The Diamondbacks won their second straight series by taking two of three against the Colorado Rockies. Again, the offense was clicking and the pitching was on point most of the series. Even with the Rockies being 20+ games under .500 these games are still valuable to a squad trying to find their groove any way they can. A win- is a win- is a win.
Record Notes: The Dbacks took the first two games before falling last night in the finale- evening their record at 49-49. They remain six games behind the first place Giants and own a 28-22 record while at Chase Field. The Dbacks are now 21-8 at home in their last 29- tied for the most wins at home in major league baseball during that span. They have four more games at home facing the Mets before heading back out on the road.
Transactions: While the team had made moves during the Astros series, there were two moves during the Rockies series that were worth noting- one that created quite a storm among the fans. The first came with news that minor league right hander Barry Enright had been traded to the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later and cash considerations. Enright was 8-6 with a 5.87 ERA with the Reno Aces this summer.
Ryan Roberts has been a touchy name around Dbacks fans all season as the third baseman has struggled to find consistency at the plate flirting with a low .200 average with little pop and actually lost his starting position at one point. Interestingly, at a point when Roberts had raised his average over .250 (he hit .249 in 2011) and his OBP over .300- the Dbacks moved the fan favorite to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for AA infielder Tyler Bortnick. The move seemed as much like a ‘change of scenery’ move as anything as Bortnick was a 16th round pick and hitting just .253 with 4 homeruns in the minors this year. Described as a younger Roberts, Bortnick will report to AAA Reno to begin play as a Diamondback this week. Upside with Bortnick is he appears to be speedy (23 steals in 26 attempts) and a gap hitter with 18 doubles and 8 triples through 95 games. There will be a lot of scrutiny over this move for quite a while as Roberts won the fans over with his passion for the game and an energy that would spark plug the Dbacks whenever he was in the lineup. Hear some nice words on Roberts from Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson here.
GOOD: Ian Kennedy put together another eight inning performance holding the Rockies offense to just five hits while striking out seven. It was his second consecutive start working eight innings and he has pitched 7+ innings in four of his last five starts. The righty has been exceptionally good facing the Rockies this season striking out 19 batters in fourteen innings while allowing just one walk and two earned runs. Again, the longer the team’s ace is pitching in the game- the better off this club will be. Look for Kennedy to be locked in for much of the second half as the Dbacks try to make a run at the playoffs.
*Joe Saunders put together his sixth straight quality start on Tuesday hurling seven strong innings allowing two runs on just three hits. Unfortunately the two runs were both solo homeruns but Saunders did have his highest strikeout total of the season with nine. He has now pitching 6+ innings in six straight starts.
*Miguel Montero dominated Rockies pitchers in this series finishing 7 for 10 with a homerun and three RBI’s. Even better is he recorded zero strikeouts all series and is currently riding his longest streak of the season without a strikeout at 18 at bats (please don’t jinx him).
*Chris Young looks like he is becoming more patient at the plate and may have found that ‘gap’ swing that Dbacks fans grew to love. The center fielder had three hits including his fourth homerun in July and walked three times. From June 10- July 4th Chris Young recorded just three walks in 70 at bats- very uncharacteristic for him and he watched his average plummet from .273 to .206 in that span- most likely pressing and being overaggressive as a result. Since the Fourth of July CY has walked 10 times in 41 at bats and has reached base safely in nine of his last ten games where he is batting .323 over that span. His four homeruns in July double his total from May and June combined.
BAD: Trevor Cahill didn’t pitch horribly but for the 17th time in 20 starts the right hander surrendered a first inning run. He would eventually allow four earned runs on eight hits while walking a pair in the loss on Wednesday. From June 15th when Cahill contributed his best outing of the season throwing seven shutout innings against the Angels he has watched his ERA rise from an impressive 3.08 to an unimpressive 3.86 currently. Cahill is going to need to regain his composure that made him so good during June or we’re going to start hearing cries about the Jarrod Parker trade real soon.
UGLY: Mike Zagurski had been pitching better as of late although really it is no surprise when he has a poor outing on any given night. Monday was no different as the overweight lefty came in for the ninth inning and immediately surrendered a solo homerun and walked the second batter he faced. That was all Gibby needed to see as they were clinging to a three run lead and needed to win game one of the series. It really is amazing how many more opportunities a left handed pitcher gets just because he is lefty.
Clearly with the team winning five of six and scoring at least six runs in sixth straight affairs there aren’t a whole lot of negatives to report on. The starting pitching as well as the relievers – as a whole- have been pitching well enough to not only keep them in games but to win games. It will be important to keep that energy flowing into their four game set against the floundering Mets.
The Mets have now dropped 11 of 12 since the All Star break and have been swept in two straight series. Worth mentioning before we get too excited about sweeping a horrible team is their opponents during the skid: Braves (10 games over .500), Nationals (19 games over .500), Dodgers (7 games over .500), and the Nationals again. There will be nothing easy about this series but still a great chance to take advantage of team while they’re down.
NOTES: *Montero played in his 538th game as a catcher for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday passing Chris Synder for the most games behind the plate in franchise history. Not to take a shot at Snyder, but for the record he is hitting .181 in 50 games this season- be happy we locked up Montero for a few years.
*Justin Upton only recorded one hit in the series but walked SIX times, scored four runs and recorded a stolen base. He struck out Wednesday for the first time in 24 at bats and has now walked nine times in his last five games. Welcome to the Five hole J-Up.
*Fast Willie Bloomquist Homerun Watch continues at 73 games and 302 at bats although we did have our biggest scare of the season on Tuesday. He also recorded his fifth straight multi-hit game on Monday night before settling for ‘only’ one hit on Tuesday.
*The team was not get caught stealing for the first time in three series and pulled off three successful attempts.
Now bring on the Metropolitans!!!
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