Arizona Diamondbacks: Trending in the right direction

Zack Greinke has set the tone for early team success. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Zack Greinke has set the tone for early team success. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Strong efforts in the mound and at the plate have powered recent success of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

There’s a comfortable trend detected with the Arizona Diamondbacks these days. While principals like to point to pitching and defense as prime catalysts for success, there is also phenomena at work.

While the obvious origin could be Zack Greinke and his recent run at success, the effect from the other side is equally compelling. That would come from the offense. The recent hot streaks from Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb bear testament to the residual effect players can have upon their teammates.

After Lamb was named the National League player-of-the-week ending May 21, and Goldschmidt’s .359 average in his last 29 games, other players seem to feed off their accomplishments and energy.

That is demonstrated in overall National League numbers.

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Coming into play Tuesday at home against the Chicago White Sox, the Diamondbacks were hitting .266 as a team and that’s good enough for second best in the league behind the Washington Nationals. At home, the team is hitting .295, one point behind the Nats and they top the NL in hits (424). The Colorado Rockies and Nats (415 each) just behind.

For one veteran player, the ability to bring several facets to play translates in the ability to win. Catcher Chris Iannetta, who is playing with his fourth major league team and in his 11th year of service, told Venom Strikes multiplicity is one key element to winning.

"The more you’re diverse you become, the more opportunities you have to win. This team combines several areas. There are some great hitters on this team and we also have speed to create problems for the other pitcher. You can have all the offense at but, in the end, it’s pitching and defense that wins."

Perhaps, but the residual effect and a direct filter through the pitching staff and the everyday line-up is telling. What seems to be an emerging aspect and facilitator toward success is the running game.

Coming into the play Tuesday, the Diamondbacks were second behind the Cincinnati Reds (46) in stolen bases. Picking spots for optimum success, A. J. Pollock, a principal table-setter, sets the tone. Though currently on the DL with a strained right groin, Pollock was hitting .299 and shares the team lead in stolen bases (11) with Goldschmidt.

From a pitching and hitting perspective, the effect through the lineup is common. That’s the observation of manager Torey Lovullo, who told Venom Strikes the nature of performances are tied together.

"All parts of the game are contagious. This reflects on the team and that’s what we do. For example, Greinke is locked in right now and all others follow suit."

More on Greinke

Greinke is drawing comparisons to his stellar season of two years ago. With the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 32-year-old went a blistering 19-3 and a 1.66 ERA.

In his last six starts this season, Greinke is 5-0 and a 2.55 ERA. He leads the National League in strikeouts (78) and that’s two more than the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.

Over his last six starts, Greinke recorded 58 strikeouts and that’s highest over a six-game span in his major-league career. His previous best as 54 in 2009.

Best home start

With a win over the White Sox Monday night, the Diamondbacks’ record reached 19-8 at home. That matches the club record through their opening 27 games in Chase Field. That number was also achieved in 1999, 2000 and 2008. The best mark in their first 28 games at home was 20-8 both in the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

And the winner is …

Ohio farmer and Diamondbacks’ reliever J. J, Hoover captured a cow milking contest before Tuesday’s game. In competition with Andrew Chafin and Archie Bradley, Hoover was able to draw about two ounces more than Bradley in the one-minute time event.

Afterward, Hoover told Venom Strikes that while winning was gratifying, the event brought attention to an important partnership between the Diamondbacks and a local dairy to promote nutrition and good health.

"It was nice to win and I’m happy to be part of this. But the cause was better. It’s important to do something good for the community."

"Arizona Diamondbacks: Greinke regaining old form"

Hoover, a farmer in the off-season, told Venom Strikes his current herd is that of beef cattle and hopes to diversify into dairy farming in the future.