Arizona Diamondbacks: Offense comes up with more big innings
By Mark Brown
The offense of the Arizona Diamondbacks continues to bunch runs together.
The recent mantra of manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks is to have his starters go as hard and as far as possible. Hand matters off to the bullpen, and let the offense do its thing.
That plan has worked in recent weeks, and there was no reason for Lovullo to change course. In tapping Randall Delgado as a spot starter Wednesday afternoon in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox, Lovullo made sure his bullpen was rested and ready to pick up Delgado. After all, Delgado was summoned from the bullpen where he is usually limited to one inning or two, at best.
Against the Sox, Delgado was stretched out and after 61 pitches and four innings, he turned matters over the bullpen. In the subsequent five innings, Andrew Chafin, Tom Wilhelmsen, Jorge De La Rosa, J. J. Hoover and Fernando Rodney has a few hiccups, but nothing the offense could not address.
Another productive effort from the bullpen and a lethal power attack in the middle innings against Sox starter Jose Quintana lifted the Diamondbacks to an 8-6 triumph before 18.002 in Chase Field Wednesday afternoon. The victory capped a three-sweep of the White Sox and left the Diamondbacks with 21-8 home record.
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Now with a season mark of 29-19, the 10 games over .500 is the first time the Diamondbacks are in double digits over .500 since the end of the 2011 season. At that point, they were 94-68. As well, Arizona has captured eight of their last nine games and 11 of their past 14 contests.
Aside from the bullpen steeping up its collective game, one clear reality has developed. The Diamondbacks are one team capable of scoring in bunches and quickly upsetting the balance and composition of any game. Afterward, Lovullo identified to Venom Strikes the one characteristic which currently describes his offense.
"I would say, explosive. The players are rallying around the moment and the results show all the hard work each has committed. Plus, we’re earning that reputation to be a tough team at home."
Over the past few weeks, the Diamondbacks’ offense has shown the ability to score in clusters. Around the clubhouse, players and Lovullo say a principal reason for such explosions is the ability link at-bats together. Jake Lamb, whose two-run homer in the sixth tied the game and then opened the door for a six-run frame, told Venom Strikes there is no secret to the club’s success
"Guys are putting quality at-bats together. We’re wearing pitches down and when that happens, we capitalize. For me, I’m happy where I am, mentally and right now, I’m in a good spot."
After Quintana retired the first 10 hitters he faced, the Diamondbacks then reached the Sox starter for a pair of runs in the fourth and then pointed the lefty to the showers with that six-spot in the fifth.
After Lamb’s 13th of the season tied the game in the fifth, the Diamondbacks broke this open. The key production in the fifth inning was a two-run single from Nick Ahmed, a sacrifice fly from Chris Owings and a RBI single by Brandon Drury.
The Diamondbacks now embark on an 11-game road trip to Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Miami.
First stop is Miller Park and lefty Robbie Ray (3-3, 3.91 ERA) opens the trip on Thursday night. Ray draws righty Zack Davies (5-2, 5.44) as his mound opponent.
On Friday night, look for Zack Godley (1-1, 2.45) to take on right-hander Junior Guerra (0-0. 6.00). On Saturday, Zack Greinke (6-2, 2.82) opposes former Diamondback Chase Anderson (2-1, 4.25). For the Sunday series finale, it’s lefty Patrick Corbin (4-4, 4.40) taking on righty Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 4.20).
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Then, it’s on to Pittsburgh for three and Miami for four. The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field on Tuesday, June 9 and face the San Diego Padres.