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D-backs find success in the month of May, take strides after sluggish start to 2014 season

For the 2014 version of the Arizona Diamondbacks, April showers certainly brought about May flowers. Or at the very least, noticeable improvement.

After an abysmal 9-22 start to the campaign, the calendar change seemed to do wonders for Kirk Gibson’s squad.

In May, Arizona finished above .500 at 14-13, won six of nine series and saw marketable progress across the board.

Following a month that put the D-backs’ pitching staff virtually at the bottom of every major statistical category, things seemed to definitely pick up on the mound.

Over the 27-game stretch, Arizona pitchers finished 11th in the league with a combined ERA (3.65), 11th in WHIP (1.25), 13th in opponent on-base percentage (.312) and 14th in total bases allowed (391).

With the infusion of rookie Chase Anderson into the rotation and increased production out of Bronson Arroyo and Josh Collmenter, the D-backs’ rotation showed signs of life that were missing throughout the team’s unfortunate stumble out of the gates.

The five-man unit combined to go 11-6 with 13 quality starts in 25 total appearances.

D-backs rotation by the numbers:

Pitcher Appearances  Record Team Record  ERA  Walks  Strikeouts Quality Starts
Brandon McCarthy 6 1-2 2-4 4.87 4 29 3
Wade Miley 5 1-2 1-4 4.06 9 27 4
Josh Collmenter 5 3-0 4-1 2.90 5 17 2
Bronson Arroyo 6 3-2 4-2 2.50 6 27 4
Chase Anderson 3 3-0 3-0 4.15 4 11 0

But as a team, Arizona didn’t just turn things around on the mound.

While collectively they weren’t necessarily a more potent offensive team in the month of May than they were in April, several everyday players in the D-backs’ lineup broke out at the plate.

Although A.J. Pollock suffered a fracture in his right hand on the final night of the month, no player had a bigger impact with the bat in May than Arizona’s center fielder.

The 26-year-old hit .375 with 10 RBI, 16 extra-base hits and a .427 on-base percentage.

Additionally, Martin Prado busted out of his slump at the dish, hitting .262 with three home runs, seven extra-base hits and 15 RBI.

And although his average fell 29 points in May, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had no problem picking up the slack power-wise given the absence of Mark Trumbo.

The reigning National League MVP runner-up smashed six home runs, 10 doubles and 20 RBI in the month.

D-backs offense by the numbers:

Month Games Runs Hits Home Runs RBI Walks Strikeouts BA On-Base Slugging OPS
April/March 31 117 263 23 110 75 238 .245 .300 .379 .679
May 27 107 241 25 101 63 205 .256 .309 .404 .713

Notable Moments:

• D-backs scored a franchise-high 18 runs in an 11-run rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers May 17. In the blowout, Arizona torched reigning Cy Young Award-winner Clayton Kershaw for seven runs in the second inning.

• A.J. Pollock was named National League co-Player of the Week with Yasiel Puig May 19 after going 11-of-22 at the plate with a .909 slugging percentage.

• Pollock recorded the D-backs’ second walk-off home run of the season, going yard off of Kevin Quackenbush for a game-winning, two-run shot against the San Diego Padres May 26.

• Chase Anderson became the first Arizona rookie to win in each of his three starts after going five innings in a 12-2 pound of the San Diego Padres May 28. In Anderson’ third career victory, the D-backs also set a franchise record with eight runs in the first inning.

In the same game, Paul Goldschmidt also made a little noise of his own, hitting the team’s longest home run of the season (470 feet) off the Chase Field scoreboard.

• Josh Collmenter became the second D-back to face the minimum in a complete-game, three-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds May 29.