The Arizona Diamondbacks’ visit to the west coast was a rough one as they struggle to defeat a couple of their west coast rivals. Despite winning the last two games of the week’s games, the D-backs lost some close games against some pretty important teams. With an opportunity to make some moves in the National League West standings, it was particularly rough on the team as they return home for a seven-game home stand.
While the team is about average in the majors in pitching and the relief staff has been doing better than a year prior, the relief staff would be the area that would that would contribute to most of the losses.
Battling the Champs
In the defending World Series Champion Giants’ sweep of Arizona during the three game trip to the San Francisco Bay, all three games were close ones as they struggled to knock in some runs against one of the best pitching staffs in the league. While dropping all three games in close fashion, the Diamondbacks were able to keep the games close as they would lose by one run in each of the games. Errors would plague the team in their final game against the Giants as they would prepare to head back down south for the weekend to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
We Love L.A. Kind of… Okay, Not Really
In L.A. the Diamondbacks made a valiant effort to comeback in the first game of the series as they were shut out by Clayton Kershaw and his season high 11 strikeouts. In the eighth and ninth innings, the D-backs would begin to stage a comeback, but would not be able to produce enough runs to win the game. The final two games of the road trip included much needed wins for the Diamondbacks as they were able to shut out the Dodgers on Saturday. Josh Collmenter had an outstanding performance as he throws six scoreless innings against the Dodgers, leading the D-backs to a one to nothing victory. In the final game of the series, D-backs’ ace pitcher Ian Kennedy. The former USC pitcher would feel right at home as he earned the win with six solid innings of pitching while his team would contribute with a strong four-run second inning in the win.
What’s On Tap
The D-backs begin the week four games back in the National League West as they prepare for a two game series against the San Diego Padres. With some wins against San Diego, the D-backs look to make some improvements in the standings. The Braves of Atlanta will then arrive in Phoenix to play at Chase Field for three games before the D-backs weekend series against the Minnesota Twins in Interleague play. With the Braves currently in third in their division and the Padres just about even with wins and losses, the Twins are the worst performing team in the American League.
Garden Gnomes Storm Chase Field
In other news, 15,000 garden gnomes will be storming Chase Field on Saturday while the D-backs offer their weekend promotion during the Twins and Diamondbacks series. Backtracking to Friday night, the Diamondbacks will have their Friday Night Fireworks show upon the completion of the game. With the Diamondbacks continuing to be one of the best values in baseball concessions and the weather still being relatively kind to Phoenix, it would be a wonderful weekend to get out to Chase Field for a ball game.
For ticket information, see the D-backs website. Take the light rail to the next home game! Chase Field is convenient to the 3rd Street stations — Washington Street heading westbound and Jefferson Street heading eastbound.
Previous week’s schedule
5/10/11 Giants 1, D-BACKS 0
5/11/11 Giants 4, D-BACKS 3
5/12/11 Giants 3, D-BACKS 2
5/13/11 Dodgers 4, D-BACKS 3
5/14/11 D-BACKS 1, Dodgers 0
5/15/11 D-BACKS 4, Dodgers 1
This week’s schedule
5/16/11 Padres @ D-BACKS, 6:40 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
5/17/11 Padres @ D-BACKS, 6:40 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
5/18/11 Braves @ D-BACKS, 6:40 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
5/19/11 Braves @ D-BACKS, 6:40 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
5/20/11 Twins @ D-BACKS, 6:40 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
5/21/11 Twins @ D-BACKS, 7:10 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
5/21/11 Twins @ D-BACKS, 1:10 p.m., Chase Field, Fox Sports Arizona
After returning home from a less than stellar road trip, the Arizona Diamondbacks showed signs of life, as they have fared pretty well on their latest home stand. With pressure mounting and the Colorado Rockies coming to town, the D-backs were able to take the series against Colorado by winning two of the three games against the team. After facing the Rockies, the team split the next series against a hot Atlanta Braves team. A split is nothing to be upset about. The Braves came into Phoenix on top of their division, and the Diamondbacks were able to play some solid baseball against the team.
Although the bullpen continues to raise concern, the starting pitching rotation has performed well, including an excellent D-backs debut of the “D-train” Dontrelle Willis. Willis provides a new spark to the team, as he can be seen pacing the dugout, motivating his new teammates. He seems to have made himself at home as he recalled his first visit to Chase Field, then Bank One Ballpark. Willis mentioned that he went to the third-level seats to sit in the very section, before the game, that he sat in to watch the team play while he was here in the Cubs organization. Another pitching point worth noting is that Ian Kennedy has seemed to find his groove, performing well in his no-decision outing on Wednesday night.
