting rotation. The starters have said all season long that despite struggling, each starter takes pride in going out and putting together a quality start and hopefully that will rub off on the next guy.
Maybe this team is finally starting to see the results they want. On Friday night, Bronson Arroyo turned in his second great start in a row pitching 7 innings and scattering 3 hits. Yesterday, Brandon McCarthy turned in the same outing pitching 7 shutout innings while scattering 3 hits. Granted it was against the Padres who cant do much of anything on offense these days, but it was encouraging. McCarthy who threw so well during spring training was primed for a big year. Bad luck has hit the veteran right hander hard this year with a pitch or two ruining most of his outings this season. But after deserving the win against the Mets at Chase going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs, he finally got some run support and earned his first victory of the season. After the last two outings, anything less than a quality start from Miley in the series finale would be a huge disappointment for this team.
Once again, the Dbacks offense provided enough support to get the victory. In the top of the second Miguel Montero hit a home run to right center field into the beach area staking McCarthy to an early 1-0 lead. Montero continues to stay hot in the cleanup spot. Over the last 14 games all in the 4th spot in the order, Miggy is hitting .340 and has seen his OPS increase by over 200 points from .626 to .840. The key for Montero has been his approach at the plate. Instead of trying to swing for the fences during every at bat he is just trying to get on base and be productive and the results are finally coming. As much as everybody likes to criticize Kirk Gibson, maybe he has found a permanent spot for Montero in the Dbacks lineup. With one out and Chris Owings at second, Alfredo Marte slapped a soft liner down the right field line to score Owings. Marte who made his season debut last night would drive in two on the night. The biggest story offensively for the Dbacks was Chris Owings. He continues to rake at the plate going 3 for 4 with an RBI. Owings is batting .315 on the season and is leading all N.L rookies with 29 hits.
The bullpen made it interesting in the 9th inning. After throwing seven shoutout frames and only throwing 88 pitches, Gibson once again made a controversial move sending in Joe Thatcher for the bottom of the eighth who immediately allowed the first two to reach. Many will say that McCarthy was taken out to early, but Gibson wanted McCarthy to be taken out when his outing was still going well and he didn’t want to stretch him out. Gibson than made a great move sending in double play machine Brad Ziegler into the game, and he did his job getting a double play and a groundout to get out of the inning. In the 9th J.J Putz came in with a 4-0 lead in a non save situation and gave up a single to Seth Smith and a double to Yasmani Grandal scoring Smith. That ended a streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings. Gibson elected to go to his closer Addison Reed. Reed came in and served up a two run homer to Jedd Gyorko and suddenly it was a one run game. Reed was able to get out of the inning preserving a 4-3 victory while collecting his 8th save. If it hadn’t been for the San Diego rally, the Dbacks would have blanked the opponent in two consecutive games something they haven’t done since July of 2011 when Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders did it in early June of 2011 against the Nationals. The Dbacks will go for the sweep this afternoon with Wade Miley on the mound.