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Touch ‘Em All: D-backs fall flat vs. Phillies

In most occasions, kicking someone when they’re down is
frowned upon.

In the Arizona Diamondbacks case, it’s what they should
have done
to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies are missing three of the biggest pieces to
their
team in Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Chase Utley, and their
offense had been terrible throughout the season coming
into this series. So naturally the Diamondbacks should
have jumped all over the Phillies and taken at least two
games of this series.

So much for that…

At first it looked like the D-backs were going to run the
Phillies out of town. They plastered Kyle Kendrick for 7
runs in three innings on Monday. And for 8 innings of the
game the D-backs had their foot on the Phillies’ throats.

But then, something happened; it was like the Diamondbacks
collectively took a deep breath and relaxed. And just like
that the D-backs gave the Phillies life. In the top of the
ninth on Monday the Phils scored 5 runs and gained a lot
of momentum that no team has given them all year.

That momentum carried over into the following two games.
With Vance Worley and Cole Hamels closing the series, the
Phillies offense put up 15 runs in two games, something
they had not done all year, to take the next two games and
the series from the D-backs.

The Snakes have now lost every home series since their
opening weekend sweep of the Giants. Arizona has fallen
under .500 and need to get their act together
quickly. Sure, it is only April, but the Dodgers have come
out of the gates on fire and the D-backs can’t dig
themselves too deep of a hole, or they may not be able to
climb their way back out.

I also feel obligated to mention that Josh Collmenter is
not looking any better. And as I have said numerous times
before, a change needs to be made in the rotation. I
understand that Kirk Gibson has faith in his players, but
this time he needs to make a move. Not only would a move
to Corbin or Bauer help the team’s win percentage, it
could also bring more fans into Chase field for games.
Talk about a win-win.

Series Report Card

Record: D

The Phillies came into this series reeling, missing three
key
starters and possessing an offense that had not produced
all season. The D-backs hammered them in the first game,
but were shut down by Vance Worley and Cole Hamels in the
next two. Not to mention that dormant Phillies offense put
up 20 runs in three games against the Snakes. Overall,
this series was a huge disappointment for the D-backs and
their fans.

Offense: B+

The offense looked good throughout the series, except for
being shut down for the most part by Cole Hamels and Vance
Worley. Justin Upton finally hitting a home run was
monumental for the D-backs, because as far as I’m
concerned, the D-backs go as Justin Upton goes. Jason
Kubel’s bat is also starting to catch fire, which is
making that signing look better and better.

Defense: A

The defense looked good. In fact they looked very good.
Jason Kubel is revealing that he is not a defensive
liability like many people, me included, thought he might
be. And Miguel Montero continues to gun potential base
stealers
out at second. Even when Kirk Gibson mix and matches his
lineup, it seems like anyone can step in and play great
defense.

Pitching: C

Wade Miley looked great, but besides that, the D-backs’
pitching struggled against one of the worst offenses in
baseball to this point in the season. Joe Paterson’s ERA
of 37 was even poor enough to get him sent down to the
minors. The pitching was the strength for this team last
year, and if the D-backs want to repeat, the pitching has
to get back to the level it was at last season.

Managing: A

Kirk Gibson continues to make me wonder if he can see into
the future. He brings up Cody Ransom and he starts to
absolutely rake. He puts Wade Miley in to start and he
allows two hits. I really need to ask Kirk to choose some
lottery numbers for me… The only problem that I have with
his managing is the fact that Josh Collmenter is still in
the rotation.

Series Awards

Play of the Series:

In my mind, the play of the series has to be Justin
Upton’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the 4th inning
on Monday. It didn’t have a really large impact in that
game’s outcome, but it signified Upton breaking out of an
early season slump with a bang, something that is needed
for this D-backs team. If Upton can get going, the
Snakes will start to get going as well.

Villain of the Series:

This series’ villain award goes to Phillies right fielder,
Hunter Pence. Pence missed Monday’s game with a shoulder
injury, and although he could barely lift his arm over his
head, he hit a crippling two-run home run on Tuesday and
had two RBIs on Wednesday to aid in the Phillies’ two
victories.

Kirk Gibson Quote of the Series

“He’s swinging the bat good right now, I don’t know how
it’s going to shake out at the end of the year. Right now
he’s swinging good, and playing good.” – On Cody Ransom’s
performance since being called up.

Player of the Series:

I’m going to give the POTS award to Ransom. The
recently-promoted infielder hit .375 with a double, a home
run and RBI. His bat has energized the lineup and helped
fill the void left in the offense with Chris Young out.

Best Moment of the Series:

For me, the best moment of this series was in the
beginning of the game Monday. The D-backs mascot, Baxter,
was doing his usual pregame ride around the outfield on
his jeep. Suddenly a fan with a huge Phillies flag waved
the flag in the mascots face. After riding by, Baxter
turned around and pointed at the fan as if to say he was
coming for him. Sure enough, in the top of the 4th, after
the D-backs had scored 7 runs, Baxter found the fan in
left field and covered him with silly string and D-backs
colored glitter. I don’t know why I always find Baxter so
entertaining, but I do. So as I have said before, kudos to
you Baxter. Kudos indeed.

The Road Ahead:

The Diamondbacks take to the road and continue their stint
against the NL East as they head to Miami for a four-game
series with the Marlins. Look for Miguel Montero to be
very active trying to catch Marlins runners stealing,
because if Jose Reyes gets on base, you know he’ll have
the green light.