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The Arizona Diamondbacks could do without seeing a rookie named Yasmani Grandal again anytime soon. Grandal powered his San Diego Padres to a 8-6 win on Independence Day, and more demoralizing for the D-backs, a fifth straight loss in being swept in a three-game series by the Padres for the first time ever in Phoenix.
The fourth-place team in the NL West, by a large margin at that, ripped three important games from Arizona at Chase Field, Wednesday's in front of a sellout crowd of 48,819.
"San Diego played well but we made mistakes this whole series," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Grandal's swinging a hot bat right now... They outplayed us, outpitched us, outhit us."
Grandal, batting for starting catcher John Baker against standout D-backs reliever David Hernandez in the top of the eighth inning, made Padres manager Bud Black look like a genius for the move, hitting a towering drive to right field that Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton got to with a leap and his glove over the fence. But the ball fell away for a home run after hitting Upton's glove. For Grandal, who'd homered Monday in the series opener, it was the fourth home run in six total major-league hits after being called up just last Saturday and his was the key hit of the game.
The ball eluding his glove was just part of a rough Fourth of July for Upton.
Jason Kubel's three-run home run, lined over the fence down the right-field line on the first pitch he saw from the Padres' Jason Marquis with one out in the first inning, gave the Diamondbacks a 3-1 lead. But the Padres, easy winners the previous two nights, battled back against D-backs ace Ian Kennedy.
Yonder Alonso hit a long single to drive in Alexi Amarista to make it 3-2 with two out in the third, and Marquis helped himself with a two-out double off Kennedy to drive in Evereth Cabrera in the fourth.
The Diamonbacks scuffled against Marquis after the first inning. Marquis set down 12 Diamondbacks in a row after the third inning, a string only broken up in the bottom of the seventh when pinch hitter Gerardo Parra singled to right with one out.
San Diego led 4-3 at that point. Parra, the ignitor that he often is, stole second and came home on WIllie Bloomquist's base hit to tie the score. Parra clapped his hands with delight before he reached home plate.
That was the end of the night for Marquis, who went 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts.
Kennedy was taken off the hook for a loss, but it wasn't his most effective effort. He was tagged for four runs on nine hits in seven innings, but walked just one and struck out five.
Bloomquist was on second base with All-Star Final Vote candidate Aaron Hill up. Hill hit a screaming line drive that looked headed for the left -field corner before it hooked just foul. Padres reliever Luke Gregerson struck out Hill, and fanned Upton for the third out of the inning.
Upton left at least one runner in scoring position on base three times on his 0-for-5 night, and after that strikeout in the seventh got a loud chorus of boos.
"Nobody wants to be booed," Gibson said. "He played his tail off."
It got worse for the D-backs (39-42). With Bryan Shaw in to pitch in the top of the ninth, Chris Denorfia doubled for the Padres, hustled to third on a sacrifice attempt by Amarista, and turned the corner for home when Shaw fielded the bunt from Amarista and threw wildly to up the left field line.
Amarista scored on Alonso's double, and the deficit was too much to overcome for the Diamondbacks.
Kirk Gibson statrted his pregame press briefing Wednesday with a question. Which two U.S. presidents signed the Declaration of Independence?
The answer: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
"Hahaha! That was dirty!" a clearly-in-good-mood Gibson said.
After offering his take on the meaning of Independence Day to him -- "it'll go on forever" -- Gibson said starting pitcher Joe Saunders will have a rehab assignment for his strained left shoulder somewhere soon. Even though Saunders "is not real happy about it," Gibson said.
It's no news that the D-backs haven't played entirely to expectations so far but what grades have they earned in each department?
Left-handed starting pitcher Joe Saunders threw 51 pitches on Tuesday in a simulated start and said that he is ready to go and that he wants to join the starting rotation once again. He was scratched from his start on June 22 against the Chicago Cubs when he was unable to get his shoulder loose and was placed in the 15-day disabled list.
