The Diamondbacks returned to Miller Park in Milwaukee for the first time since being knocked out of the playoffs last fall in dramatic walk off fashion. The club didn’t fare much better this time around and again left the park with a bad taste in their mouth suffering another walk off loss. The Dbacks fell to .500 on the year at 39-39 and remain five games behind the first place Giants.
Record Notes: With the loss on Sunday, the team has now dropped four consecutive road series and hold a 19-22 record on the road overall. They finished their current road trip at 2-4 winning just one in each series against the Braves and Brewers.
*The team is now 13-2 in their last fifteen series-ending games after losing Sunday.
*As a whole, the month of June was good to the Diamondbacks as they improved their record from 23-29 on June 1st to 39-38 on the 30th- a 16-9 June record that allowed them go gain four whole games on the first place spot which also changed with the Dodgers falling to second place.
*The club also outscored their opponents 134-89 on the month giving them a +13 run differential on the season.
GOOD: Ian Kennedy got his first win against the Brewers in his last four attempts- including playoffs- and he pitched well in doing so. The right hander threw seven solid innings of work allowing 3 runs- 1 earned- while striking out seven and he did not allow a homerun for the first time in four starts. The two unearned runs came thanks to an errant throw by Kennedy with two outs in the sixth eventually allowing the two runners on to score. It was a nice win for Kennedy and one that allowed him to finish June at 2-2 after finishing May at a dismal 1-5.
*Of his six wins on the season, he has held his opponents homer-less in five of those- only on opening day did he record a win while allowing a homerun.
*Aaron Hill made history on Friday night posting his second cycle in eleven days and becoming only the second player since 1900 to record such a feat- the other was Babe Herman in 1931 with Brooklyn. Even more impressive is Hill had his second cycle by the sixth inning in just four at bats and his double in the first inning gave the 30 year old his 1,000 career hit. Hill continues to create havoc at the plate and has raised his season average to .300 after going 6 for 13 in the series. He is also up for vote to fill the final roster spot on the N.L. All-Star team. Cast your vote here- polls close Thursday.
*Josh Collmenter was given a second chance in the starting rotation on Sunday to face the Brewers- a team he has dominated over his career allowing just one earned run in 14 1/3 innings heading into his start yesterday. He certainly didn’t disappoint allowing just one earned run while scattering three hits over six innings of work. He didn’t issue a walk while striking out five Brewers. He has now allowed just two earned runs in his last 21 1/3 innings (.85 ERA). Whether or not Collmenter will be starting Friday night against the Dodgers is unknown but he has at least earned the consideration as he has been arguably the most consistent pitcher on the team since the start of May.
*Paul Goldschmidt finished Friday night just a triple short of the cycle on his way to his first career four hit night. The first baseman had a pair of doubles and a three run homerun in the effort. He had recorded five three hit nights in 2012 before capping off his perfect four hit night Friday.
BAD: RISP. The offense had a difficult time collecting hits with runners in scoring position all weekend and were 0 for 13 on Saturday and Sunday combined. Over the three game set the team was just 5 for 28 (.179) and the team certainly had opportunities to create some runs in the series but couldn’t capitalize.
*Strikeouts. The strikeout was out in full force for the Dbacks offense this weekend going down on strikes 35 times in the three games- including 16 in Saturday’s loss. In Saturday’s game 10 of their last 15 outs were via the strikeout and they recorded at least one strikeout in all nine innings. Sunday included nine strikeouts but the biggest of all came with the bases loaded in the seventh with -one would think- the exact hitter you would want up but Upton went down swinging to end the inning without a run.
*Justin Upton finished the series just 1 for 10 but did walk twice and steal a base. On the season he is 4 for 21 (.190) against the Brewers without an extra base hit and just two RBI’s. Again, the bases loaded strikeout killed a seventh inning rally and could have won the series for the team. It was the second consecutive bases loaded strikeout for Upton- the other came at Chase Field against while facing the Mariners. Still, Upton finished the month of June with a .333 average and an on base percentage of .396. If the 24 year old can find the power numbers we enjoyed last season, he may just be poised for another all-star caliber second half.
*Stephen Drew has just 2 hits in his first 15 at bats with five strikeouts since returning from the D.L. This is obviously nothing to worry about as he is surely working through some of the kinks in his swing as well as just getting comfortable being back in the big leagues playing more often. Expect a solid July from Drew as his swing evens out and he starts driving balls to the gap again for extra bases.
UGLY: Chris Young is again at the bottom of the breakdown as he finished the first two games of the series 0 for 8 with five strikeouts. His average has dropped to an unfortunate .214 and the center fielder has to be looking forward to the All-Star break to try to regroup for the second half grind. June was a struggle for Young as he finished with just 11 hits in 77 at bats while striking out 25 times. Young continues to struggle vs. right handed pitching and perhaps Gibson is going to start to play into that as he sat Young on Sunday to allow the left handed hitting Gerardo Parra in the lineup to face the right handed Gallardo. On the season he is batting a paltry .163 in 104 at bats against righties but .320 when facing lefties. Parra has hit righties at a .286 clip this season.
*Wade Miley was roughed up in what was his worst start as a major leaguer on Saturday giving up eight earned runs on three homeruns in just 3 2/3 innings. He had never given up more than one homerun in a start and had only given up one run in each of his last four starts before Saturday’s slip up. Considering Miley has been so good all season- and against teams of all levels- I wouldn’t read too much into this start. On Sunday, Miley was elected to his first All-Star team to be held in Kansas City next week.
*Baserunning. Technically the team was 2 of 3 in steal attempts this series but when Willie Bloomquist took off for second with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday it was a crucial situation- one in which Bloomquist was gunned down with room to spare- ending any threat the team may have been able to muster up. It was the eighth time this season Bloomquist has been caught stealing and the thirtieth time on the year as a team- worst in all of baseball. Their stealing percentage is a laughable 61%- also worst in the major leagues. Again, there’s a difference between being aggressive and just plain reckless and the Dbacks seem to be struggling with that line.
*Defense. The Diamondbacks defense has been excellent all season and they are first in the National League in fielding percentage but it failed them this weekend on a few occasions. The most obvious would be the throwing error in the ninth inning Sunday by Montero that ended up in center field allowing Parra a shot at Carlos Gomez heading to third on the play- but he proceeded to throw the ball in the dirt, it bounced off of Gomez’s back and into the stands allowing the winning run to score. The team had four errors in the series and now have seven errors in their last five games. Prior to these five games the team had committed just one error in their previous thirteen games including a stretch of seven consecutive games without an error.
NOTES: *The Diamondbacks hit a homerun for the 12th consecutive game on Sunday- a season high.
*Jason Kubel’s solo homerun in the eighth inning Sunday marked the second time on the six game road trip that his homerun provided the lone run for the team. He also hit a solo home run against the Braves on June 26th.
*The team heads home to Chase Field to play three against the San Diego Padres before finishing up the first half of the season against the L.A. Dodgers in a four game set over the weekend. Once again, the team is faced with a make-or-break series and we’ll have to wait and see how they respond.
Now bring on the Padres!!
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