As the Diamondbacks arrived in Phoenix last night following their second straight extra inning victory against the San Francisco Giants the team as a whole had plenty to be excited about. Despite blowing late leads in each of the final three games they were able to battle back and leave with a series win thanks to some clutch at bats by unlikely players.
Arizona Diamondbacks shortstopDidi Gregorius
(1) attempts to turn a double play against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at AT&T Park. USA Today Image: Ed Szczepanski.
Still, the club managed just a 4-5 record on the trip playing in Yankee stadium, Coors Field and AT&T Park. Certainly nothing to be concerned with and you could argue that they should have gone at least 6-3 had their bullpen been able to close the door in the eighth and ninth innings as expected.
In five of the nine games the offense was only able to plate three or fewer runs and it took twelve innings against the Yankees before they scored more than two. The offense did face some great pitching along the way in C.C. Sabathia, Matt Cain and Jhoulys Chacin, all three aces for their opponents.
Record Notes: The team improved to 12-9 on the season, just half a game behind the Giants and two behind the first place Rockies.
*During their road trip there were five one run games, a pair of two run games and three extra inning games.
*They are now 5-0 in extra inning affairs this season.
*Wednesday marked their seventh consecutive win in a series finale.
GOOD: Didi Gregorius is making quite a mark with his new club thus far already hitting two homeruns and four doubles in just twenty at bats to sport a .400 average. He added a pair of doubles in Wednesday’s win including this hustle double that would lead to the go ahead run in the ninth. He also had a one out double in the 11th inning on Tuesday and scored the winning run on a wild pitch two batters later.
*Starting Pitching. It’s hard to argue that the starting rotation did anything but give their club the best opportunity for a victory in each of these three games. Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin and Ian Kennedy all recorded quality starts lasting into the seventh or eighth in each without surrendering a home run. It marks just the second series of the seven played that the starting rotation did not allow a long ball. And despite all three of them leaving with the lead, they all were left with no decisions because inefficiencies with the bullpen.
*Paul Goldschmidt added four walks and three more hits to his season total including a double and home run on Tuesday with three RBI’s. More impressive is his line at AT&T Park over his career with 5 HR, 17 RBI’s, 13 walks and a .349 average in just 18 games. And he didn’t even face Lincecum this time around.
BAD: Miguel Montero is confident that his offensive struggles will end soon enough but that was not the case in San Fran this week as he was just 2-13 dropping his average to a dangerously low .194 with a slugging even worse at .264. The catcher hasn’t recorded a multi-hit game since April 7th and has just one home run on the season.
*Martin Prado is also in an offensive rut this April and he continued his slide straight through the Giants series finishing 2-14 with a walk and three runs scored. His average has plummeted to just .229 on the season. Prado has now failed to record a multi-hit game in 12 straight contests and has extended the longest streak of his career without a double to 17 games.
*Gerardo Parra deserves a mention here not for his offense per se but because he is absolutely god awful on the base paths. I seriously believe he may be the worst base runner in baseball. I remember a season or so ago hearing one analyst say Parra was potentially one of the fastest players in baseball with no idea how to use it on the base paths. I’m on board with that statement 100%. Parra was caught stealing by Buster Posey on both Tuesday and Wednesday night and frankly neither of them were even close. The good news? Parra is clutch at the plate and plays a heck of an outfield.
UGLY: Bullpen. This little part of the Diamondbacks games in the Giants series was hard to believe really. Not once, not twice, but three straight games did the bullpen fail to close out a ball game that the starter had left to them in good standing.
On Monday it was David Hernandez who gave up a dead center two run bomb to Buster Posey that tied it at four in the eighth. Lefty Tony Sipp didn’t fare any better in the ninth allowing a lead off single and eventually a walk off single to Brandon Belt.
Wednesday David Hernandez was again called upon to shut down the Giants and once again he failed to do so surrendering a ninth inning home run to Brandon Crawford with one out sending the game into extras for a second straight night.
Yes, the bullpen did work 8 1/3 innings in all over the three game set which is a hefty load but that number could have been somewhere in the 5 1/3 range if all went as planned.They’ll need Hernandez to start locating better and Putz to figure out his splitter if they expect to be as dangerous of a 1-2 punch as we all expected.
NOTES: The D’backs lead all of Major League Baseball with seven blown saves. Three for Putz, two for Hernandez and two for Sipp.
The Diamondbacks begin a four game set against the Colorado Rockies Thursday night with a chance to take over first place in the division. Trevor Cahill takes the hill on Thursday looking for his first win of the year.
Now bring on the Rockies!
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