"It felt great," Saunders said after the work. "It felt great to get back on the mound. It was a little weird throwing to my own hitters, but they said it was coming out good. My arm felt amazing so hopefully I can get back out there ASAP."
The team may want him to make a rehab start in the minor leagues on Sunday, but Saunders does not want to.
"I want to come here and pitch for the club and start contributing again," Saunders said. "I don't know what the plan is, but we'll talk about that. I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I can pitch soon like even this week so we'll cross that bridge when we have to."
All signs point to his return to the rotation after the All-Star Break, but it sounds like he wants back in now. Since he last played on June 16, he is already eligible to return. His spot in the rotation, currently occupied by Trevor Bauer, comes up again on Sunday, the D-backs' final game before the break.
Bauer has struggled in his two starts in the big leagues so far, but Kirk Gibson has said that he will keep the rotation as it is and reevaluate after the All-Star Game. My guess? Bauer gets the start on Sunday, but if he continues to struggle will be sent back down to Triple-A.
If Bauer pitches well, Saunders still comes back, Bauer moves to Collmenter's spot and Collmenter goes back to the bullpen, with Patrick Corbin getting optioned back to the minors.
Saunders started the season pitching very well and was lights out in the last half of the season in 2011. If Arizona wants to make the postseason, they will need to lean on his pitching and veteran experience.
The Arizona Diamondbacks continued to struggle at home on Tuesday night to the last place San Diego Padres, losing by a score of 9-5. The D-backs trailed 8-0 at one point, and a grand slam from Jason Kubel was simply not enough as Ross Ohlendorf picked up the win after Andrew Cashner exited with an apparent arm injury.
Trevor Bauer made his second start of the season and was unable to get out of the fourth inning. Bauer lasted just 3.1 innings on the mound, allowing seven runs (six earned) to score on six hits and four walks. He struck out four and threw a total of 80 pitches. Patrick Corbin came in and pitched very well out of the bullpen, throwing 4.1 innings of one-run ball. He surrendered just four hits and walked a batter.
Yonder Alonso hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give San Diego an early 2-0 lead. The Padres scored five runs in the fourth inning, headlined by a bases-clearing double from Chase Headley. Cameron Maybin added an insurance run in the fifth with an RBI-single to left field.
The afore mentioned Kubel sent a ball over the right field wall in the bottom of the fifth for a grand slam, cutting the deficit to 8-4.
After the Padres added on another run in the eighth, the D-backs had a few chances to rally in the later innings. Unfortunately for the club they were unable to scratch across any more runs until the ninth when Paul Goldschmidt singled home Justin Upton to make the score 9-5. Miguel Montero then struck out for the final out of the night.
The start of Trevor Bauer's career isn't quite what he and Diamondbacks fans everywhere expected. While there's no denying the kid has some filthy stuff on the mound, he's still learning how to pitch to professional hitters at this level.
Making his second start on Tuesday night against the Padres, who have scored the fewest runs in baseball this season, Bauer failed to get out of the fourth inning.
Through 7.1 innings this season against the Braves and Padres, Bauer has allowed nine runs (eight earned) to score. He's given up 11 hits and seven walks, striking out nine in the process. He's also averaging about 23 pitches per-inning thus far, which is not going to do him or the D-backs bullpen any favors.
It's important to remember Bauer is still very young and has a very bright future ahead of him, but he's taking some licks right now.
For more on Bauer and the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit.
Trevor Bauer, the young phenom pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is prepared to make his debut at Chase Field come Tuesday night. The crowds are expected to be in high attendance, not only because they will have the 4th of July off, but because they want to watch the young player do what he does best -- pitch.
Despite only throwing a limited amount of pitches in his first start, the young man is not lacking any confidence. Instead, he plans not to worry, opting to take his first year in the bigs day by day. He said so as much before Monday's game against the Padres.
When asked if he was nervous when taking the mound for the first time, Bauer gave a quick "no", putting any doubters to rest. And have no doubts about Bauer making that start either, despite his nagging groin injury.
