Touch 'Em All: Giants take two of three
At some point in time, you have to pull the parachute.
Because once it's too late, all there is to do is keep falling until you crash.
Right now, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in a state of free-fall. They've dropped 9 of their 12 games so far in the month of May, after dropping two of three at home against the San Francisco Giants -- and have looked quite bad in doing so.
Chris Young is slated to return, barring any setbacks, within the next few series and if that doesn't help the D-backs, I don't know what will.
There is going to come a time when the D-backs are going to have to stop digging their own grave and start making up ground on the Dodgers. That time is quickly approaching.
Sure, teams have made great comebacks in second halves of seasons, but the D-backs can't rely on that. Before long, this season will be as much of a lost cause as some seasons past. The Snakes must turn it around, and soon.
On to the series, the Diamondbacks looked really good on Friday, best I've seen them in a while. However, that flash of brilliance quickly gave way to a lot of strikeouts, poor pitching and lackluster efforts on Saturday and Sunday. Kirk Gibson said it best… "It's been a tough week."
This is something I did not want to have to address this season, but I am being forced to do so. Of course I am talking about the regression of Justin Upton.
Here are some facts about J-Up's season so far that might make you cringe… I know I did.
• Upton is hitting .083 with runners in scoring position. With 2 hits, and 10 strikeouts. Of all players with at least 25 plate appearances with RISP, only Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist (.067) has a worse batting average.
• Upton has 33 strikeouts this season, that's 8 more than he has hits (25).
So what's wrong?
In my honest opinion, I think that the media got to Justin Upton a little bit. In the offseason, every analyst in the world was talking about this being the year that Upton became a true MVP candidate. I think that perhaps Upton didn't work out as hard as he might of if he hadn't been praised, and therefore he came into camp a little behind where he should've been fitness-wise. Consequently that carried over to the regular season, which is why it's taking him so long to get going. Granted, this is purely speculation on my part, but I think it makes perfect sense, especially if (and hopefully when) J-Up gets his bat going as this season goes forward.
Series Report Card
Record: D These three games with the Giants were the 6th, 7th, and 8th most important games of the month (1-5 are the games vs. the Dodgers). The D-backs knew it, the fans knew it, but unfortunately the results were not what anyone would have liked. The Diamondbacks have had really good attendance to this point in the season, and if they want to keep it that way, they need to start winning at home. They're only 7-12 at home this season.
Offense: B- The Diamondbacks offense looked much better on Friday than I had seen it in a while. In that game the D-backs hit the ball out of the park, which means more than just the home run horn that goes off in the stadium. When the D-backs hit at least one home run they are 13-8 this season. When they hit at least two, they are 7-1. However, when they fail to hit a home run they are a mere 2-11… I think you catch my drift. However, despite looking good on Friday, the D-backs offense went right back to looking lackluster on Saturday and Sunday.
Defense: B+ The defense continues to impress with some very nice infield plays. Outside of a Justin Upton drop in right field on Friday, the D looked pretty good this series.
Pitching: C Patrick Corbin looked good on Friday, but besides that the starters, as I have heard them say far, far too many times this season, "just didn't have it." Trevor Cahill couldn't get Matt Cain out on Saturday, and Joe Saunders was just straight up getting hit on Sunday. The Diamondbacks rotation, if you use the 1-5 ranking system (1 is an ace, 5 is a back end starter) currently looks like this… 3, 3, 4, 4, 4. Yes, Ian Kennedy is currently a three. What I'm wondering is when the current mediocrity of the pitching will lead Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers to make a move for the young phenom Trevor Bauer. He's currently 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 60 strikeouts in Double-A Mobile.
Managing: B Kirk Gibson is trying to help the team get out of its funk. He's putting players in position, they need to perform.
Play of the Series: This series the play of the series was Paul Goldschmidt's two-run home run on Friday. Not so much for the significance of the play in the game, but because hopefully for the D-backs it will get Goldy's bat going. The home run was his first since his first plate appearance of the season (88 at-bats).
Kirk Gibson Quote of the Series: It always stings when you lose like this, when you're in a streak like this, but it's up to us to change the atmosphere. We know what it feels like to win. We have to believe in ourselves, this is a time when we have to come together, we can't check out." - After Sunday's 7- 3 loss.
Player of the Series: I'm going to give the player of the series award to A.J. Pollock. He hit his first major league home run on Friday and got the silent treatment in the dugout for it. If he can start to consistently hit singles, he could be deadly in the leadoff spot because of his speed.
The "Dikembe Mutombo Finger Wag" Award: This award, which could to this point in the season be named the "Justin Upton Award", goes to J-Up for the reasons I listed above. The hitter in the three hole has to hit better than .083 with RISP. Maybe Gibby should make a statement and move J-Up down in the order to ignite his bat? I think so.
Best Moment of the Series: The best moment of this series was during Friday's game. A fan on the 3rd base line was nailed in the upper body with a line drive foul ball. As he was being taken care of by the Chase Field medical staff, none other than D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall visited him. Hall walked the man up and out of the section; further proving why he is the best at what he does anywhere. I've never seen another front office person do something like that.
The Road Ahead: The Diamondbacks hit the road and head to L.A. for a short series with the Dodgers. Matt Kemp suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday, so the D-backs may not have to face the triple crown contender on this trip.