Touch 'Em All: D-backs drop 2 of 3 to Bucs
From Triple Crown contender, all the way to the disabled list, all with one big THUD.
If Chris Young's 2012 season were a comic book, the first few pages would have lots of great exclamations… BANG, BOOM, SMACK, HOME RUN, to name a few. But then there would come a THUD.
That thud came in the 4th inning of Tuesday's loss to the Pirates, and it was the sound of Chris Young hitting the left field wall.
The thud had two real meanings. Physically; it was Chris Young making a great catch while slamming into the wall, hurting his shoulder, and landing him on the DL. And metaphorically; it was Chris Young's hot start to the season, a hot start that saw him in the triple crown running early on, coming to a screeching halt.
Obviously this is a huge hit to Chris Young's monster season-in-the-making, however, it's an even bigger hit to a Diamondbacks team that was riding on Chris Young's shoulders to this point in the season.
Without CY's bat for 15 days, a period when the D-Backs may also be without Justin Upton, the Snakes will turn to Jason Kubel, Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt to be major sources of run production.
The Diamondbacks are also going to have to rely on a few younger players to join the major league squad and perform. D-Backs infielder John McDonald told me on Tuesday that he expects any minor league call-ups to fit right in the clubhouse. "That's what we have spring training for," he said. "You get to know those guys and you get a chance to work with them."
One thing's for sure: if the Diamondbacks want to keep in close contention with the Dodgers (I can't believe I'm saying that either) early in the season, a few people are going to have to step up and have some comic book moments of their own.
Series Report Card
Record: C- Oh the parity of baseball… Joe Saunders wins, Ian Kennedy pitches poorly, Bryan Shaw gives up an odd, eventually game-winning, bloop single and John McDonald hits a home run. All that considered, this was still a 3-game home series with the Pirates - you can't lose two of three! If this was NFL Primetime I might say C'mon Man! But it's not, so I won't.
Offense: B- All things considered, the offense looked pretty good over the first two games. Jason Kubel looks like he is finally starting to get things going, which is a great sign with the team's current injury situation. I don't understand why Goldschmidt isn't consistently in at first base. If he's your everyday first basemen, then play him like one.
Defense: B+ The defense turned three double plays in this series, all on Wednesday. Pollock looked good in center in CY's stead, Kubel looks comfy in right with Upton out. Overall, this was a pretty sound series for the Snakes defensively.
Pitching: B+ In a series against the Pirates that started with Joe Saunders getting the win after a very nice outing, you might have expected the D-Backs to sweep with Kennedy and Hudson going the next two days. If you did, you were incorrect, as Ian Kennedy "knew in the 1st inning that [he] didn't have it and just tried to battle through," on Tuesday. However, with everything that happened on Tuesday, Kennedy's poor performance was the least thing to be concerned with. Hudson pitched well enough for the win on Wednesday, but you can't expect to win with only one run of support behind you.
Managing: B+ As I said earlier, I question why Paul Goldschmidt, the "everyday first baseman," isn't playing as much as I feel he should be. I'm sure Gibson has a very good explanation, but I'd like to see Goldy's bat in the lineup, especially when CY and J-Up are out.
Play of the Series: This is the play of the series for so many reasons, first because it was simply an amazing catch, and second because it is the play that people from remember this series; the play that effectively ended Chris Young's hot start to the 2012 campaign. If you haven't figured it out already the play I'm talking about is Chris Young's diving catch against the wall in left center in the 4th inning on Tuesday that saved extra bases, but will cost CY a DL stint.
*Runner-Up for Play of the Series Every so often, if there is an extra play that is worth mentioning, I'll put a runner-up in this category. This series' runner-up was Ryan Roberts' diving catch on a pop- up bunt from Alex Presley in the 7th inning on Tuesday. There are not too many third basemen in baseball who are quick enough to make that play.
Villain of the Series: The Unsung Hero award takes a short hiatus, as the Villan Award is introduced. This series' villain is none other than Andrew McCutchen. He really did a lot of damage to the D-Backs, and was also the thorn in the side of Ian Kennedy on Tuesday. He went 7-for-12 with 3 runs scored and 1 RBI in the series.
Kirk Gibson Quote of the Series: "Obviously he hit the wall hard. It was a great catch. He got crushed." -On Chris Young's catch into the wall on Tuesday.
Player of the Series: This series' winner of the POTS award is Jason Kubel. I know he didn't have a great series by any means, but no one on the D-Backs really did, and I started to see some life come out of his bat on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I think that makes him worthy of this award.
The "Any Other Part of the Ballpark" Award: That's right, this award is back and mainly because of Jason Kubel's RBI double on Tuesday. The ball hit about a foot under the line in left center, and literally anywhere else in the park it would've been a no-doubter. It would've gotten Kubel more support from the fans too.
Best Moment of the Series: For me, the best moment of this series was seeing it end. Honestly, this was a very bad series for the D-Backs when you look at it. Not only did they drop two of three to the Pirates, they also lost Chris Young and wasted a very good start by Daniel Hudson on Wednesday. I'd just like to move on.
And now… To introduce a new segment that will make a few appearances over the course of the season…
If you would've told me ______ in March, I would've said ______.
If you would've told me John McDonald would hit a HR before Justin Upton:
Not only would I have started laughing maniacally in your face, I probably would have gone as far as to question your knowledge of baseball and wonder as to whether you had ever watched a game. Luckily for me, I don't know anyone who is psychic, so that never happened.
If you would've told me Joe Saunders would be leading the Majors in ERA:
Again, I probably would have started to chuckle, but I would've tried to reason it out. Joe Saunders must have pitched 2 games against a minor league team. In reality it's close enough, he's pitched against the Padres and Pirates.
If you would've told me JJ Putz, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter would have the three highest ERAs on the team:
I probably would have been in disagreement. Sure, I may have expected that from Collmenter, I may have even expected a little regression from Hudson, but Putz? He's supposed to be the rock. He does have 4 saves, but he has been hittable this year, which is two letters less than what he was last year (that would be unhittable).
The Road Ahead
The Diamondbacks continue their home stand as they start a string of 17 straight games against the NL East, starting with a four-game set against the Braves at Chase this week. Watch Josh Collmenter's start in the opener. With a bad outing he could end up in Triple-A and Trevor Bauer could force his way into the rotation. That's complete speculation, but if he pitches poorly again, it should happen.