The Diamondbacks squeaked out a victory on Thursday night in Atlanta to salvage the final game of the three game set against the Braves. The win was important nonetheless as it kept the team above the .500 mark at 38-37 and kept them just five games behind the surging San Francisco Giants who now own sole rights to first place in the N.L. West.
Record Notes: This series marked the third consecutive road series loss including a four game skid before Thursday’s victory. It was the team’s first win at Turner Field in their last six tries and they are now just 2-7 in their last nine games there dating back to 2010.
*It was the eighteenth time the team has been held to one or fewer runs on the year and seventh time in June alone.
GOOD: Bullpen. The bullpen has been sensational as of late and came through in a big way again this series. Granted, they only factored into one decision but with none of the starters pitching more than five innings, the relievers amassed a season high 14 1/3 innings over the three game set. It was the third straight series the bullpen worked at least 10 innings collectively. Still, they have allowed just three earned runs in their last 25 innings earning three wins and two saves over that stretch. Patrick Corbin made his first appearance since May 21st after being recalled on Monday and was lights out throwing three shutout innings while allowing just one hit.
*Josh Collmenter is really in a groove in his relief role and powered through another four innings of shutout ball on Monday after Daniel Hudson left with an injury. Hopefully that confidence will continue with him as he has been granted a start on Sunday against the Brewers. I am hoping this is a matter of the matchup more than anything as Collmenter has been lights out against the Brewers in his career allowing zero earned runs in 14 innings. With his outing against the Braves, the second year right hander now has an ERA of .63 in June and is averaging just over a strikeout an inning.
*When Justin Upton was benched on June 5-6 to let him regain some composure he called the move ‘unproductive.’ Well, it looks like the 24 year old has sure used those two days off to fuel some of his own production on the field. Upton was 5 for 10 against the Braves with two multi-hit games. Since the benching 18 games ago, Upton has 10 extra base hit efforts batting .377 with 12 runs and 13 RBI’s. He has raised his average to a season high .280. The one blip in his numbers for June has to be his base running. He has now been caught stealing four times in June alone while stealing just one base. In the Braves series he stole a base Tuesday and was caught stealing Wednesday.
BAD: Starting Pitching. None of the starters were able to work beyond five innings and in the first two contests, the Braves had a homerun by their leadoff man-Michael Bourn– and then Jason Heyward– their number two batter- to jump out to quick leads. In all they allowed 11 earned runs off three homeruns working just 10.2 innings between the three guys. Granted, Hudson left in the second with an injury, but not before the Braves were able to throw up five runs.
*Daniel Hudson wasn’t himself as he came off the DL at the end of May but until he signaled for Nagy and a trainer to make their way to the mound none of us knew the extent of the issue. You could read Hudson’s lips as he said, “my elbow is f**king done” and with that his 2012 campaign was finished and likely all of 2013 as well. He is to get a second opinion but the first MRI showed a 100% tear of his UCL- a ligament in his elbow that requires Tommy John surgery. It is a huge blow to the Diamondbacks as well as the 25 year old who won 16 games for the team in 2011 and is 23-13 since being acquired from the White Sox during the 2010 season. Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery and we’re able to see Hudson back on the hill for the Dbacks in the future. Let’s also be happy that Kevin Towers wasn’t able to ship out Joe Saunders just yet as we may need him for the long haul now.
*RISP. Sometimes too much may be read into this statistic- just ask the Yankees who are second to last in average with runners in scoring position but have the fourth most runs in the A.L. Either way, the Dbacks were just 2 for 20 in the Braves series and left nine runners in scoring position with two outs. On Tuesday they went through a three-inning period where they left a runner on third base each inning without plating a run.
*Ryan Roberts was just 1 for 8 in the series- albeit a three run homerun- but is just 5 for his last 29 (.172). He also hasn’t walked in 13 games. One encouraging sign is that he has only struck out twice in his 29 at bats leading one to believe that it is just a matter of time before his balls begin to fall for base hits. Let’s hope anyway.
UGLY: *Trevor Cahill struggled through his second straight start allowing six runs- four earned- in just five innings of work. The homerun he allowed to Jason Heyward- the second batter of the game- snapped a 20 inning scoreless streak on the road for Cahill. He was good until the fifth when it began to unravel as he walked three hitters and made a throwing error while trying to turn two. He has now allowed ten earned runs in his last eleven innings and the loss Tuesday snapped a four game winning streak, dropping him to 6-6 on the year.
*Stephen Drew was activated from the DL Tuesday after eleven months of rehab and in his second at bat of the season he recorded a ‘hustle double’ -ruled a single with error- that was encouraging to see as he never hesitated rounding first and diving into second. Drew will most likely play around four games a week for the time being as he has said he still doesn’t feel like he is 100%.
*The highly touted Trevor Bauer made his major league debut on Thursday and last four innings while allowing two earned runs on five scattered hits. He was pulled after 74 pitches as his pitch count was climbing with three walks and a hit batsmen. He also had thrown 50 pitches on Sunday with the Reno Aces before being pulled to prepare for Thursday’s start. He struck out three batters including the first batter he ever faced. See his pregame workout and the strikeout here.
*Chris Young mashed not one but two homeruns in the Braves series to end his Homerun Watch at 29 games including the go-ahead solo shot off closer Craig Kimbrel yesterday. I will start a Homerun Watch for Willie Bloomquist who hasn’t homered all season- a span of 231 at bats and 57 games. Let’s hope that is the turning point for CY moving forward and we can expect some production from center field again.
Now bring on the Brewers!!
Follow me on Twitter at @ndougherty313 and our team at @venomstrikes.