The Diamondbacks have found their groove at home once again and in a big way. With their six-game home stand wrapping up Sunday the team pounded out a total of 74 hits and 51 runs in the friendly confines of Chase Field. That’s an average of 8.5 runs and 12 hits a game. Nothing to scoff at considering at the start of their home stand they hadn’t scored in 21 consecutive innings. The Cubs and Mariners were a nice confidence builder before the club heads to the east coast and we thank them for that.
Record Notes: With the series sweep, the Diamondbacks improved to 37-35. It is the first time they sit two games over .500 since they were 13-11 on May 1st. They have swept two of the last three visitors to Chase Field and finished their second straight homestand at 5-1. They are now 13-3 in their last 16 home games scoring an average just short of eight runs a game. With a 14-7 record, the Dbacks hold the best record in the National League in the month of June and have cut the division race to 5.5 games.
GOOD: Team Offense. This offense has been absolutely on fire over the last week. But compared to who you ask? Well- in the last seven days the Dbacks are first in runs, triples, homeruns, RBI’s, team average and OPS in all of baseball. They lead the majors in nearly every one of these stats for the entire month of June as well (the A’s have scored one more run than the Dbacks to date). Pretty incredible when considering the team was shutout in four of their twenty-one games in June.
Notable Players: Nearly all players helped contribute to the weekend sweep but Jason Kubel, Paul Goldschmidt, and Aaron Hill continue to hit the ball very well. Add in five hits each from Miguel Montero and Willie Bloomquist and six hits from a surging Justin Upton and the 1-6 hitters batted a smooth .400 for the series.
*Wade Miley completed his fourth straight start going at least seven innings while allowing just one earned run. He collected his ninth victory tying him with Yu Darvish among all rookies in the big leagues. His ERA is actually getting lower and now sits at 2.19 on the year. He is tied for the third best ERA in the game and has an all-star worthy ERA in June of 1.89.
What has made Miley so impressive to this point is his ability to minimize damage. With no one on, hitters are batting .239; with runners on they’re hitting .182; and with runners in scoring position Miley has held opposing hitters to an impressive .145 average. Also causing problems for opposing managers when filling out their lineup card has been Miley’s success when facing right handed hitters as he’s held them to an average of just .204- nearly 45 points lower than that of left handed hitters.
*Bullpen. The bullpen was probably the MVP of this series if there was one to give out. They battled through 10 2/3 innings without allowing a single earned run over the weekend and striking out 11 on their way to two victories and one save. You could argue that Josh Collmenter’s start could be considered ‘bullpen’ work but his four innings on Friday in place of the injured Joe Saunders was a spot start. Still, Collmenter was again excellent allowing just one earned run over four innings. Since moving to the bullpen, Collmenter sports a 1.62 ERA and has walked just five batters while striking out 24 in his 22 2/3 innings of relief work.
BAD. Ian Kennedy struggled through 4 1/3 innings of work on Saturday giving up ten hits and five earned runs while striking out just two. It took the floundering ace 108 pitches to get into the fifth inning and watched a 7-2 lead slowly disappear before being pulled with one out in the fifth. He has now allowed 26 hits and 13 earned runs in his last 18 innings pitched (6.50 ERA).
*Base Stealing. They haven’t been stealing many bases as of late with their recent offensive explosion but Upton was AGAIN picked off from first and was caught stealing for the sixth time this year. The team continues to sit in the basement in stolen base percentage at 62% and Upton continues to look lackadaisical on the base paths.
UGLY. Chris Young unfortunately takes the cake in this category again as he was just 1 for 9 with five strikeouts in the Cubs series before being given a day off Sunday. He is 2 for his last 19 with zero walks and his OPS in June is an abysmal .460. His last four hits have been doubles and he is hitting at a .141 clip in June. Personally- as I’ve mentioned before- I think they should remove Young from the lineup. He is not helping the team and Gerardo Parra can step in at any time and play center field at a very high level. I do remember how poorly Goldie was hitting through April (.198) and there were times when I probably said the same thing, but bear in mind that Young is a .236 career hitter. Center field has taken over the spot from third base with the least amount of production over the last six weeks.
*Ryan Roberts was just 2 for 12 against the Cubs and is now 4 for his last 21 (.190). His OBP for the season is below .300 (.288) and his average is hovering around .240. While personally it’d be nice to have both of these players stay with Arizona through the season and beyond- business would say otherwise and frankly, these two are not producing.
NOTES: With an attendance of 38,542 on Saturday, the club surpassed the million mark- six games earlier than in 2011.
*Upton did not strike out in the Cubs series. It is only the third series all season in which he did not record a strikeout and the first since the Brewers were in town from May 25-27th.
*Chris Young Homerun Watch officially takes over for Upton now and he currently sits at 29 games without a ding dong. He also hasn’t recorded an RBI in 14 games. C’mon CY let’s have one!!
*The Dbacks travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves Tuesday. Stephen Drew is expected to join the team on Wednesday after missing the last 11 months due to his ankle injury. The Braves are 4-6 in their last ten and have lost two straight.
Now bring on the Braves!!
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