Depth at the middle infield positions should help the Arizona Diamondbacks compensate for their second baseman’s struggles
After blowing a five run lead against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals, the Arizona Diamondbacks could ill afford to loose Friday.
After A.J. Pollock tripled to lead off the Arizona ninth inning, Washington field manager Dusty Baker elected to walk Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb intentionally. Next, Gregor Blanco flied out to shallow left. With the bases still loaded and one out, Brandon Drury came through with a walk off hit. The knock gave the Diamondbacks a huge 6-5 victory.
Maybe a big base hit will get Drury going.
There is no question the 24-year-old has struggled mightily in over the apst few weeks. After slashing .318/.370/.435 with a .805 OPS in April, Drury’s numbers have gotten progressively worse. The Grant Pass, Oregon native hit .273 and .272 in May and June. Even though his average dipped, Drury actually hit more home runs and drove in more runs.
However, July has been a different story. Entering Saturday’ home game with Washington, Drury had only collected 10 hits in 45 at-bats this month. The middle infielder is still walking at the same rate. But, he has not hit a ball out of the park and has just four RBIs. After striking out only 18 times in June, Drury has already struck out 11 times in July.
In addition, Drury is taking hittable fastballs. This is by far the most noticeable explanation for his struggles. It is also a disturbing trend. The former Atlanta Braves farm-hand looks hesitant and is either guessing wrong or just does not know what pitch to look for.
People forget he is only 24. With just 238 career games under his belt, Drury has not fully developed.
Unlike last year, the Diamondbacks are fighting for a playoff spot. As a result, everyday players need to produce. If Drury does not catch fire soon, he could see his playing time dip dramatically.
His walkoff hit Fridaynigth should energize Drury. After Friday’s heroics, field manager Torey Lovullo’s decision to sit Drury Saturday is a little puzzling.
If Drury continues to take hittable fastballs and walk away with non competitive at-bats, the Diamondbacks may have to make a change. At this point, Lovullo has plenty of options. Utility man Chris Owings has consistently hot this season. Also, since being recalled from Triple-A Reno, Ketel Marte has come through in big moments and played a strong shortstop.
Plus, Daniel Descalso can play all the infield position and has a knack for getting the job done when his team needs it. Though Nick Ahmed remains on the disabled list, the Diamondbacks have several options to pick up the slack.
Depth can allow Drury to sit for a few days, put extra work in the batting cage and reset mentally. If the Diamondbacks play in October, they will need everybody. So, even if Drury catches fire again, it is always better to have depth.
"Arizona Diamondbacks: Approaching and playing on an even keel"
It is presumably the same reason why general manager acquired J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers. It is no different in the infield.
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