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Daniel Hudson was a genius in his first game back from the All-Star break. As we approach the one-year mark when interim General Manager Jerry Dipoto pulled of the steal that landed him, Hudson continues to deliver. On Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hudson did it both with his bat and from the mound.
Hudson threw a complete game giving up five hits, no walks and one earned run that came on a wild pitch. From the plate, Hudson hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and in the seventh added two runs when he hit the ball through the left side of the infield with the bases loaded and two outs.
Ryan Roberts added the only other run for the D-backs with a solo home run of his own in the second inning.
Hudson earned his 10th win of the season and the Diamondbacks improve to 51-44 on the season
For more Arizona Diamondbacks coverage, check out AZ Snake Pit, our SB Nation D-backs blog.
The Arizona Diamondbacks scored early and managed to hold on for a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday night. The Diamondbacks avenged a 6-4 loss on Friday night and evened the series 1-1.
The Dodgers scored in the top of the second inning on a Matt Kemp home run to claim an early lead, but the Diamondbacks took command later in the inning on a home run by Brandon Allen to claim a 3-1 lead. Those three runs would turn out to be the entirety of the Diamondbacks' offense for the evening.
A good performance by Ian Kennedy, however, ensured that no more runs would be needed to get the win. Kennedy (10-3) allowed just five hits and two runs in seven innings, picking up seven strikeouts along the way.
The Diamondbacks are now 50-44, just four games back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Arizona will be looking to cut into the Giants' division lead in Sunday's Game 3 against the Dodgers.
Blum and Allen batted sixth and seventh in the D-backs batting order, respectively. Manager Kirk Gibson is hoping that their presence in the lineup will help spur the offense, which has stagnated in recent games.
Blum, 38, is making his season debut after sitting out the first half of the season with a serious knee ailment that culminated in surgery. Allen, on the other hand, is up with the big club after impressing management with his statistics at Triple A-Reno during the first half.
For more Arizona Diamondbacks coverage, check out AZ Snake Pit, our SB Nation D-backs blog.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were hoping to start the second half of the season on a positive note and keep pace with the San Francisco Giants. Instead, they continued a pattern of falling behind early and having to rally late. This time, though, they weren't able to muster enough of a rally and lost to Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 at Chase Field on Friday night.
As it was the first game after almost a week-long layoff, manager Kirk Gibson described the play by both teams as "sloppy." "We made mistakes, they made mistakes," he explained. "But ultimately we weren't able to hold after Joe got out of the game, and that's what cost us the game."
Joe Saunders started out looking solid, but Juan Rivera, making his Dodger debut, got the Dodgers going in the second inning, mashing the first pitch he saw into the left-field seats for a homerun. He also singled and scored in the fourth. Saunders, a former teammate of Rivera in Anaheim, joked after the game that he had forgotten that Rivera "likes to ambush" pitchers early in the count.
Matt Kemp did the rest of the damage for LA, hitting a two-run shot off of Saunders in the sixth and a two-run single off of Aaron Heilman in the seventh, for what would be the decisive scoring in the game.
In the pregame press conference, Gibson talked about the need to get better middle relief help. Heilman's performance reiterates the concern that the team has, saying that they have "got to get to the eighth and ninth" for David Hernandez and J.J. Putz to close out games. However, after the the game he did emphasize that it is "not a panic situation."
The D-Backs rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Chris Young reached on an error and scored on a single by Miguel Montero. Xavier Nady later hit a three-run homer, his third on the season, to pull the team within two.
Kershaw went seven innings for the Dodgers, allowing the four runs, but none were earned. He improved his record to 10-4 on the season while Saunders fell to 6-8, giving up four runs in six innings.
Javy Guerra struck out pinch hitter Brandon Allen looking with two men on for the final out of the game to record the save. It was his fifth of the season. Both Gibson and Allen said that in that situation the pitch "was too close to take."
For more Arizona Diamondbacks coverage, be sure to visit AZ Snakepit.
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall did a lot of interviews during All-Star Weekend, and one of the things he talked about was the hope that the All-Star Game could be what leads to more ticket sales now that the second half of the season has begun.
The Diamondbacks have done their part. They've fielded a competitive team that plays with an upbeat attitude and some grit, and find themselves in second place in the NL West as play began Friday night.
"It gives them (fans) a reason to want to get back to the ballpark and to see our team, especially now that some of the focus will be on the D-backs and seeing that we're in contention and we're in this race," Hall said last week, "it'll add to attendance for the second half no doubt."
