ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks role players are stepping up big this year

Jun 25, 2017, 6:50 AM | Updated: Jun 27, 2017, 7:17 pm
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
(AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks have been a vastly improved team from 2016 despite having mostly the same players with no major changes.

Players like Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Chris Owings and Zack Greinke have all been performing well this season, but the key to the team’s success may lie in the play of the deeper cuts on this roster.

Gregor Blanco, Rey Fuentes, Daniel Descalso, Zack Godley and Randall Delgado have all stepped up to bolster the team through the injuries of key players like A.J. Pollock and Shelby Miller or in relief of current starters as manager Torey Lovullo shuffles the lineup to keep players fresh.

Blanco has been a blessing in the leadoff spot replacing Pollock. He has reached base safely in nine of his last 10 appearances, and is hitting .286 in his last 19 starts with a pair of home runs and four RBI. His speed on the base path and in center field has been an asset to this team.

Fuentes is hitting .359 in his last 14 games, belting his first career home run on June 18th against the Phillies. He’s another fast, versatile player that has provided the D-backs with options in critical game situations.

Descalso has been a pleasant surprise in left field in the absence of Yasmany Tomas. He has reached safely in 19 of his last 23 starts and is hitting .400 in games where he has appeared as pinch hitter.

He’s also been outstanding at home when the team wasn’t last season, with 17 of his 22 RBI coming at Chase Field.

As far as pitching goes, few have been better in a substitute role as a starting pitcher in MLB than Godley. He is 3-1 in nine starts and 57 innings pitched with a 2.53 ERA and 52 strikeouts. You could even say he’s a step up from Miller’s 4.09 ERA.

Godley’s ground ball inducing pitching style factors in at a hitter friendly park like Chase Field as he has only given up 16 home runs this season.

Another pitcher who has shined when called upon in injury situations has been Delgado. In five starts this year, he has a 3.15 ERA with 20 strikeouts.

The D-backs’ team-centric philosophy seems to be infectious when it comes to the production from the players on this squad from top to bottom. These players are just an example of what Arizona has done to achieve their current level of consistent success this season.

Penguin Air
Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Lively winds up during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray throws a pitch to the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks mascot Baxter, center, stares down a stormtrooper on "Star Wars Night" prior to a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) A stormtrooper makes fun of Darth Vader, left, on "Star Wars Night" prior to a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Umpire Gary Cederstrom, right, leads other umpires out onto the field as they walk past stormtroopers on "Star Wars Night" prior to a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Lively, second from left, celebrates his two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Tommy Joseph (19), pitching coach Bob McClure, middle, bench coach Larry Bowa, second from right, and manager Pete Mackanin, right, during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray pauses after giving up a two-run home run to Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Lively during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta follows through on an RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Philadelphia Phillies' Maikel Franco follows through on a throw to first base that put out Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Owings as Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt, right, watches during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt (44) celebrates with Daniel Descalso, right, after scoring against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray (38) celebrates after scoring against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Paul Goldschmidt, left, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Lively sits in the dugout after being pulled from the baseball game during the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Lively tosses the baseball after giving up a home run to Arizona Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Philadelphia Phillies' Ben Lively pauses on the mound after giving up a home run to Arizona Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb, left, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta gets hit with a pitch from the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Diamondbacks role players are stepping up big this year