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Ian Kennedy went seven shutout innings to help the Arizona Diamondbacks split their home series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday evening. Kennedy’s performance continued a streak of impressive pitching by the top of the order. He picked up his eleventh win, while interim closer David Hernandez shut things down in the ninth to grab his eighth save in as many chances.
Kennedy did get himself into a couple of messes, included a bases-loaded fifth, but also struck out five.
Justin Upton, who has broken out of a recent 0-for-20 batting slump, only went 1-for-4 on Thursday, but his only hit was a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Miguel Montero added his own solo homer in the fourth, and Kelly Johnson nailed a two-run bomb in the eighth to provide all the offense necessary for the win.
The victory was a welcome bounce back after losing short stop Stephen Drew to a cringe-inducing right ankle injury the previous night, a game that also saw the D-backs unable to capitalize on an ideal situation: tied, bottom of the ninth, with a runner on third and no outs. Arizona ultimately dropped the game and, seemingly, their morale.
Prince Fielder, Arizona’s current arch-nemesis thanks to his decision to snub Upton from the All-Star Home Run Derby, once again struggled, going 0-4, including a three-pitch fan by leftie Joe Paterson in the eighth. Fielder went 1-for-16 in the series.
For more coverage, check out SB Nation’s D-backs blog, AZ Snake Pit.
Editor's update: Here's an official announcement from the team regarding Stephen Drew: "Stephen Drew underwent orthopedic surgery in Phoenix this afternoon to repair a severe right ankle injury he suffered yesterday. Dr. Peter Mitchell MD performed internal plating to the fibula bone and repair of the ligaments torn as his cleats caught the ground twisting the ankle awkwardly. All went as expected, and we are optimistic for a full recovery."
After an admirable comeback for the Diamondbacks, the Brewers rallied in extra innings to defeat Arizona 5-2.
That just wasn't in the cards.
Willie Bloomquist delivered a clutch double off of recently acquired Francisco Rodriguez, tying the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The double was a happy sight for downtrodden D-backs fans, who had already seen starting shortstop Stephen Drew go down with a fractured ankle in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Joe Saunders delivered another quality start for manager Kirk Gibson, giving up two runs over seven innings while striking out two Brewers. Including a rain-shortened outing against St. Louis, Saunders has notched a quality start in 6 of his last 7 outings.
Milwaukee outfielder Carlos Gomez fractured his clavicle in the fourth inning, marking one of the more painful games in recent D-backs history.
After the Arizona bullpen held the Brewers scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, Takashi Saito came in to hold the score for the Brewers. This time, the Milwaukee bullpen held up to form, and Saito overcame a leadoff double from Justin Upton to hold the D-backs scoreless.
Newly called up reliever Ryan Cook came into the game and was not able to handle the pressure cooker. Cook, who came up directly from Double-A, gave up three earned runs to the Brewers without registering an out in his major league debut.
In the bottom of the tenth, the D-backs were unable to make anything happen, and John Axford registered his 26th save of the season.
With the loss, the Diamondbacks fall to 52-46, 4.5 games back of the Giants.
Stephen Drew was called out at home in the bottom of the fourth inning on Wednesday night, but the end result was much more substantial: the Arizona Diamondbacks' star shortstop has fractured his ankle and will be out for at least 4-6 weeks, according to the KTAR 620 AM radio broadcast of the game between the Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers.
For those who missed the live play, here's a snapshot courtesy of CrossingBroad on Twitter:
Judging from this image, it's pretty crystal clear that this wasn't just a simple break. You can tell that his foot is actually facing the opposite direction from where it normally is pointed.
When significant injuries occur, I like to point readers to Conquest Chronicles, who has an excellent database called "The Injury Clinic." According to our USC Trojans blog, ankle fractures can take up to six weeks to heal to the point where physical activity can be resumed.
Based on that timetable, it is unrealistic to expect Stephen Drew back on the Diamondbacks active roster until late September at the earliest. We could be looking at a season-ending injury, folks.
With the loss of Drew, the Diamondbacks will face several crucial decisions as the trade deadline approaches. Is Willie Bloomquist the answer at short for a team that's just four games back of the San Francisco Giants in the pennant race? Or does GM Kevin Towers need to make a significant move to shore up his offense?
KTAR also reported that Cody Ransom, 35-year old journeyman infielder, has been playing shortstop for Triple-A Reno and has been doing quite well -- he is batting .330 with 25 home runs so far in 2011.
It's too soon to think about what the next step is for the D-backs. All we can do tonight is hope that Stephen Drew recovers fully and is able to resume his productive major league career as soon as possible.
Barry Enright's first start after being recalled from AAA Reno did not go exactly as he would have liked it. He allowed five runs in the first inning on three homeruns and only lasted three frames. The bullpen didn't help, allowing three more runs in the sixth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks lose for the first time in four games, falling to the Milwaukee Brewers 11-3 Tuesday night at Chase Field.
