The Arizona Diamondbacks accomplished exactly what they had hoped to beginning a ten game home stand at Chase Field completing a three game sweep of the Houston Astros. Now we’ve all grown very accustomed to the Dbacks beating bad teams- and the Astros are surely that- but it was nice to see the team pound the visiting team in each of the three games over the weekend. There were also some interesting roster moves that occurred over the weekend that will be fun to watch as they play out over the final months of the season.
Record Notes: With their win on Sunday, the Dbacks improved to 47-48 overall and 26-21 at home. They trail the first place Giants by six games and the final wild card spot by five games. They look to get back to .500 tonight against the Rockies for the first time since July 1st when they were 39-39.
Transactions: Moves were made over the weekend, some surprising-some not, but either way the team activated third base prospect Ryan Wheeler before Friday’s game after releasing injured Geoff Blum earlier that day. The 39 year old Blum had been placed on the 60 day DL early on in April and hadn’t played in a game since April 16th. The team also designated reliever Bryan Shaw to Reno and activated recently acquired right hander Brad Bergeson. This move was a little surprising although Gibson’s recent public statement about his displeasure with Shaw last week may have been a clue of things to come. Bergeson is expected to fill the role of Josh Collmenter as a long relief guy while Collmenter fills out the final spot in the rotation. Lastly, the team was finally able to activate their veteran reliever Takashi Saito from the DL after the righty spent nearly four months on the disabled list with a leg injury. Jonathan Albaladejo was redesignated to Reno to make room for Saito.
GOOD: Team Offense. This was about as much offense as you could ask for over the weekend as they scored 33 runs on 40 hits over the three game set. Everyone on the club was able to contribute in some context throughout the series and even more impressive was their efficiency with runners in scoring position as they finished 19-39 (.487). Over their last seven games the offense has posted a RISP average of .429.
*Jason Kubel is locked in right now and for the second consecutive month has now recorded at least 20 RBI’s. Despite finishing 0 for 4 with 3 K’s on Friday, the right fielder finished the final two games 6 for 9 with four homeruns, one triple, seven RBI’s and five runs scored. The 10 homeruns for July are a career high for Kubel in one month. He leads the National League in RBI’s with 71 and collected his 500th career RBI over the weekend.
*Aaron Hill is nearly as hot as Kubel right now riding a 13 game hit streak into their series with Rockies tonight. He finished 5-11 on the weekend with five runs scored and also played in his 1,000 career regular season game. The second baseman leads all N.L. second basemen in hits, AVG, HR, SLG, and OPS. And, no- he did not make the All-Star game.
*Starting Pitching. The starters each pitched well over the weekend with Wade Miley contributing the best outing hurling seven innings and allowing just one earned run. He struck out a career high nine batters en route to his eleventh win. Miley now sports the second lowest ERA among major league rookies (3.02) and is tied for the lead in wins. Trevor Cahill was good enough to win but possibly only because the team exploded for 13 runs as he failed to make it out of the sixth inning for the second straight start and for the fifth time in his last six starts. Collmenter continued his resurgence with the team and is now 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in July through three starts and one [long] relief appearance.
BAD: In a series sweep with an incredible amount of offense- regardless of the opponent- there aren’t a whole lot of negative points but Bryan Shaw’s appearance on Friday was his second straight appearance where he was unable to get his job done. In his one inning of work the right hander allowed three hits including a three run homerun by third baseman Scott Moore in the ninth inning. The 24 year old Shaw got the news on Saturday and will spend at least a couple weeks in Reno to work on his mechanics.
UGLY: Baserunning. Awful. Horrible. Ugly. It is pretty amazing that this pathetic baserunning continues to occur with this ballclub. This time the culprit is Gerardo Parra who was caught stealing on three occassions over the weekend- two of those were pickoffs coming Sunday while leading off first base where Parra was just plain fooled. The Dbacks have been caught stealing more than any other team in the Major Leagues (37) and hold a 61% success rate where, in all of baseball only two teams have a worse success rate- the Orioles and Pirates for reference in case you didn’t believe someone could be worse than that.
*Defense: Errors. The defense committed three more errors in the series after committing three against the Reds in their last series. Luckily they were playing the inept Astros or they may have made more of an impact. Still, the infield was able to turn four double plays on Sunday and five overall on the weekend.
NOTES: On Friday, Stephen Drewrecorded his first three RBI game since June 3rd, 2011.
*The offense batted around in both the fifth and seventh innings on Friday. It was the first time they batted around twice in one game all season. They also knocked in seven runs in the sixth inning Sunday- the most in one inning all year.
*With his two run single with the bases loaded on Friday, Miguel Montero is now 5 for 7 with a double, homerun and 14 RBI’s this season with the bases loaded.
*Justin Upton Homerun Watch ended on Friday with an opposite field homerun. He had gone the previous 21 games without going yard.
*Willie Bloomquist Homerun Watch continues at 70 games and 289 at bats. Unfortunately, with Drew returning to the lineup Fast Willie’s at bats are slowing disappearing but the shortstop still contributed in his only game over the weekend going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s. It was his fourth consecutive multi-hit game.
*Ryan Roberts is now 4 for his last 5 in pinch hit at bats with his single Sunday. He also raised his average and on base percentages over .250 and .300 respectively for the first time all season.
The Rockies come to town for a three game set beginning tonight with Ian Kennedy hoping to get his record back to .500 for the first time since he was 5-5 on June 5th– a span of seven starts. He will face recently acquired starter Jonathan Sanchez who is 1-6 on the year and making his first start as a Rockie. The Rockies are 16-29 on the road as they come to Chase Field.
Now bring on the Rockies!!!
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