What a series it was at Chase Field to start the new month. The Diamondbacks failed to plate a single run on Monday night against starter Christian Friedrich falling 4-0. It was the only the rookies sixth career start and he had the Dbacks off balance all night. This loss was deflating as a fan to watch but what would unfold over the next 48 hours would help the team forget about their performance on Monday. This series was filled with about as much off field drama as there was action on the field. All in all, a great time and hopefully a sign of things to come.
June 2, 2012; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Image: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Record Notes: With the Dbacks taking games two and three they won their second straight home series after dropping their first six and have won five of their last seven at home. They improved to 27-30 and remain in third place behind the Giants and Dodgers.
*The Rockies may be in fourth place in the N.L. West but when they shutout the Dbacks in Phoenix on Monday they had won seven of their last eight and were on a roll. Enter the Dbacks ace Ian Kennedy who always seems to be called on to pick the team back up- something he hadn’t really been able to do until Tuesday.
GOOD: Starting Pitching. For the third consecutive series the starting pitching was great. On Monday, Joe Saunders got hit around early-giving up three runs in the first two innings-but settled down to pitch into the seventh. Saunders continues to struggle to put together a complete start but does a great job of battling and burns through innings allowing the bullpen to rest. Still, with Kennedy and Miley throwing exceptionally well, it appears the starting rotation is back in control and this is evident in how the team has been playing lately.
*Ian Kennedy is rolling right now. The right hander tied a career high in strikeouts mowing down twelve Rockies through six innings of work on Tuesday. It was only the second time in Dbacks history a pitcher tallied 12 or more K’s in six innings. The other? Randy Johnson who did it twice. After losing five consecutive starts Kennedy has bounced back with two strong outings allowing just one earned run over his last 13 2/3 innings. He has also struck out seven or more hitters in three consecutive starts for the first time in his career.
*Wade Miley has come out of nowhere to make a serious name for himself in major league baseball. The rookie left hander is now tied with Yu Darvish for the major league lead in wins by a rookie (7) and has the lowest ERA of rookie starters by nearly a run (2.53). Miley worked eight innings of three hit ball on Wednesday to help the Dbacks win their second straight series. He didn’t allow a base runner until the fifth inning when he surrendered a double to Jason Giambi who would eventually score Colorado’s only run.
*Team Offense. Following their abysmal effort on Monday, the offense exploded for 16 runs over the next two games and posted a season high 17 hits in Tuesday’s 10-0 win. It was fun to watch guys up and down the lineup contributing and encouraging to see multiple guys getting hot at the same time. Jason Kubel, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt all tore up the Rockies’ pitchers. It was also nice to see A.J. Pollock make a spot start and be able to contribute with an RBI single and record his first career stolen base.
*Paul Goldschmidt is on an absolute tear right now. Quite the turn of events from what we were all saying about the second year player just four weeks ago. During the series he extended his career long hit streak to 14 games. He is hitting .451 with a .492 OBP, 11 runs, 5 homeruns, and 8 RBI’s during the streak and raised his season average to .288. In the Rockies series he was 4 for 8 with a homerun and three doubles. Play this kid every-single-day.
*Aaron Hill & Jason Kubel each finished a double away from the cycle on Tuesday and combined for nine hits in the series- seven of those for extra bases and knocked in eight runs. And this was with Kubel getting the day off on Wednesday- following a five RBI day-why? ‘You just never know around this place…’
BAD: RISP. It seems weird that after all of the positives this offense put forward during this series that they could still be struggling here but they were just 7 for 31(.226) with runners in scoring position. This was punctuated by an 0 for 8 effort in Monday’s shutout but the offense did have three 2-out RBI’s in Wednesday’s finale.
*Miguel Montero is quietly going through a little slump and is now 7 for his last 35 (.200) with three extra base hits. He was just 1 for 7 against the Rockies and is 4 for 17 in June. While he has allowed a few stolen bases in the last two series, he still has the best ‘stolen base percentage against’ in the N.L. with a .486- he is the only catcher in all of baseball to have more runners ‘caught stealing’ than stolen bases allowed.
UGLY: Chris Young continues to struggle to find his swing that had him on such a tear before heading to the DL. Since coming off the disabled list he is just 8 for 52 (.154) with no homeruns and two doubles. He has been held hitless in five of his last six games. In the series he was just 2 for 9 with a run scored and one RBI. He did contribute four walks as well which means he is still having good at bats at least part of the time.
*Opening Games of Series. This is a bit of an enigma at this point. In the last eight series openers the Diamondbacks are 1-7. They’ve been held to one run or fewer in six of those eight games and were outscored 41-13. Something is happening with this team in the first games lately that clearly shows they’re unprepared and lacking in energy.
NOTES: At 27-30 it is the closest the Dbacks have been to .500 since May 11th when they were 15-18.
*When Friedrich and his bullpen completed the 4-0 shutout on Monday it was the first time the team was shutout all year. It was the first time being shutout at home since September 6th, 2010.
*Just about everyone knows by now, but Upton was benched both Tuesday and Wednesday to allow him to ‘find himself’ and to hopefully get him on a roll. The slugger has been struggling mightily lately but seems to have taken the move professionally and sounds as if he just found a little extra motivation to produce for the organization.
*On that same note, general managing partner Ken Kendrick sounded off on XTRA 910 AM before Tuesday’s game calling out both Upton and Stephen Drew stating he was disappointed with the team’s performance thus far. Personally, this type of passion is nice to see an owner and hopefully is the spark the team needed to string together some wins. You can read the transcripts for his interview here….
*Saturday’s matchup at Chase Field includes Trevor Cahill and Jarrod Parker. The two were traded for each other in the offseason and are both coming off their best starts of the young season with Cahill throwing a complete game shutout and Parker taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers.
Now bring on the A’s!!
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