In three innings of work, Enright allowed six runs on seven hits, four of which were homers. The three homers in one inning tied a franchise record, something done 11 times in team history. Dan Haren was the last to have that happen last season.
Arizona got two runs in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Justin Upton and a sacrifice fly by Miguel Montero, and pulled the deficit to three runs again in the fifth with an estimated 455-foot bomb by Brandon Allen.
The sixth inning, though, pretty much killed any thought of a rally. Zach Duke, recently demoted to the bullpen, was in his third inning of work in relief of Enright and allowed the first three men to reach base. He was yanked in favor of Yhency Brazoban, who promptly allowed all three runners to score without a hit -- two bases-loaded walks and a hit batsman. Micah Ownings relieved him and got out of the inning without allowing another to come across the plate.
After throwing six innings, Yovani Gallardo gave way to the Brewers bullpen, who shut down Arizona the rest of the way. With the win, Gallardo is now 11-6 on the year while Enright falls to 1-4.
Prince Fielder for the Brewers finished 0-5 on the game with a couple of strikeouts and grounded into a double play.
For Arizona, Justin Upton looks to have come out of his slump. He had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Please visit AZ Snakepit for more Diamondbacks coverage.
Pitcher Barry Enright is set to start tonight for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Milwaukee Brewers in his return to the major leagues. He was called up to replace Zach Duke in the starting rotation, who was moved to the bullpen. Manager Kirk Gibson told the media in his pregame press conference that Enright, while in Reno, "got himself back on track to where he was last year."
It sounds as if Enright, barring complete and utter ineffectiveness, will be with the team for the long haul. "The organization has decided that this is the way we want to go," said Gibson. It is an interesting way to go if it is, in fact, the story during a fairly tight NL West race.
Of course, it would make sense, coming on the heels of what Gibby talked about on Monday. He noted that one of the things that Enright went through last year was pressing some when things got a little rough, and that it is something common for players who start worrying about whether or not they will be sent back down to the minor leagues if they play anything less than what is expected.
To make room for Enright on the roster, the team released reliever Aaron Heilman, who had struggled this season with a 6.88 ERA in 32 appearances. While fans are mostly cheering for this move, it was a very tough move for Gibson.
"I remember what Aaron did for us last year as well as the effort he put in this year," he explained. "He threw over his head, I believe over 70 appearances last year, and it was hard at times last year to find someone who could throw the ball."
Gibson recalled how he was released in 1992 and bounced back to have "three great years after that." He is confident that there will be interest and that he will be successful.
There has been a little bit of noise that right-handed reliever Ryan Cook, currently in AA Mobile, was going to be called up. A teammate tweeted it out, but that tweet has since been deleted. Cook, who previous to this season was a starter in the farm system, has collected 13 saves in 34 appearances. He has an ERA of 2.25 and strikes out more than 10 per nine innings, while walking less than three.
As for the rumor, Gibson really would not comment. All he would say is that "he's not on my lineup card tonight."
Arizona is facing Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo tonight and will attempt to win its fourth straight game. The game begins at 6:40 PM AZT and will be televised on FSN AZ.
For more Arizona Diamondbacks coverage, visit AZ Snakepit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks began a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field Monday night and took the opener 3-0. Rookie starter Josh Collmenter continued his dominance of Milwaukee, going eight innings for his fifth win (5-5) of the season.
David Hernandez pitched the ninth for his ninth save of the season.
It was Collmenter's second consecutive strong outing against the Brewers, as he pitched six scoreless innings in his last start before the All-Star break. In his eight innings of work, he struck out seven hitters and allowed only three hits. He threw 105 pitches and did not walk a man.
Manager Kirk Gibson described the performance, saying Collmenter "threw an exceptional game" and that he "pounded the zone." After saying in his pregame press conference that he was hoping for a complete game from his young pitcher, it never was really an option.
He even considered pulling him after the seventh inning, but decided to let him go back out because Collmenter wanted back out. "You just worry about sometimes doing the right things with these guys," Gibson explained. "But after the eighth inning, we knew he was done and we were going to put David (Hernandez) in. We just didn't want Josh to get in to any trouble."
"I think today was a combination of everything I can do as a pitcher," said Collmenter of his start. "I really had everything working, in and out, changing speeds and that's the key to my game."
Collmenter also continued with his development, adding a curveball a little bit, even getting one strikeout on it. With some chatter by fans and the media that he might be better suited to pitch out of the bullpen and perhaps shore up the middle relief hole the team has, a performance like this demonstrates how important he is as a starter.
