With the way this season has gone for the Arizona Diamondbacks, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to believe all Manager Kirk Gibson wanted for his 57th birthday was an easy W. Well, Happy Birthday, skip, your team used a franchise record 8-run 1st inning to propel them to their 22nd win of the season last night, cruising to a 12-6 victory over the Padres. Rookie Chase Anderson moved to 3-0 since his call-up. Paul Goldschmidt hit his 10th HR of the season, a spectacular 470-ft blast to dead center in the 7th, the ball hitting high up on the huge centerfield scoreboard, nearly hitting the picture of his own face. Martin Prado also homered for the D’backs, his second in as many days. And Chris Owings continued the fantastic start to his rookie season at Chase Field, with a career-high four hits, and is now hitting better than .360 at home.
Mr. Anderson has now been the beneficiary of 30 runs worth of support in his last couple of starts, (the rain-out in New York in between being excepted, although thanks to an Aaron Hill homer that was eventually erased, he’d been given an early lead there too). He didn’t pitch extraordinarily well, allowing four runs, but part of that was due to the rather routinely poor defense the D’backs have played behind their pitchers this season. Still, he became the first Diamondbacks rookie to ever win his first three starts, an impressive accomplishment no matter what the circumstances.
Goldschmidt, who currently sits a disappointing 5th in All-Star voting at 1B, also had a double and finished with 3 RBI. He now has 37 RBI on the season while hitting .309. Statistically, he’s on a similar pace to last year’s numbers, when he finished second in the NL MVP voting. But he still doesn’t get any national love. Die-hard baseball fans seem to know who he is, MLB pitchers absolutely know who he is, but casual fans filling out their ballots in the stands around the country seem to have no idea how fantastic this guy is, and it’s truly disappointing.
Over their last 24 games, spanning back through the series against the White Sox, Arizona has now won six of their last eight series, going 13-11. At first glance, that’s pretty mediocre. But it actually may speak more to who this team actually is. Projected out over a season, that would translate to approximately 88 wins. That is NOT mediocre, and would likely have meant a spot in the playoffs. Not to say there will be playoffs for this team, the hole they dug to start was just to deep. But keeping a pace like this would likely keep Gibby in town to celebrate his 58th birthday, and could prove highly entertaining to fans, the opportunity of the Diamondbacks playing spoiler for some team down the stretch. Stay tuned.