After an 8-22 start, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 23-22, which says something for the tenacity of manager Kirk Gibson, and his players. They have already climbed out of a hole, fourteen games below .500, and it’s only just past the middle of June. Back in March, when I posted about the D-backs in a Know Your Enemy piece, I wrote that Kirk Gibson will not quit-that he will not give up. As goes Kirk Gibson, so go the D-backs.
The San Francisco Giants come into town on Friday to play three at Chase Field, and I do not expect anything but a showdown, between two teams that are both better than their record for the last ten games would seem to indicate.
The D-backs have won only three of the last ten, which would be terrible if it weren’t one better than the Giants who, after their three-game sweep of the New York Mets, ending on June 8th, have managed only one victory in the ensuing nine games. This, just after an amazing 31-11 stretch.
Take away the last ten, and the D-backs were 20-15 in their previous 35 games. That’s five games above .500, a phenomenal difference from their first 30 games of the season. So I do not take anything for granted, when it comes to trying to predict the outcome of the series.
Taking a look at the D-backs’ starting lineup, Miguel Montero, at catcher (.271, 10HR, 40 RBI’s), is second in big flies only to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (.308, 15HR, 52 RBI’s), who has ninety hits, including 27 doubles. Second baseman Aaron Hill (.245, 6HR, 34RBI’s), shortstop Chris Owings (.283, 6HR, 20RBI’s), and Martin Prado (.77, 3HR, 32RBI’s) round out the infield.
Mark Trumbo began the season in left field and had hit seven homers already, before he injured his left foot and was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to April 22nd. Since then, a familiar name, Cody Ross, has played a good deal of left, but he has only one home run and eight RBI’s in 48 games,
In center field A.J. Pollock’s (52G, 6HR, 15 RBI’s) fractured right hand, incurred May 31st, caused Gibson to have to mix it up, with Tony Campana (just sent back down to triple-A on June 18th), Ender Inciarte, David Peralta, and Gerardo Parra sharing time. Over in right Parra (.259, 5HR, 24 RBI’s) has played in 74 games, with Ross and Kieshnick also making appearances.
Our very own Roger Kieschnick, recently called up, has had fifteen at-bats, with a home run among his three hits, in six games with Arizona, while filling in at either center or right field.
Starting pitching includes Wade Miley (16 GS, 101.1 IP, 4.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP), Brandon McCarthy (15 GS, 92.0 IP, 5.18 ERA, 1.35 WHIP), Josh Collmenter (12 GS, 80.0 IP, 4.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) and Chase Anderson (7 GS, 39.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 1.21 WHIP). Bronson Arroyo was just placed on the disabled list on Tuesday for the first time in his career, for right elbow tendinitis, so Gibson will be looking to either Zeke Spruill or Mike Bolsinger to fill in for the injured starter.
Addison Reed (31 G, 4.15 ERA) is the closer for the D-backs, nailing down 16 saves in 18 opportunities. Brad Ziegler (40 G, 2.58 ERA), Joe Thatcher (32 G, 2.70 ERA), and Oliver Perez (31 G, 2.61) have a lot to do with the D-backs’ turnaround from the first thirty games of the season.
For the Giants, it is a one-game-at-a-time series. Confidence is everything and the Giants’ confidence has taken a hike. Potentially, this series can accomplish a lot for San Francisco, if the team can rally from the funk it is in, and get their game on.
Otherwise, we’re right where we were last year at this time, with Los Angeles making a run, and the Giants taking a back seat. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but the time to act is now. Playing catchup is not as much fun as leading the pack. Let’s hope the Giants figure that out.