Touch 'Em All: D-backs lose two of three to Giants
Home field has been anything but an advantage lately for the Diamondbacks. The D-backs are now just 3-10 in their last 13 games at Chase Field. And though Arizona rolled on Sunday, the team still lost their weekend series to NL West divisional foe, San Francisco, two games to one.
D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin starred on the mound and at the plate on Sunday. For his strong pitching performance, Corbin credited catcher Miguel Montero.
"Miggy called a great game, I don't think I shook him off once today," Corbin said following the team's 10-2 victory on Sunday. "When you can go out there and just go with a catcher you're just in rhythm the whole game and I really didn't think too much out there, just whatever he called I threw. You can see why they signed Miggy and kept him around here."
The D-backs came into this series hanging on to their playoff hopes by a thread, and this series just made that thread thinner than it already was.
Tyler Skaggs took the mound for Arizona against Matt Cain and the difference between the Giants ace and the D-backs youngster was evident in this game. Cain only tossed five innings due to a high pitch count, but he held the Snakes to just four hits and one run. Meanwhile, Skaggs pitched only four innings and gave up five runs off of five hits -- the big blast being a grand slam by Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, his 21st home run of the season. Chris Johnson drove in both runs for the home team. Arizona left 15 men on base, against seven different Giants pitchers. Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2.
Despite earning a quality start for his seven innings pitched with only three runs allowed, Wade Miley was handed his 10th loss of the season. Miley also saw his pitch count climb to 116 for the third time this season. For the second game in a row, the D-backs were only able to muster two runs, one of which was Justin Upton's 14th home run of the season. Barry Zito earned the win for San Francisco, pitching 6.2 innings of one-run ball. Catcher Buster Posey hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to aid Zito's gem. Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2.
Lefty Patrick Corbin did it all. He pitched a career-high eight innings on his way to his sixth major league victory. He also contributed at the plate, hitting a bases-loaded triple that scored three runs and a bloop single that scored another. If the four runs he batted in weren't enough, the D-backs gave him six extra runs of support in a game that was blown wide open by Arizona. Corbin had been 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his last four starts. Diamondbacks 10, Giants 2.
What it Means
Arizona is now 11 games back in the NL West, and the team is out of contention in the division. However, they remain only 4.5 games out of the last NL Wild Card spot. They are still chasing the Phillies, Brewers, Pirates and Cardinals, but look out from behind, the Padres are only 1.5 games behind the D-backs.
Series Report Card
They're not out of the Wild Card race yet, but they get closer with every losing series. At this point every series is a must-win, as there is still plenty of ground to be made up.
It was a stretch of 12 home games in a row in which the Diamondbacks failed to score over four runs at Chase Field. The problem, as manager Kirk Gibson has said, was the team simply isn't driving the ball as they were several weeks ago. There are too many singles, and as Justin Upton said on Friday night the Snakes just couldn't get "the big hit." For example, the D-backs had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to have the ball leave the infield over the next three batters, as they scored no runs.
Sunday was different though, and mostly because of what happened in the fourth inning. The bases were loaded with one out for Corbin and he delivered a bases clearing triple that got the D-backs to five runs. Two batters later Aaron Hill delivered another big hit, scoring two more runs. As good as the offense was on Sunday, I still can't overlook the first two games, so a C+ it is.
Arizona had only one error in this series, and despite having several different players man shortstop and third base, the fielding looked crisp within the infield. Adam Eaton is looking better and better in center field; his speed allows him to have a range that not many other center fielders in the league have.
Tyler Skaggs struggled on Friday, but "learned a lot" according to Gibson, who stressed that it was good for the young pitcher to go back out for the fourth inning of the game after giving up five runs the inning before. Wade Miley pitched well on Saturday with a quality start, but a lack of run support cost him a loss. But wow Patrick Corbin was impressive on Sunday in his career-long eight inning performance. His pitch count was low enough (93) that I was wondering whether he would get a chance at the complete game. He didn't, as Josh Collmenter pitched the ninth to close out the win for the D-backs. On a positive pitching note, J.J. Putz looked strong in his return on Saturday, and Gibson said that he was good to go moving forward.
I'm dumbfounded as to why Jason Kubel is still batting third. He hasn't been able to hit anything the last two months, and he sucks the life out of the D-backs lineup in the three-hole. I asked Gibson about maybe moving him down and he said it was "possible."
Play of the Series:
Aaron Hill's diving catch behind second base in the fourth inning on Saturday off of Barry Zito was a highlight of the series. It was a web gem if I've ever seen one.
Player of the Series:
Patrick Corbin. Not only was he great on the mound, he had a triple and a single with four RBI in Sunday's victory.
Stat of the Series:
Jason Kubel is 27-for-162 since July 23rd, which is equivalent to a .167 batting average. Yet, Kubel is still hitting third in the lineup.
The Road Ahead
The Diamondbacks go up against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. You might remember the last time the Padres were in Phoenix they swept the D-backs in a three-game series. Arizona will look to get revenge starting on Tuesday, hoping home field will finally be an advantage.
- 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