In the Arizona Diamondbacks’ prolonged quest to get over the .500 mark, this week’s series with the Philadelphia Phillies looms as quite the golden opportunity.
One game in, and things are looking pretty good.
Yasmany Tomas, Welington Castillo and A.J. Pollock all homered, as the D-backs routed the Phillies 13-3 in front of 16,495 fans at Chase Field Monday night. The victory moves Arizona to 55-56 on the year with two more games against Philadelphia on the schedule in the next 48 hours.
Why is that a big deal? Because the Phillies (45-68) have one of the worst records in all of baseball. And if the Diamondbacks continue to take care of business against them like they did Monday, they might be able to finally leap past .500 for the first time since they were 8-7 back on April 22.
Granted, there’s a lot of baseball to be played, but Arizona delivered a tremendous effort to open the three-game series with Philadelphia. Especially the hitters, who came alive after a relatively low-scoring series with Cincinnati.
In the three games against the Reds over the weekend, the D-backs managed a total of seven runs. On Monday, they plated six in the sixth inning alone.
When all was said and done, nine different Arizona players had scored at least one run, and five had delivered multiple RBI.
– Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI in the third inning was the 382nd of his career, moving him past Matt Williams into sole possession of fifth place on the club’s all-time list.
– Pollock has now reached base in 31 of his last 33 games, hitting a robust .331 (43-for-130) over that span.
– Jake Lamb is batting .367 (11-for-30) in his last nine contests.
– David Peralta is getting the job done in the cleanup spot. In the 50 games where he has batted fourth, he’s hitting .331 (58-for-175) with 11 doubles, three triples, six homers and 34 RBI.
– As a team, the Diamondbacks clubbed three triples. In all, they had nine extra-base hits.
– Pinch-hitting for Rubby De La Rosa in the sixth, Jamie Romak doubled home Nick Ahmed, then later scored. That marked his first hit, RBI and run with Arizona.
– The D-backs committed two errors. On a night when they won by 10, that’s about it for the “bad” category.
STAT OF THE GAME
8: Number of home runs Castillo has hit in his last 12 games. He’s been one of the hottest hitters in the National League since coming over from the Mariners in the Mark Trumbo trade.
HE SAID IT
“He was fine. We asked him what the score was and he looked up at the scoreboard. We said that was cheating. So then we asked him what he did in his last at-bat and he knew he hit a home run, so we knew he was okay.” – D-backs manager Chip Hale talking about Castillo getting hit in the head.
– Goldschmidt’s intentional walk in the sixth inning was his 24th of the season. To put that in perspective, Bryce Harper is second in the NL with 11 intentional walks. And the 24 by Goldschmidt ties Luis Gonzalez for the single-season club record. Thing is, Goldschmidt still has 51 more games to break that record.
– Archie Bradley celebrated his 23rd birthday Monday.
The two clubs will reunite for the second game of this three-game set Tuesday evening at Chase Field. Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound for Arizona, while David Buchanan gets the call for Philadelphia. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Hellickson (7-8) will be making his first ever start against the Phillies. He had a rough time in his last outing, allowing four earned runs over 4.2 innings in an 8-3 loss to the Nationals on Aug. 6. He’s been on fire at home lately though, going 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA over his last six starts at Chase Field.
Buchanan (2-6) was lit up to the tune of seven runs over four frames in his last start, falling to the Dodgers 10-8 on Aug. 6. He picked up the win in his two appearances prior to that though — his first two victories of the year. Tuesday will mark the first time he’s ever face the D-backs.
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