Bauer's groin has been something that has bothered him all year, but he doesn't plan to let it distract him. "I've dealt with it all season, it's been something that has nagged. I thought I had gotten rid of it and it kind of popped up again," Bauer said. "I haven't missed a start and it feels completely fine today, so I'll be ready to go."
His teammates and manager seem to feel he will be ready to go as well. Before the game, Daniel Hudson was speaking to the press in the clubhouse in full support of his new, young teammate. "He's got all the tools to be a good major league pitcher. Obviously the expectations are high and sometimes those aren't fair, you know? So he's always going to be under a microscope. Like I said, he's got unbelievable stuff and obviously great makeup as well, so it's going to be fun to watch."
His new manager, Kirk Gibson shared Huddy's sentiments:
"I would say when I played, I wasn't nervous either. Yet I had this feeling in my gut. It's just how I always felt when I competed. Some people call that nervous, some people call that ready to go."
Bauer looked composed at the podium as well, addressing the Arizona media for the first time after coming out of a major league outing. He answered every question asked of him thoroughly and thoughtfully. He seemed as if he would have been ready to go right then and there if asked to do so. That's what makes a baseball player great.
"I never really doubted myself. I don't think, as an athlete, you can ever really go into a contest doubting yourself and hoping it turns out for the best. You have to go in planning and knowing that it's going to turn out for the best. If it doesn't, then you make the adjustments and go in with that cockiness next time."
Since trading for Trevor Cahill, the young 24 year old has certainly had his ups and downs as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. His ERA currently sits at 3.63 on the season and his WHIP is a manageable 1.30. Going up against the Padres on Monday night, many would have expected that he would fare well against a struggling ball club. That wasn't the case, as Cahill got the loss in a 6-2 Diamondbacks defeat.
When simply asked what seemed to be the problem, Cahill had an equally simple answer. "I just really didn't feel comfortable out there the whole game. They were swinging early and I couldn't get my off-speed over for strikes, so I had to go fastballs. With an aggressive team like that, if they know what's coming, they're going to hit it. A lot of the pitches they hit were off-speed pitches, hanging up. A lot of the times I was just falling behind."
All of that came to fruition when Cahill threw Cameron Maybin a 3-1 fastball. Maybin then proceeded to blast it deep to left-center field. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the ball traveled approximately 485 feet, the longest hit ball in the majors this season and the fourth longest hit at Chase Field all-time.
The fact is, Cahill gave up just two earned runs as a pitcher. It may have been his work as a fielder that ended up sinking the Diamondbacks. In the sixth inning, a ball was hit sharply to Paul Goldschmidt, forcing Cahill to run over and cover first base. A pretty routine play, sure, but it had a less than routine ending. Cahill took his eye off the ball, allowing the runner to stay safe. Eventually, this error led to two more unearned runs.
"I just kind of took my eye off of it at the last second to look down and make sure I got the bag. I just didn't look it all the way in," Cahill said.
His manager, Kirk Gibson was none too pleased with that play either.
"He pitched okay, but he made an important error and it cost us two runs," Gibby said. "We were on a string here where we were playing really good defense, now we've been kicking it around a little bit and fundamentally tonight we did not play good at all."
Over the past seven games, the Diamondbacks have committed a total of eight errors after having not given up one in an 11 game streak, the most in franchise history. The offense and pitching can be as good as possible, but if the team is committing errors, that could be the crushing blow. For the Diamondbacks, on Monday night, that was exactly the case.
The Diamondbacks are on a mission. They want to enter the All-Star break playing solid baseball because after the intermission, it will be a race to the finish line with the Dodgers and the Giants. They know full well that they better collect as many wins as possible while they still can.
That mission took a stumble Monday night as the Diamondbacks fell to the San Diego Padres 6-2.
To begin the game, starting Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Cahill gave up an early home run to Alexi Amarista. After that, he looked pretty solid up until the sixth inning, keeping his pitch count down and batters at bay. The seam of the baseball came undone in the sixth when Cameron Maybin rocketed a home run to center-left field, sparking a three run inning for the Padres.