Another baseball event that took place this week for the D-backs was the 2010 first-year draft, where the team loaded up on pitching. Knowing where their troubles lie, the Diamondbacks chose pitchers in 10 of their first 13 picks. The first-round pick for the D-backs was Barret Loux from Texas A&M. Loux was expected to go a bit lower in the draft by most, but the D-backs have had their eye on the right hander for some time. Last year, the Diamondbacks loaded up on position players, so there should be enough talent to staff the farm teams.
This weekend, the D-backs finish up their home stand at Chase Field with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have been struggling as of late, losing four in a row to be overtaken by the Reds in their division. The Cardinals have solid pitching and a perennial All-Star in Albert Pujols. The weekend series is, once again, filled with promotions for the fans, as Friday is — you guessed it — fireworks night at the stadium. On Saturday, the first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a Dan Haren bobblehead, and on Sunday, the first 5,000 kids in attendance will receive a D. Baxter replica jersey. Sunday is also Baxter’s 10th birthday bash. Next week the D-backs will head to the east for Interleague Play, taking on the Boston Red Sox.
Previous week’s games
06/07 – D-backs 7, Braves 4
06/08 – Braves 7, D-backs 5
06/09 – D-backs 2, Braves 1
06/10 – Braves 11, D-backs 7
This week’s games
06/11 – Cardinals @ D-backs, 6:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/12 – Cardinals @ D-backs, 5:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/13 – Cardinals @ D-backs, 1:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/15 – D-backs @ Red Sox, 4:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/16 – D-backs @ Red Sox, 4:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
06/17 – D-backs @ Red Sox, 4:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
The Arizona Diamondbacks have had themselves another week of struggles, as they were hot and cold on the road before returning home to face a tough National League West rival the San Francisco Giants. The first game of the past week was a close one, as the D-backs dropped the game by one run. In the second game of the series against the Braves, the D-backs showed their power as they muscled 11 runs against Atlanta. The Braves returned the favor the following day before the D-backs headed to Florida for a two-game series against the Marlins.
Arizona split the series in Florida before returning home to face San Francisco. The Giants, who are on top of the National League West, looked to be a challenge as the D-backs continued to have trouble with their bullpen. In the first game of the two-game series, Ian Kennedy pitched masterfully as he earned his third victory of the season. On Thursday Tim Lincecum faced the D-backs, and they were able to deliver five runs off of the two-time Cy Young award winner. Despite the performance by Lincecum, he got the loss, as the D-backs came from behind to earn the victory.
The win against the Giants could prove to be a pivotal victory for the team as they get ready for interleague play. The first game of the two-game series was a slugfest that highlighted the power of the D-backs with multiple homers in the game. The close game on Thursday showed that, despite the woes of the bullpen, the offense is up to the challenge and able to manufacture timely runs.
Thursday’s game included Mark Reynolds hitting his 100th career home run, putting him in the top three all-time D-backs home run leaders (already). Reynolds has a long way to catch Luis Gonzalez, but he is in some great company. Thursday’s game also included some heads-up base running by Conor Jackson, as he crossed the plate with the game-winning run on a wild pitch by San Francisco.
As interleague play kicks off, Arizona will face Toronto at home for a three-game series. As always, Friday night is fireworks night at Chase Field directly following the game. Saturday is yard gnome giveaway day, if any of you fans are looking to spruce up your yard (or your workspace). Finally, on Sunday, the Diamondbacks will be giving the first 5,000 kids 12 and younger a plastic bat and ball set as they enter the game.
The Diamondbacks then hit the road again as they head to the Rockies to face, well, the Rockies. The D-backs look to carry their momentum as they prepare for their next week of baseball.
Last week’s games
05/14 — Braves 6, D-backs 5
05/15 — D-backs 11, Braves 1
05/16 — Braves 13, D-backs 1
05/17 — D-backs 5, Marlins 1
05/18 — Marlins 8, D-backs 0
05/19 — D-backs 13, Giants 1
05/20 — D-backs 8, Giants 7
This week’s games
05/21 — Blue Jays @ D-backs, 6:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/22 — Blue Jays @ D-backs, 5:10 p.m., MLB.TV
05/23 — Blue Jays @ D-backs, 1:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/25 — D-backs @ Rockies, 5:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/26 — D-backs @ Rockies, 5:40 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
05/27 — D-backs @ Rockies, 12:10 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona