Last week, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen was getting all of the headlines. This week, the team’s first baseman is stealing the spotlight. And that was his intent.
Last Wednesday, the day the Diamondbacks blew their third consecutive save against the Giants and their sixth in the previous nine games, Paul Goldschmidt tried to dissuade the negative attention the bullpen was getting, pointing instead to the offense’s shortcomings.
“As an offensive player, you’re always taking responsibility (for losses),” Goldschmidt explained. “Our pitching staff has really actually picked up our offense. We haven’t scored that many runs and you can’t expect to win 2-1, 1-0 games when you’re playing them every single day.”
Since then, the third-year first baseman has gone 9-for-17 with five walks, four home runs, a double, 11 RBI, and a headline-stealing 1.696 OPS.
Goldschmidt homered in all three games of a road sweep of the Dodgers, knocking two late-inning go-ahead shots, the first multi-homer game of his career, and four home runs in all.
J.J. Putz went to the DL with an yet-to-be-diagnosed elbow injury and offseason acquisition Heath Bell assumed the closer role, but the events weren’t enough to take back the headlines from the Diamondbacks’ slugger, who is now hitting .320/.413/.592 on the season with nine home runs and 30 RBI.
Goldschmidt, who signed a five-year, $32 million extension with the Diamondbacks over the offseason, leads the National League in RBI (30) and he’s fourth in home runs (9). He is second among NL first baseman in batting average and on-base percentage and he leads the group in OPS (1.005).
Although Tuesday and Wednesday’s wins against the Dodgers required saves from Bell, it was Goldschmidt who led his offense into the spotlight — taking the microscope off of the team’s struggling relief staff.