The numbers may have looked a little odd last week, as the Diamondbacks were among the league leaders in home runs and runs scored, but were near the bottom of the National League West. Unfortunately, most of us are aware that the number of blown saves offset those numbers just a bit. This week, the stars and numbers seemed to be in alignment as the D-backs won four of five to bring them back to above .500 baseball. The team’s success can be attributed to the excellent run support that they have been generating in addition to some better relief.
The relief staff seems to be getting better and has had its moments of uncertainty where the pitching loses a solid lead, but this team is not like last year’s. The offense has been able to bounce back more often than not with additional runs throughout the game. Just a week ago, analysts were talking about the lack of runs scored in the later innings. This doesn’t seem to be a topic of concern for the team, as the Diamondbacks have been pummeling opposing pitching throughout the games.
In a challenging home stand against the Phillies, the D-backs were able to win two of the three games in the series and did the same against the Rockies. Winning match-ups against the defending National League Champion and the NL West Wild Card teams should definitely help boost some confidence. Additionally, the team beat the Cubs in the first of a five-game series in Chicago. The Cubs began the season playing good baseball and were among the favorites to lead the National League Central. The Chicago series will continue through the weekend.
Kelly Johnson and Mark Reynolds are among the current league leaders in home runs and RBI. Chris Young and Adam LaRoche also accompany their teammates in the RBI leader category, as the team leads the league in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage. Reynolds, who had an outstanding week last week, was named the Player of the Week for the National League. Johnson already is hitting better than he did last season, boasting more homers and RBI than he did in all of 2009. There is no doubt that the team has some power as they hope to stay on top of their game.
After the weekend, the D-backs will continue their road trip, heading to Houston to face the Astros for four games before returning to Phoenix. Winning games on the road is huge for any team, but winning games at home is just as important. Plan early to get out to Chase Field, as the D-backs will have a six-game home stand upon their return.
Last week’s games
04/23 — D-backs 7, Phillies 4
04/24 — Phillies 3, D-backs 2
04/25 — D-backs 8, Phillies 6
04/26 — D-backs 5, Rockies 3
04/27 — Rockies 12, D-backs 1
04/28 — D-backs 12, Rockies 11 (10 innings)
04/29 — D-backs 13, Cubs 5
This week’s games
04/30 — D-backs @ Cubs, 11:20 a.m., Fox Sports Arizona/MLB Network
05/01 — D-backs @ Cubs, 10:05 a.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/02 — D-backs @ Cubs, 11:20 a.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/03 — D-backs @ Astros, 5:05 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/04 — D-backs @ Astros, 5:05 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/05 — D-backs @ Astros, 5:05 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/06 — D-backs @ Astros, 5:05 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
Previous week’s games
4/22/10 SUNS 108, Blazers 89
4/24/10 Blazers 96, SUNS 87
4/26/10 SUNS 107, Blazers 88
Upcoming week’s games
4/29/10 SUNS @ Blazers, 7:30 p.m., My45, TNT
5/1/10 SUNS vs Blazers, time TBA, Fox Sports Arizona, TNT (if necessary)
With game six tipping off at 7:30 tonight at the Rose Garden in Portland between the Suns and Portland Trailblazers, Suns Spot sheds some light on what we can expect to see once the ball drops.
1. The Rose Garden crowd will be insane.
From the opening tip, the crowd will be loud. Portland fans will be pumped up, as they try and will their team to a victory to force a game seven in Phoenix. The key for the Suns is to get off to a quick start and take the fans out of the game early. As loud as the fans in Portland support their team, we know they can just as quickly turn on the Trailblazers. We saw it in game three when the Suns came out the gate firing on all cylinders. If the Suns can open the game with a good start, they can easily take the crowd out of it and in doing so rip the heart out of Rip City.
