Touch 'Em All: D-backs lose series to Nationals
When tanking comes to fruition: The story of the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals came into this series with the D-backs on a four-game losing streak, which was extended to five when the Snakes won game one behind Trevor Cahill's great outing.
But something happened in that D-backs winů Bryce Harper energized the crowd, and the team, with an electrifying throw from left field to the plate that realistically should have resulted in John McDonald being out at the plate.
He was called safe, but after that display from Harper, the Nationals seemed like a different team. It wasn't just the hitters, but the pitchers that had been struggling the past week, returned to their "best in the majors" form (yeah, I still can't believe that either).
Was it that Bryce Harper throw that propelled the nationals to take this series from the D-backs? Maybe not, but it certainly seemed like the turning point.
As for the D-backs, there was a lot to take away from this series, whether it be the offenses periodic struggles or the bullpen's somewhat consistent struggles.
I'm going to be very interested to see how this offense plays once Chris Young returns. The Diamondbacks are 18th in the Majors, hitting .240 with runners in scoring position, and are 3rd-worst in the Majors with 205 strikeouts this season.
The D-backs' offense needs to get things going once it's finally healthy, otherwise I think they may need to make a move before the trade deadline. A move more specifically at 3rd base, where Ryan Roberts is struggling mightily so far this season.
I've been wondering lately how David Wright would look in a D-backs uniformů
Series Report Card
The Nationals, who started very hot, came into this series reeling, on a four-game losing streak. The Diamondbacks capitalized on that in game one, but dropped the next two. If J.J. Putz would've gotten the job done on Wednesday, the D-backs would have won the series. But since he didn't, they didn't, and the grade reflects that.
The Nationals pitching has been very good to this point in the season, and the D-backs offense looked pretty good against that pitching in games one and two. However, the offense struggled in Thursday's game, and it is evident that this team can't wait for Chris Young to return from his injury.
Besides two errors on Wednesday, the D-backs continued their good defensive play of late in this series. They're turning double plays much more effectively now than they were earlier in the season.
The D-backs' starters were pretty solid during this series; however, the struggles of the bullpen are starting to concern me. J.J. Putz has given up 3 home runs this seasonů he gave up 4 all of last year. This is more than a slump for him, something isn't right.
Kirk Gibson can't be held at fault for the lack of hitting his team has right now. He's putting the best lineup in every night and he is trying different combinations to try and jump start his offense, which has struggled at times during this season, they are currently 14th in the Majors in batting average.
Play of the Series:
The play of this series was Justin Upton's solo home run in the fourth inning on Wednesday. Not necessary because of its significance for that game, but because it was his third home run in 10 games, and perhaps a sign that he is finally getting into a groove, something that would be great for his team and D-backs fans everywhere.
Villain of the Series:
This series' villain award, almost by default, goes to Bryce Harper. I don't think there has been that much excitement in Washington since Strasburg's debut. His double won the game on Thursday, and in so doing gave the Nationals the series win over the D- backs.
Kirk Gibson Quote of the Series:
"It won't be the last time it happens to us this year, we're playing good baseball. We just have to shake this one off and come back tomorrow." - Kirk Gibson, on the D-backs' walk-off loss on Wednesday.
Player of the Series:
I'm going to give the POTS award this series to Paul Goldschmidt. He had been struggling lately coming into this series, but he played well, hitting .500 with 2 runs and an RBI in the three- game set. The D-backs really need their first baseman to step up in the remaining time before Chris Young returns.
The "Dikembe Mutombo Finger Wag" Award:
This award goes, for the second time this season, to Justin Upton. More specifically, to Justin Upton when he is at the plate with runners in scoring position. He is currently hitting .143 with just one home run and six RBIs with RISP. The D-backs really need his bat to wake up, if he's hitting, it takes a lot of pressure off of everyone else in the lineup.
The Road Ahead:
The Diamondbacks finish their NL East road trip in New York with a three game series against the Mets. Watch for Saturday's game, as Patrick Corbin gets his second Major League start against Johan Santana, should be an exciting game to watch, and it could be a coming out party for Corbin. That is if he can beat the Met's ace.