Cahill would be replaced in the seventh after pitching six innings and giving up 2 earned runs. He was relieved by Mike Zagurski, who allowed a home run to Yasmani Grandal. Brad Ziegler started pitching for the D-backs in the ninth, but was unable to finish the inning after walking in a runner with the bases loaded.
The Diamondbacks, as has been the norm lately, failed to score any runs early on. It took until the sixth inning for them to finally touch Padres pitcher Clayton Richard, who had a fantastic night on the mound. He allowed Willie Bloomquist and Aaron Hill to get on second and third base with no outs. Paul Goldschmidt knocked Bloomquist in off a sac fly, but the Padres escaped the inning with just one run tallied against them.
Chris Young tacked on another home run, his eighth of the season, in the bottom of the seventh, making it a 5-2 game. After that, the scoring was finished for the night and Richard just missed a complete game by one out.
Cahill has allowed 12 earned runs in his past 3 starts, increasing his season ERA to 3.63. Monday night's loss was not entirely his fault, though. If the D-backs want to contend for the NL West crown, they'll need to start putting some runs on the board.
Many fans feel that Aaron Hill was snubbed in not securing a starting All-Star spot on the NL roster at second base. Instead, the Atlanta Braves will be sending Dan Uggla to fill that role. But if you ask Hill, it really doesn't seem to bother him all that much.
"It is what it is. If they call it (your name) great, if they don't great. It's one of those things where if you get the experience to make an All-Star team, which, fortunately, I was a few years ago, it's something you never forget. You cherish it because you don't know if you're ever going to get the chance again," Hill said.
Hill joked that when he heard his name called in the final five along with Chipper Jones, a future Hall of Famer, he didn't really like his chances.
Wade Miley, on the other hand, was full of enthusiasm when he was told he was going to be attending the Midsummer Classic... in uniform. The team told him in a very unique way, which was actually very funny. Closer J.J. Putz asked him a few questions that pertain to his timeless 'Words With Wade' activity.
First, he was asked where the Kansas City Royals play. He replied with Missouri, which was correct. Then, he was asked how to spell "All-Star" and then proceeded to do so, once again, correctly. It took a couple of nudges after that, but he finally got the hint. He realized he had been selected to participate in the game.
He almost seemed giddy sitting up there at the podium on Monday afternoon to discuss the trip he will be taking to Kansas City. "I mean, it's kind of surreal. I'm really excited, you're just glad to hear your name called with the guys, mentioned with those players on the All-Star team. I'm happy as I could be I guess."
Most of all, both players reminded everyone that it's more about the team, not the individual accolades. Just five games out of first place in the NL West, the D-backs will look to come back from the All-Star break refreshed and ready to play for the pennant.
"You look at the statistics and there's a few guys that could be up there," Hill said. "You look at (Paul) Goldschmidt, (Jason) Kubel, you know. It's been a fun first half, there's been some ups and downs, but overall we're right there and we continue to get better."
Miley has similar thoughts:
"You try to keep it to the team's perspective, you know? We're five games out right now, it's the All-Star break. We're going to try and create some momentum. After the break, we're in a pennant race."
The Arizona Diamondbacks return back home this week to take on the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team is looking to make one last big surge before heading into the All-Star break, where Wade Miley will be headed to Kansas City to showcase his talents.
There is quite a bit of news to get to, so let's jump right in...
Geoff Blum has been activated from the 60-day DL and will be available to play right away, according to manager Kirk Gibson. He did not rule out the possibility of Blum playing in a pinch-hitter role tonight.
Take his place on the disabled list is John McDonald, who told Gibson that he could not play over the weekend, even though he was penciled in to play. He will make his way to the 15-day DL with an oblique strain. Gibby stressed the fact that he could be back in as soon as just a few days.