2. Steve Nash will push the tempo.
So far, the first five games of this best-of-seven series have shown us that the Suns can destroy the Trailblazers when they want to. To do so, Phoenix simply has to force the Blazers to play their style of basketball. When the Suns push the tempo, Portland just can’t keep up. Even with a healthy Brandon Roy, the Blazers won’t have the scoring to keep pace with the Suns, so how can Portland expect to do so with the clearly injured and about 25 steps slow version of Roy they are currently suiting up? They just can’t.
Steve Nash is the engine that makes the Suns’ high-octane offensive machine run. When Nash is able to get the ball out in the open court and get the Suns up and down, taking the first good look the Suns get early in the shot clock, Phoenix runs Portland out of the building. Expect to see this tonight. Nash knows how important this game is. To avoid having to play Portland in a winner-take-series game seven, Nash will be determined to make sure the Suns come out and force their will on the Blazers.
3. Amar’e will be huge.
Since the All-Star break, Amar’e Stoudemire has been on fire. Although his scoring numbers haven’t been quite as explosive in the playoffs as they were during the second half of the season, the amount of attention he receives from the defense has opened things up for Phoenix’s shooters. Stoudemire will need to continue to be aggressive tonight to free up open looks for his teammates. Stoudemire’s offensive numbers don’t need to be overly impressive for him to have a huge impact. If he plays smart, he’ll be big tonight.
If these three things happen tonight — the Portland crowd quickly quieting, Steve Nash forcing the tempo and Amar’e bringing maximum effort — the Suns will win and close out the series. We have seen it before. If the Suns play like we know they’re capable of playing, Portland can’t hang. However, if Phoenix lets Portland dictate the pace, then we’re in for a dog fight. Tonight I believe we’ll see the former rather than the latter. Fingers crossed.
Note: If you’re planning on watching the game at your favorite Downtown Phoenix spot, get there early! Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.
From the Arizona Room is a weekly column examining the historic, reuse and infill structures in Downtown Phoenix. The inspiration for this column stems from the ever-expanding resources in Burton Barr Central Library’s Arizona Room (located on the fourth floor). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.
1015 W. Woodland Ave. in the Woodland Historic District
Just off the southern entry point of Grand Avenue is the humble Woodland Historic District, centered around the palm-lined Woodland Parkway on Van Buren Street. This historic district, often left unmentioned amongst its counterparts, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Phoenix, and still radiates charm and architectural significance.
On Woodland Avenue between 10th and 11th avenues sits one of Phoenix’s oldest remaining single-family homes, the Eyrich-Kohl House. Simplistic in its design, it tells a story of Phoenix’s early residents and their lifestyle.
Built in 1885, the home is brick with stucco wall sheathing and a stone foundation. Vernacular cottage style, it is a fine example of an early brick masonry building. The truncated roof with asphalt shingles may not be unique in this neighborhood, but it displays the building style of the era. The exterior has been quite altered over the years (after all, the building turns 125 this year), including several new doors, reapplied stucco and work on the roof and foundation.
But, who were Eyrich and Kohl, you ask?
Eyrich, a German pioneer, came to Arizona in 1875, and lived in the house from its completion in 1885 until 1916. A man of many talents, he was a cavalryman, “Indian fighter,” prospector, miner, hotel and café employee and proprietor. The 1912 city of Phoenix directory lists him at the address as a plumber.
Kohl, a territorially famous cattle rancher, started Kohl’s Ranch in Payson before coming to Phoenix. He lived in the home from 1917-1920, near the time when this portion of the neighborhood reached build-out.
Source: City of Phoenix Historical/Architectural Survey of City-Owned Properties, Aug. 1986.
Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the address and a brief description.
When it comes to Chinese food, I am extremely easy to please. This doesn’t speak ill of the places I go; it just is hard to go wrong with some good old Asian cuisine, in my humble opinion. That being said, I figured it was time for a campus visit to test the dining experience that our future journalists, nurses and social workers encounter all the time at Hsin Café in Taylor Place.
Considering the state of my hunger, I felt like I was back in college. Skipping breakfast is never a good idea. So, when the idea to hit up one of @LightRailBlog’s favorite spots was submitted, I happily approved.
