The Arizona Diamondbacks returned to Chase Field this past weekend for a lengthy home stand in Phoenix. The team has continued to struggle over the past week, as they have been unable to win a game on the road to extend their losing streak to 10 games (eep!). This is the first time in quite a while that the D-backs have not been able to win a game in an entire road trip. The team gears up to play a couple of challenging teams, as we hope that this is where things turn around. The D-backs, who usually get a break on Thursdays, will roll right into next weekend by finishing up a long series Thursday against Atlanta.
The reason for the trying times for the Arizona club seems to be eluding us as we try to pin the reason for the struggles on one aspect of the team. As of now, the pitching has not shored up, but it showed signs of improvement in the series against Los Angeles, despite the losses. As a matter of fact, the Haren and Jackson losses came with only one run apiece. The issue formerly known as the pitching problem has seemed to spill over to run production.
This week begins against the red-hot Atlanta Braves. The Braves have won their last nine in a row, as they extended their lead over the perennial favorites in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves have a talented pitching staff and are led offensively by rookie Jason Heyward, who has already managed to make a name for himself in the Major Leagues. The 21-year-old left-handed outfielder is currently among league leaders in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
We know that it can be difficult to cheer on a struggling team, but if you get a chance, head to Chase Field to show your support for the team as they look to turn things around as they wrap up the first half of the season.
Previous week’s games
05/28 — Giants 5, D-backs 0
05/29 — Giants 12, D-backs 1
05/30 — Giants 6, D-backs 5
05/31 — Dodgers 5, D-backs 4
06/01 — Dodgers 0, D-backs 1
06/02 — Dodgers 0, D-backs 1
06/04 — D-backs 7, Rockies 6
06/05 — D-backs 4, Rockies 3
06/06 — Rockies 3, D-backs 2
This week’s games
06/07 — Atlanta @ D-backs, 6:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/08 — Atlanta @ D-backs, 6:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/09 — Atlanta @ D-backs, 6:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/10 — Atlanta @ D-backs, 12:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
Yes, after months of planning, scouring the Internet for those elusive X-Men first editions and prepping costumes, it’s Phoenix Comicon time.
If you have been around the Phoenix Convention Center this week, you’ve probably noticed a wookie or two walking around. Maybe you saw Wolverine or Spawn. I did.
I’ve never attended a Comicon before, but I imagine it to be like it is on TV or in the teen movies — four days of adventure, nerdy Internet meetups and geeked-out picture-happy blog posts, followed by costumed after-parties in every hotel room in the Downtown area. If my assessment is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
This is the mecca, people. Stan Lee is going to be there. Todd MacFarlane is crawling out of his Ahwatukee cave to see the light. James Marsden, who was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Smallville, apparently also plays music, and he’ll be jamming Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency. It’s legit, dudes.
The schedule is below. Light rail and parking will be packed all day Saturday with Comicon, the 1070 rally and the Suns game all in the vicinity. Plan ahead!
If You Go: Phoenix Comicon
Friday, May 28
Registration: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Exhibitor Hall: Noon-8 p.m.
Programming at Convention Center: Noon-11:30 p.m.
Programming at Hyatt Regency: 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
Saturday, May 29
Registration: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Exhibitor Hall: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Programming at Convention Center: 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Programming at Hyatt Regency: 6 p.m-2 a.m.
Sunday, May 30
Registration: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Exhibitor Hall: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Programming at Convention Center: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
The Phoenix Convention Center is located right off the 3rd Street light rail stations. The Hyatt Regency is located at 122 N. 2nd St. in Copper Square.
The Arizona Diamondbacks began the end of last week with a couple of wins against the Toronto Blue Jays at home. After losing the last game of that series on Sunday, the D-backs had a tough time earning a victory this week. With an off-day on Monday, the team traveled to Colorado, only to be swept by the Rockies in a three-game series. As the team continues to struggle with analysts and fans looking at pitching, not only can the relief stand to improve, but the pitching in its entirety can also benefit from more stability. The D-backs are currently last in the National League in pitching, which should come as no surprise to anyone.
On a positive note, Arizona batting continues to do well, as Justin Upton is among the league leaders in batting. The team also leads the league in doubles and RBI. As for the long ball, the D-backs are tied with the Reds with the most homers in the National League. For those of us that remember the team from a year ago, it seemed that nothing was clicking for the D-backs as they were struggling on the mound and at the plate. The key for the team will be to be able to put it all together and shore up their pitching before the All-Star break and continue producing runs.
Up ahead for the Diamondbacks are the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams are long-time rivals, and wins against these teams could potentially help ramp up some team momentum. The first series against the Giants will be a three-game weekend series that promises to be a decent matchup. The D-backs successfully swept the short series against the Giants a week prior and will have that going for them when they arrive in San Francisco. The Giants have also been struggling as of late after starting out at the top of the National League West standings.
The following series will be against the Dodgers, as Los Angeles has won six of their last 10 games to close within two games on the National League-leading Padres. The Dodgers play very well at home, as do the Giants, and they are looking forward to the return of Andre Ethier as he gets some rehab time in the minor leagues this weekend.