Daniel Hudson, as you probably know by now, tore his UCL and will require Tommy John surgery. He is scheduled to go under the knife next Monday with Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Joe Saunders apparently feels healthy once again and ready to go. Gibby said that he will, "throw some live BP tomorrow (Tuesday)." The team will look for any oddities or pains that he may experience during the batting practice session to determine whether or not he will make a rehab start or be thrown right back into the rotation. Gibby stated that they will be looking out for his "long-term health", so it doesn't appear that they will push him too hard to get back.
As for Takashi Saito, Gibson said while leaving the interview room that he has apparently gotten over his illness, but now his shoulder hurts. The extent of that injury is unknown, but it still doesn't sound like he will be in the big leagues for some time.
Below are the lineups for tonight. As you may have noticed, Jason Kubel has the night off. This has nothing to do with him fouling the ball off his knee over the weekend, but Gibby just said that, "he was already going to give him a day off."
"He's been grinding, he's been pushing. You can tell. The other night, he struck out four times. He's been going so good for us, he needs the day off," Gibson said of Kubel.
Stephen Drew also has the night off after playing four of the six games during the road trip. "He played Saturday night and Sunday during the game. I was really happy about that... Hopefully he'll be okay to play tomorrow," Gibby said. Gibson also said he wishes Drew would have been more productive, but noted that it is tough after coming back to the majors after a year layoff.
A couple of other quick notes:
Josh Collmenter is still scheduled to make his next start. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, as Gibson did say that he prefers him as a long reliever.
When asked if Trevor Bauer will be up in the majors for some time, Gibby said that the plan is for him to be with the D-backs for the remainder of the year, barring some unforeseen injury. I will have a bit more news on Bauer after the game.
Willie Bloomquist (SS)
Aaron Hill (2B)
Justin Upton (RF)
Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
Miguel Montero (C)
Chris Young (CF)
Ryan Roberts (3B)
Gerardo Parra (LF)
Trevor Cahill (P)
Will Venable (RF)
Alexi Amarista (2B)
Chase Headly (3B)
Carlos Quentin (LF)
Yasmani Grandal (C)
Yonder Alonso (1B)
Cameron Maybin (CF)
Everth Cabrera (SS)
Clayton Richard (P)
An array of thoughts about the Diamondbacks and their pitching staff.
Remember earlier in the season when playing at home was a hard thing to do for the Arizona Diamondbacks? That has disappeared. Once over .500 on the road and under .500 at home, things have changed. They now are 20-17 at home and will play their final seven games before the All-Star Break at Chase Field to play the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Next are the Padres, who have won two straight and six of 10, but are sitting at 30-50 on the season. They are dead last in the National League in batting average and runs scored. Their pitching, though has been average. Their team ERA is one spot ahead of Arizona in the NL at 3.88. Arizona's is 4.01.
Arizona's offense has been deadly the past month at home, though. They scored 88 runs in 12 home games in June. Over the entire month, they batted .279, good for second in the NL and were third in scoring runs.
Five regular position players (Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero, Justin Upton and Willie Bloomquist) all batted over .300 for the month. Jason Kubel batted .289, but led the league with 27 RBI in June.
However, San Diego seems to give the D-backs trouble every season. This season, though, Arizona has won four of the six games they have played.
Arizona will send Trevor Cahill, Trevor Bauer and Ian Kennedy to the mound. Bauer will be making his second career major league start and will be seeking a better out than his debut, which only lasted four innings.
Here are the game schedules and pitching probables:
Monday, July 2 6:40 PM: Clayton Richard (5-8, 3.77) vs. Trevor Cahill (6-6, 3.67)
Tuesday, July 3 6:40 PM: Andrew Cashner (3-3, 3.63) vs. Trevor Bauer (0-0, 4.50)
Wednesday, July 4 6:40 PM: Jason Marquis (1-4, 3.06) vs, Ian Kennedy (6-7, 4.20)
Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are 6-4 in their last 10 and 39-39 overall, good for the middle of the standings in the NL West.
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