The Diamondbacks struggled through another series this week, getting swept by the reigning world champion St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first time the Dbacks have been swept this season and extended their losing streak to five games. Overall the team has dropped 7 of 8 and seen their record fall to 14-18.
May 9, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher J.J. Putz reacts after giving up a run in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Chase Field. Image: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
GOOD: hmm…..well on an individual note, Ryan Roberts has crossed the Mendoza line after a 3-3 performance on Sunday afternoon and is starting to come into his own. He is 7 for his last 14 with a 2B and 2 RBI. Even better: 0 strikeouts.
*Aaron Hill and Miguel Montero had the most success off the Cardinals pitching with Hill going 5 for 13 and Montero 4 for 11, respectively.
*The Bullpen. At first glance you may disagree: 11 IP 11 H 6 ER 3 BB 2 HR. Even entering those numbers makes me question my placement here but without Putz’s pathetic showing on Sunday- 4 ER, 2/3IP- and Bryan Shaw giving up a 2-run HR during Friday’s homerun parade at Chase Field, the bullpen held the Cardinals scoreless for 9 1/3 innings of relief. Brad Ziegler has been excellent as of late and worked 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief over the weekend. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last six appearances. Obviously it’s impossible to just omit unfavorable stats but important to note that not all of the bullpen is struggling…in fact, it’s just Putz- more on that guy below…
BAD: Offensive Strikeouts. Here we go again, the Diamondbacks are leading all of major league baseball in strikeouts and this weekend was no exception- tallying 31 K’s over the three game set. In comparison, the Cardinals were fanned just 14 times.
*Runners in Scoring Position: I could probably put this stat for each series wrap up. They finished 8-27 in this series which is a glowing improvement from their Mets series when they were successful in just 3 of their 28 opportunities. That’s 11-55 in the last 6 games. Perhaps this next one offers some insight.
*Our 3-4-5 hitters: Since the lineup changes daily, I am including Upton-Montero-Kubel-Goldschmidt. Final line: 8-38(.210avg) 1 XBH (2B by Montero) 3 RBI. The foursome went down on strikes 16 times and finished 1-9 with RISP.
*Want a comparison? Cards 1-2-3 hitters: .447 Avg 9 runs 13 RBI 5 HR. Let that soak in…good?
*The team was outscored 22-9 in the series and now carries a negative run differential on the season scoring 132 runs while allowing 143 (-11). The Dbacks didn’t have a lead in the series until the 2nd inning of game 3 on Sunday.
UGLY: Starting Pitching. ugh. Here’s their line from the weekend series: 0-3 16 IP 25 H 15 ER 5 HR 5 BB 11 SO. Wade Miley gave the Dbacks the best chance of pulling out a win on Sunday but the offense couldn’t muster up 3 runs.
*The Diamondbacks allowed five -FIVE- homeruns on Friday night and seven all weekend. Respect is due to their opponent as the Cardinals are at or near the top in just about every single offensive category.
*J.J. Putz. This guy is strug-gling. My buddy was giving me a lot of crap for sticking up for Putz recently (he’s a Mets fan) reminding me of his time in New York and forewarning me of his future shenanigans. Well, I’m not quite ready to eat my words-see 162 games-, but he’s got me teetering. Putz came in on Sunday in a non-save situation (why?) and induced back to back groundball outs to start the ninth. And then it happened. 5 consecutive hits, 4 earned runs and homerun knocked Putz out before he could close out the ninth. Instead of the Dbacks scratching for 1 run in the bottom half of the ninth, they’d need 5 now. Perfect.
*Putz now has a 9.00 ERA. That’s 10 runs in 10 IP. He has given up 4 homeruns already. Want another comparison? Putz in 2011: 58 IP 14 ER 4 HR. Last year in May J.J. worked 13 innings giving up 0 earned runs, locking down 11 saves for the month. Lock it up Putz.
Finally, while I can’t realistically put this in the *GOOD* category, I have to mention Ian Kennedy’s start on Saturday. The team really needed their ace to right the ship and slow down the Cardinal offense. Unfortunately it didn’t happen and the damage was made before half of us even turned on the game. Two homeruns, including a second inning grand slam by Carlos Beltran put the Diamondbacks in a 6-0 deficit early on for the second consecutive night. But that’s not my point here. My point is that Kennedy didn’t exit after this lousy start. In fact, he cranked up his intensity and carried a bit of a chip on his shoulder the rest of the way. He retired the next 13 batters on his way to 7 innings of work. This shows a great deal of composure from the ace and also allowed a tiring bullpen to rest-at least for a couple more innings. All things that just don’t make a box score but are a positive sign for both Kennedy and the Diamondbacks.
Now bring on Giants!