Previous week’s games
05/21 — D-backs 8, Blue Jays 6
05/22 — D-backs 8, Blue Jays 5
05/23 — Blue Jays 12, D-backs 4
05/25 — Rockies 3, D-backs 2
05/26 — Rockies 7, D-backs 3
05/27 — Rockies 8, D-backs 2
This week’s games
05/28 — D-backs @ Giants, 7:15 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/29 — D-backs @ Giants, 6:05 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/30 — D-backs @ Giants, 1:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/31 — D-backs @ Dodgers, 6:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/01 — D-backs @ Dodgers, 7:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/02 — D-backs @ Dodgers, 12:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
Previous week’s games
5/23/10 SUNS 118, Lakers 109
5/25/10 SUNS 115, Lakers 106
Upcoming week’s games (that’s right, Lakers, fans, you have more games against the Suns!)
5/27/10 SUNS @ Lakers, 6 p.m., TNT
5/29/10 SUNS vs Lakers, 5:30 p.m., TNT
5/31/10 SUNS @ Lakers, 6 p.m., TNT (if necessary)
It’s funny how quickly things change over the course of a week. Last Thursday, all anyone could talk about, especially the LA media, was the matchup in the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Lakers. They didn’t just talk about the possibility of the matchup, either. They talked about it as if it were a sure thing, a done deal. Ted Green of the LA Times even went as far as saying the Lakers would win this best-of-seven series with the Phoenix Suns in three games.
LA fans ran their mouths, and kept talking about how their Lakers were about to sweep the Suns. Heck, I even received comments here at the Suns Spot from Lakers fans claiming I owed Bill Plaschke an apology for a piece I wrote two weeks ago.
Then Sunday came, and the Suns won game three. Did the Lakers’ fans finally start giving us respect? Nope. LA fans, along with Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, complained about the free throw discrepancy. They cried that the zone defense that Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry implemented in the second quarter of Sunday’s game was a bailout. They said it was a way of admitting the Suns can’t defend the Lakers man to man. They labeled it as “girlie.”
The media didn’t change their tune, either. Plaschke wrote another piece for the LA Times belittling the Suns once again. He went on to say the Lakers should rest starting center Andrew Bynum. Hold him out of game four. Rest him now and Bynum would have at least a week off before the Finals matchup with the Celtics.
ESPN basketball “expert” Ric Bucher decided to jump in on the action with this tweet he sent out Sunday night:
“Give Suns credit for stepping up, but let’s put this into perspective. LAL had 3 guys MIA: Bynum, Odom + Artest. Too many vs. Phx at home.”
I responded to Bucher saying he should give the Suns’ D some credit, especially for what they did to Ron Artest. I argued they put a hand in Artest’s face and made him put the ball on the floor plenty of times. Apparently, Mr. Bucher didn’t like that, because he responded by sending me the following direct message on Twitter:
“Artest/LO were a combined 2 for 11 and I didn’t see one of those 3s contested. but whatever.”
“But whatever?” Really, Ric? Sensitive there much? I was just pointing out what I saw in the game, no need to get upset if you feel you saw differently.
On to Tuesday and game four. The Lakers saw much of the same from the Suns defense. Gentry threw a heavy dose of zone at the Lakers once again and the result was much the same. The Lakers heaved brick after brick up at the rim from beyond the arc. Only difference this time around was where the points came from on the Phoenix side. Instead of Amar’e Stoudemire picking apart the Lakers it was the super subs of Phoenix scorching the entire Lakers squad.
Did this finally earn the respect from the Lakers fans and media? Not really, but it did shut them up.
Instead of writing a piece bashing the Suns once again and declaring them dead, Plaschke wrote about how the Lakers’ bench is only hurting the team rather than provided any type of relief for the starters. He still failed to really give the Suns the credit they’ve rightfully earned, but at least he didn’t rip them apart.
As far as Bucher goes, he has yet to say anything. No more tweets about how LA just played bad. No more tweets putting the Phoenix victories into “perspective.” His silence speaks volumes.
From the Suns’ viewpoint though, none of this matters. They don’t need validation from the media. They’ve earned the respect of each other and the support of the Phoenix fans. By winning two games in this series, they’ve already proved all the doubters wrong. When game five tips off tonight, the Suns will look to continue piling up that proof.
There are few experiences more memorable than a good ghost story. Whether you’re around the campfire, in a dark room or driving by yourself at night, the best ghost stories take what little we know about the unknown and make it real
West Coast Ghost and Paranormal Society (WCGAPS) takes ghost stories to the next level. The Arizona-based group travels the nation conducting investigations aimed at scientifically explaining the weird and the not easily knowable. They never charge for investigations.
“The group was started because of Andy’s [Rice, WCGAPS founder and lead investigator] interest in the paranormal, but he couldn’t find anyone using science to explain the unknown. Most of the groups were using psychics,” said Shaun Jacobs, Chief Operations Officer. “I joined because I had some experiences as a child that never made sense to me.”
This Saturday, May 22, WCGAPS will be hosting a ghost hunt at the Orpheum Theatre. One event will be held for kids at 2 p.m., with the adult event (ages 16+) at 8 p.m. Prizes are still available for ticket purchasers through their Event Contest page.