Touch 'Em All: D-backs take two of three from Padres
Just last series I called Trevor Cahill a mediocre pitcher. I said the Diamondbacks trade with the Athletics might have been a mistake. So how did Cahill respond?
He threw his best game of the season on Sunday.
Cahill pitched a complete game shutout, and allowed only six hits over the course of the game, as the D-backs beat the Padres 6-0.
The complete game was Cahill's second of his career, and his first since August 2, 2010. On that day, Cahill threw 109 pitches, the same number he tossed in Sunday's victory. Cahill was 1-5 with a 4.69 ERA in his previous eight starts.
The great start from Cahill followed a strong start from Daniel Hudson on Saturday. Hudson pitched his best game of the season -- eight innings of two-run baseball -- and the D-backs beat San Diego 4-2.
Last season, one of the main reasons the Diamondbacks were so good was because the starting pitchers ate innings and the bullpen stayed fresh. If the D-backs are able to get their starters going, everything else will just fall in line.
Earlier in the series, the D-backs' inconsistencies at the plate continued. On Friday they struggled to get seven hits over the course of the entire game. The good news from that game was that four of those hits came from Upton, Montero and Goldschmidt.
The middle portion of the lineup, now that it is set, seems to be gaining momentum over the last week. If the D-backs are to make a run at the NL West, or even the Wild Card (currently controlled completely by the NL East), they will need the middle of the lineup to be raking.
On the subject of the middle part of the lineup, I really want to talk about one member of the Diamondbacks in particular, whose play has been a catalyst for the team in the last few days. That player is Paul Goldschmidt.
In the last seven days, Paul Goldschmidt's bat has been white hot. Goldy is hitting .423 with four home runs, and 5 RBIs. His batting average, which had fallen as low as .185, has risen to .275. There were times a few weeks ago when critics were calling for Goldy to be sent down to triple-A. Those people have been silenced of late, as Goldschmidt now has one of the hottest bats on the team.
Series Report Card
Record: B+ The Diamondbacks took two of three from the struggling San Diego Padres. The Snakes are now eight games back of the Dodgers in the NL West, and six games out of a Wild Card spot.
Offense: B The D-backs offense struggled on Friday, playing in Petco Park. Over the last 7 days, the Diamondbacks are 21st in the Majors in total bases and 18th in the Majors with a .265 team batting average. The pitching has been good lately, but the bats must get going consistently soon.
Defense: B+ Justin Upton has the second most errors out of all eligible outfielders with four on the season. His error on Friday was the only real bad spot for this D-backs defense in this series, which was effective for the second straight series.
Pitching: C+ I've already talked about the starting pitching, and how crucial it was in this series. Now I'll touch on the bullpen… The bullpen has been very effective of late (outside of Hernandez on Friday), and of the pen, it has been great to see J.J. Putz performing well. In press conferences a few weeks ago, a reporter asked Kirk Gibson if Putz was still his closer. Gibson said, "yes." That faith in his guy has paid off, as J.J. has been lights out over his last few appearances.
Managing: A Kirk Gibson has been making good decisions as far as when to go to the bullpen, and when to stay with his starters. Letting Hudson go 8 innings and allowing Cahill to finish the game on Sunday were both great decisions.
Play of the Series: The play of the series was in the ninth inning on Sunday, when Trevor Cahill got Chase Headley to ground out to first base, to complete Cahill's first complete game in nearly two years. Here's hoping that win will get Cahill on a roll heading towards the all-star break.
Player of the Series: The player of this series was Paul Goldschmidt. He homered in back to back games on Saturday and Sunday, something that was very nice to see taking into account his struggles at the start of the season. He also extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games.
The "Dikembe Mutombo" Finger Wag award: This award goes to Wade Miley. For the sole reason that he was the only starter to get a loss this weekend.
Best Moment of the Series: The best moment of this series was the cumulative effect of seeing the starting pitching's effectiveness. The Diamondbacks will go as their starters go, and if their starters continue to perform as they did in this series, the D-backs may have a chance to make a run.
The Road Ahead:The Diamondbacks head home to take on the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field. The next six games are very important for the D- backs, because once their series with the Athletics next weekend is over, they head on the road for a tough six games, against the Rangers and the Angels.
- 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!
- Keith Law, ESPN MLB Insider - Monday May 13Law talks to Doug & Wolf about Justin Upton's return to AZ.
- Heath Bell, D-backs pitcher - Friday May 10Bell talks to Doug & Wolf about Sushi and the mentality of a closer