Tucked in the epicenter of ASU’s Downtown campus resides humble Hsin Café. I will be honest, I could not pronounce the name (later I was informed it’s pronounced “sheen,” not “h-zin”), but I can say that it serves up some delectable beef fried rice.
Honestly, I had no agenda when parading through the door. I seriously ordered the first thing that flickered favorably across their rotating flat-screen display. The picture showed a feast of epic beef proportions showered with rice, eggs and veggies.
After ordering, I moved over into the deceptively expanding dining area. It is definitely a cool place that shows off its contemporary design and unique lamps descending from the ceiling. However, its most unique feature is what emanates from the small white speakers in the walls. In the course of my meal, I’m fairly certain I heard Japanese hip-hop, Menudo and an odd M.I.A. song. They are definitely creating a unique environment. I was trying to figure out exactly who they were pandering to with their musical selection, when I was generously interrupted by the arrival of my beef fried rice.
I’m fairly certain that you have had beef fried rice before (or at least been at a table where it has been served), so I don’t think I have to explain the flavors to you. The difference in this dish is that it is not as greasy as I was expecting from an establishment slinging chow to college kids. I was hoping for more beef in the dish, but I guess, as the Stones sing, “You can’t always get what you want.” My hunger did get the appropriate dismissal with the bountiful portion, so I can’t complain.
So, if you find yourself hanging out around the Downtown campus and need a cheap and fulfilling meal, head over to Hsin Café. You and your wallet will be thankful for the results.
Hsin Café is located on the ground level of Taylor Place at 120 E. Taylor St. on the ASU Downtown campus (light rail at Central Station) — 602.254.6337
Last week’s games
04/16 — PADRES 6, D-backs 3
04/17 — PADRES 5, D-backs 0
04/18 — PADRES 5, D-backs 3
04/19 — CARDINALS 4, D-backs 2
04/20 — D-BACKS 9, Cardinals 7
04/21 — CARDINALS 9, D-backs 4
This week’s games
04/23 — D-backs vs. Phillies, 6:40 p.m., MLBTV
04/24 — D-backs vs. Phillies, 5:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
04/25 — D-backs vs Phillies, 1:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
04/26 — D-backs @ Rockies, 5:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
04/27 — D-backs @ Rockies, 5:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
04/28 — D-backs @ Rockies, 12:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
04/29 – D-backs @ Cubs, 11:20 a.m., Fox Sports Arizona
The Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled to get some wins as of late, but it has not been without some decent performances from the team. Most of the losses have come as a result of poor performances from their pitching relief, as the D-backs boast some of the most runs produced by a National League West team. After returning from a couple of tough visits on the road, the D-backs were able to snap a five-game losing streak by beating the mighty Cardinals at home. Despite losing the series against St. Louis, the story was, once again, the bullpen.
The D-backs’ schedule is not getting easier any time soon, as the team prepares to face the Philadelphia Phillies for a three-game homestand. In addition to some good baseball, there are some more reasons why you should get out to Chase Field this weekend. The weekend is booked with fan promotions as Arizona will face one of the toughest teams in the National League.
On Friday, the D-backs will host Fireworks Night after the game. The best place to sit after the game is anywhere facing the Washington Street parking garage, as the fireworks are usually launched from that location. Attendees will be allowed to move once the game has completed to get a better view of the show. On Saturday, the first 15,000 fans will receive a commemorative All-Star Justin Upton bobblehead doll for attending the game. Finally, on Sunday, the first 5,000 kids 12 and under will receive a D-backs ballcap.
There is plenty going on in and around Chase Field this weekend. So, if you are looking for something to do, get out there and catch a game. Remember that every Sunday is family day and is a great day to bring the kids out to the game. On Monday, the team begins an 11-game road trip that includes the Rockies, the Cubs and the Astros. With some challenging teams coming up on the schedule, it looks to be the perfect opportunity for the Arizona Diamondbacks to make a statement and a comeback.
Chase Field is accessible via the 3rd Street and Washington/Jefferson light rail stations.