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Touch ‘Em All: D-backs take two of three from Padres

Talk about making me eat my words…

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.

Series Awards

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.