Randy Wolf allowed one run unearned run in the third inning, as Henry Blanco scored when Gerardo Parra grounded into a double play and was pretty dominant until the sixth, when he got hit hard. After striking out Parra, Justin Upton was robbed of a hit at the left-center field wall. Chris Young then hit a double and Ryan Roberts homered.
Roberts was looking inside for a pitch from Wolf, because, "the two ABs before he was pitching me in and I got jammed," he explained, noting he did get a hit off of one. "I just told myself I'd sit on one pitch and try to get my timing down on one pitch and not be late."
As Wolf had been hit hard by the two previous batters, Roberts did not believe that his stuff was really any different. "He might have been frustrated, I don't know," Roberts said, "but I just knew he was coming in."
Wolf (6-7) pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and one walk, striking out three and making two throwing errors.
The win was the third in a row for the Diamondbacks, who now sit at 52-44 on the season. With a win by the San Francisco Giants over the LA Dodgers,
There were a few lineup changes announced for Monday's series opener between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers. Regulars Stephen Drew and Kelly Johnson are set to be on the bench tonight as the Brewers send left-hander Randy Wolf to the mound.
When manager Kirk Gibson was asked if Drew was just "getting a day," he simply replied that he's not in the starting lineup, but might come in late in the game "and drive in the winning run."
The rest is probably a combination of the left-hander on the mound and the fact that Drew has been in a bit of a slump. In his last 10 games, he is hitting only .162 and has struck out 10 times in 37 at-bats.
There has been one notable statistic that some might see as reason for concern, and that is the amount of strikeouts. Coming in to this season, general manager Kevin Towers made a concerted effort to cut that number down. They have, but in the three games since the All-Star break, the D-Backs hitters have struck out 32 times. They are fourth in the league in strikeouts.
When asked if the amount of strikeouts were a concern, Gibson's response was a confident "no." "Even if you have good hitting," explains Gibby, "good pitching will shut down good hitting. It always has." He made it clear that hitting comes and goes and striking out will come with that at times.
It appears that, at least for now, there is patience with rookie starter Josh Collmenter to let him develop as a starter. There has been some talk among fans and writers that perhaps Collmenter would be best suited for the bullpen because of his delivery and because of his performance before his win in Milwaukee before the break.
He has lost his last four decisions and in two starts previous to Milwaukee, had given up 11 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings of work.
But when asked what he expects to see from his young right-hander, he answered he wants him to pitch "a complete game, but we know that might not happen."
He downplayed the need for a specific outcome from Collmenter, who threw six shutout frames in his last start, and that there should be any pressure on him. "Whatever happens, we're a team," he said. "It's not on any given individual on any given moment."
As for the team's closer, J.J. Putz, he threw on Sunday and looked good. He threw 17 pitches and was in the 91-92 mph range. He is set to throw on Tuesday. "He'd like to be activated probably," Gibson explained, "but I'd like to be more convinced that we are doing the right thing." If he throws well and feels good after Tuesday, it looks that at that point he would be activated.
This series will be the only one until August 8 in which they are playing a team other than from the NL West. After Milwaukee leaves, Arizona's next 15 will be against division rivals.
Fresh off of a series win against NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks kick off a four-game set at Chase Field against Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers. It is the second series that the Diamondback have against the Brewers in the past two weeks. In their second-to-last series before the All-Star Break, Arizona took two of three games in Milwaukee.
For Brewers star Prince Fielder, he returns to Phoenix, where he was considered the villain of the All-Star Break because he overlooked Justin Upton for the Home Run Derby. He was booed and heckled, and even had water thrown at him in the procession to the stadium while with his family, but was later cheered after his All-Star homer led the National League to a victory over the American League.
The series will mark the beginning of some changes in the starting rotation, as Zach Duke now is part of the bullpen and Barry Enright will replace him in the starting rotation. A roster move will happen on Tuesday to accommodate this. Enright, who began the season as part of the rotation, struggled before being sent down to AAA, but has since pitched pretty well in a league in which hitting rules.
The schedule and pitching matchups for the series are as follows:
All games are televised locally on FSN AZ with the live game thread at AZ Snake Pit.
It was not so very long ago that we Diamondback fans thought of the Milwaukee Brewers as just another National League foe. As a general rule, we regarded them not as hated rivals nor as valued allies, but merely as a pretty good small-market team from the Midwest, not worthy of our consideration outside of the seven or so games per season we played against them. For all I know, some of you have some connection to the Brewers and used to cheer for them whenever they weren't playing the D-Backs.
But that's all in the past now. Ever since Brewers' star Prince Fielder failed to show proper respect to The Justin Upton by spurning him for the Home Run Derby, it has sparked a bitter, hated rivelry that will be renewed on Monday. Already, there have been boos, "We want Upton" chants, and even outright aggression from the same loyal fans who have supported and encouraged Justin Upton by calling him lazy and a punk whenever he stops hitting. And it's all warranted.
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