Fan or not of this organization, the Diamondbacks have done a great deal to attract fans. They've put out a number of ticket specials, including for this weekend's series against the rival Dodgers. The All-Star Game was a success as was the Home Run Derby. Everyone has their theories for as to why the D-backs struggle to draw consistently large crowds despite how well they are playing.
Perhaps it's just a wait-and-see and folks want to see whether this solid season will hold up into August, or at another point later in the season. Hall, for his part, even admitted he is a bit surprised at how well the team has played in 2011.
"I didn't think our turnaround or recovery would happen this quickly," Hall said. "I knew we were going to, but I'm pleased with where we're at. Now we're all feeling a little bit greedy, now we want more. So hopefully we can stay in this thing and can win it and hopefully get to the playoffs."
Allen, a left-handed batter, will sit against all-star lefty Clayton Kershaw, who is sitting at 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA for the 41-51 Dodgers.
Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Dodgers tomorrow, and you can expect Allen to make his first start of the season against the right-hander.
Allen hit .306 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI for Triple-A Reno during the first half of the season, prompting GM Kevin Towers to promote him as a replacement for the struggling Juan Miranda. As Jess Root reported earlier this evening, Allen will get a lot of playing time for the Diamondbacks, so this is just Gibson playing the match-up tonight.
At the pregame press conference before the Friday game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers to begin the second half of the season, manager Kirk Gibson gave some updates about changes in the pitching rotation and roster in general. He also gave some information regarding some players that are currently injured. The first revelation is that pitcher Barry Enright will replace Zach Duke in the starting rotation beginning Tuesday, while Josh Collmenter will make his start on Monday.
Duke, at least for now, will take a spot in the bullpen, giving the team an extra arm before Enright is called up. They will wait until Tuesday to make the corresponding roster moves.
Gibson also said that Brandon Allen, recently recalled from AAA Reno to replace Juan Miranda, would play "quite a bit." With the addition of Allen and infielder Geoff Blum, it gives Gibson a lot of flexibility on the bench, as the team will have several players who have the capability of playing multiple positions.
As for updates with injuries, reliever Juan Gutierrez is still on the shelf for an undefined amount of time, with issues related to muscles around his elbow, but not the elbow itself. Injured closer J.J. Putz threw on Sunday and Thursday without any issues, and is set to throw again this coming Sunday. They working to get him built up so he can go multiple games in a row.
With the 92 games in the books for Arizona and only 3.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the NL West lead, it will be fun to see what happens with the team in the weeks that are ahead.
The Arizona Diamondbacks made a couple of moves to bolster their lineup during the All-Star break. They dropped the non-productive first baseman, Juan Miranda in favor of giving the minor league star, Brandon Allen a chance. By calling up Geoff Blum in place of Wily Mo Pena they swapped an explosive bat with a sub-.200 average for a switch-hitting contact guy that can play multiple positions in the field.
The offense, however, wasn't really the D-backs problem. The team already ranked in the top-three in the National League in runs scored, home runs, slugging and OPS. In other words, the team already generates plenty of runs from power hitting despite getting nearly nothing from Miranda at first.
The real moves will come (if they come) to the pitching staff. Closer J.J. Putz was supposed to be back from the DL after the break but it looks like he's at least a few days away. Even with Putz healthy and closing well, the bullpen desperately needs another arm. That arm could very well be Josh Collmenter who dominated in relief but struggled as a starter once guys get used to his funky arm angle.
The D-backs however, can't just move Collmenter back to the pen since they also have a problem with their other starter, Zach Duke. Can the team find two more arms to add to the rotation from either the minor league system or trades? We'll know soon enough with the MLB trade deadline fast approaching.
Before we get to all the wheeling and dealing, there's still games to be played. 70 of them left in the regular season and three against the Los Angeles Dodgers of Bud Selig starting Friday. Here's the pitching match ups:
All three games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona with live game threads at AZ Snake Pit.
Series Preview #31: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - AZ Snake Pit
Obviously, the biggest story surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers this season has nothing to do with the nine guys on the diamond, as Major League Baseball took over day-to-day operation of the Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt in April, citing concerns about the team's financial situation. This saga came to a head on June 27, when the team filed for bankrupcy.
Add to this mess the fact that the team itself isn't very good in 2011. The Dodgers head into the second half of the season with a record of 41-51, eleven games out of first in the NL West. And with the team's financials the way that they are, it's likely that they will be sellers at the deadline.