Touch 'Em All: More inconsistency in SF
As I have said many times, the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks have only done one thing consistently all season… and that is play inconsistently.
The consistently inconsistent squad was at it again this week in San Francisco, as the D-backs dropped two of three to the Giants. However, due to a Dodgers three-game losing streak, the Snakes actually gained a game in the NL West, and now only sit 9.5 games behind Los Angeles.
The thing that bothers me, and the thing that separates this year's D-backs team from last year's, is the fact that these Diamondbacks really have not taken any of the opportunities they have been given to this point in the season.
For example, with the Dodgers in the midst of a short losing streak, the D-backs went into the 8th inning on Tuesday with in a 1-1 tie against San Francisco. Bryan Shaw was on the mound for the D-backs and instead of holding the lead pat, which would have given the team a chance to take the pivotal second game of the series, Shaw gave up two runs and handed the Giants the win.
When you are hovering around 10 games back in a division race, as a team you can't afford to not capitalize on opportunities when they are handed to you, or you don't stand a chance of coming back in the division.
However, there were a few absolutely fantastic things that I saw in this series, one of which was the start by Ian Kennedy on Wednesday. Man, were the Diamondbacks happy to see that. For the first time this season Ian Kennedy looked like the ace he is supposed to be. His 122 pitches were a career high, but over 7.2 innings, Kennedy allowed only five hits and one earned run in route to his first win in over a month.
Normally, I would also be raving about he also outdueled Tim Lincecum, which he did. However, I feel pretty confident that I could outduel Timmy right now (I couldn't, but it's fun to dream) because of the way he is pitching.
Speaking of Tim Lincecum, "The Freak" cannot seem to figure out Paul Goldschmidt. In my "Road Ahead" section last series I pointed to this as a matchup to watch and it really was. Goldschmidt went 1 for 2 with a walk and a home run against Lincecum in the game. That's now 4 home runs for Goldschmidt in 13 at bats against Lincecum. That is absurd!
Overall, this series was a disappointment for the Diamondbacsk because they really could have won two of three and been 8.5 games back. But instead they won one game and are 9.5 back in the NL West.
Series Report Card
Record: C- I just got done saying it; the Diamondbacks should have won this series. They should have had a few more, as Mark Grace says, "productive outs." They should have stranded much fewer than 23 runners on base in the series. However, the D-backs did none of these things, and because of that, they dropped two of three.
Offense: B+ The D-backs' offense, which had actually been pretty good of late, sputtered a little bit in this three-game series with the Giants. I've already addressed the 23 runners that were left on base in this series, so let's take a look at the batting average. The Diamondbacks had 23 hits in this series, and hit .230 overall. When the first game of the series is against Barry Zito, I would have expected a little more production -- not to mention that the D- backs had as many strikeouts (23) as they did hits.
Defense: C+ It was certainly nice to have Miguel Montero back behind the plate for the Diamondbacks. He gunned a runner down on Wednesday to help preserve the lead, and that clutch play is the sort of thing that spreads through a defense. Overall the Diamondbacks played a clean, error-free series defensively.
Pitching: C+ In the past, I have focused mostly on what was wrong with Ian Kennedy. However, now that he has had a very good start like he did on Wednesday, my focus is shifting to Trevor Cahill. I know the Diamondbacks expected to get a quality pitcher when they traded for Cahill, but here's the thing: I don't think he's getting any better. Cahill's numbers for this season are as follows: He has a 3.96 ERA, with a 1.32 WHIP and opposing hitters are batting .249 against him. Those aren't earth-shattering numbers, and I think it's time the D-backs and their fans just accepted Cahill for who he is. Here are his career numbers: 3.91 ERA, with a 1.32 WHIP and a .253 BAA. Yes, you did read that right; they're almost exactly the same. Trevor Cahill is right where he is supposed to be, sitting at a mediocre level. Baseball is a game of numbers, so I don't expect him to get any better, or any worse. Sometimes, people just are who they are and that's that. Stay tuned… I'll touch on Bryan Shaw and his performance in a little bit.
Managing: A I liked Kirk Gibson's decision to bring Montero back when he did. The Diamondbacks are finally getting healthy and if Gibson wants the team to get going, he needs to put a consistent lineup out there everyday; he's said that himself. Therefore getting Montero out there was a good move, as he's allowing his team to build some chemistry so they can try and make a run.
Play of the Series: The play of the series was Paul Goldschmidt's home run off of Tim Lincecum in the 6th inning on Wednesday, which ended up being the winning run for the D-backs. Paul Goldschmidt has owned Lincecum, and the Snakes really needed someone to come through in that game and Goldy did just that.
Player of the Series: The player of this series goes to Ian Kennedy, who had a HUGE bounce back game on Wednesday after one of the worst stretches of his career. Kennedy is the Diamondbacks' ace, and the team really needs him to pitch like it. He did on Wednesday.
The "Dikembe Mutombo Finger Wag award: This award goes to Bryan Shaw for his terrible inning of pitching Tuesday. Shaw walked two batters, gave up two runs, and more importantly he gave up two runs that cost the Diamondbacks the game in the 8th inning.
Best Moment of the Series: The best moment of this series for me was on Monday, when the fighter jets flew over the stadium during the pregame Memorial Day festivities. I don't know, there's just something about watching a flyover before a baseball game that gets me every time.
The Road Ahead: The Diamondbacks head to San Diego for a three-game set with the Padres. The D-backs have Miley and Hudson on the mound in the first two games of the series, so I'm looking for them to jump on the Padres right out of the gates in this weekend series.
- Kevin Towers, D-backs' General Manager - Wednesday May 22Are the D-backs ready for the upcoming MLB June draft? What's the latest on Adam Eaton?
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs' Manager - Tuesday May 21Gibby on Pat Corbin, Adam Eaton's return, & Paul Goldschmidt's success.
- Eric Chavez - Friday May 17D-Backs 3rd baseman Eric Chavez joined Burns & Gambo to discuss his recent hot streak.
- Tim Kurkjian - Thursday May 16ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian joined Burns and Gambo to discuss the development of Diamondbacks star
- Kevin Towers, D-backs GM - Wednesday May 15KT talks to Doug & Wolf about the big win over the Braves!