Record: 72-59. Pace: 89-73. Change on last year: +20. Magic Number: 29.
Was it really just a couple days ago when everything in the world was wrong? When it felt like the Diamondbacks were the worst team possible, and were punting away their division lead? After opening with a win against Roy Halladay and the Phillies, the Diamondbacks proceeded to go on a 6 game losing streak. I'm sure you remember it. They were standing 1-6 on a hellish roadtrip, and the Giants suddenly were winning again. The offense had a historically bad week, and we all felt the doom and gloom closing in.
Then the Diamondbacks played the Nationals, and all was right in the world. That isn't to say the Nats are a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. They have some good players, and one of the best home records. The Diamondbacks looked awful, and weren't scoring any runs. But after today we end the last hard roadtrip of the year at 4-6. That's not too bad.
Things didn't look to good for Arizona to start the game. Wade Miley, in only his second start of his big league career, struggled early and left the game after 6 innings. But by some miracle, namely some timely pitching and good defense, he didn't give up any runs. Take a look at this ugly line: 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 walks (!), but 4 strikeouts. Every inning the Nationals threatened to score, getting a runner in scoring position with only 1 out or less for the first 3 inning.
It's been a theme for the Nationals this series, the team couldn't get a break when they had runners in scoring position. Instead they would continually find ways to end the inning, growing an ugly amount of runners left on base. They would finally score a RISP in the 7th, but that would be it for the hapless Nats.
The Diamondbacks didn't start the game much better. Instead of getting guys on like the home team, Arizona just wasn't getting much going. Through the first 5 innings the team couldn't piece anything together, and their best chance was in the first inning with two runners on with no outs. Justin Upton was up at the plate and hit a ball right at the shortstop, and Ryan Roberts was caught leaning the wrong way at second to complete an odd double play and kill the threat. Another double play, this time in the 4th with Aaron Hill, killed another chance.
Finally in the 6th inning the Diamondbacks broke out. Upton got things going, as he often seems to, by getting a single. Chris Young was up next, and he's showing signs of breaking out of his second half slump. He didn't even take a pitch before launching one into the left field bleachers to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead.
After this point it was all Diamondbacks. They would score another 3 in the 8th inning. Again Upton would lead off, this time with a walk, and he was brought home by a Miguel Montero double. Paul Goldschmidt stepped up, and put up a battle. It didn't seem he was going to win this one, and then with the count full he launched a ball out of the ballpark, to put the score at 5-1. I don't believe there's been a longer home run in Washington since Mickey Mantle hit a home run out of Griffith Stadium into someone's yard in 1953. Okay, maybe it wasn't that long, but man was it a blast.
The D-backs then grabbed tacos and then some in the top of the 9th. Gerardo Parra hit a single, then promptly stole a base. He advanced to third on an error by the Washington second baseman Danny Espinosa, which also allowed Upton to reach for the 3rd time in the game. Young knocked a sacrifice fly to left that easily scored Parra. Miggy wanted to join in the fun, and get another RBI, so he hit a single to bring Upton home. And then Montero was brought in with an Aaron Hill single, his first hit for the Diamondbacks. Just like that Arizona was up 8-1, and the game was over.
So it's safe to say the Diamondbacks are flying high again, or at least for now. The offense was clicking, using home runs, manufactured runs, and good old back-to-back singles to get going. The pitching was good enough, with Miley and 4 relievers combining to give up only 1 run. Once the relievers came in, things were largely under control outside of Bryan Shaw, who let in the lone run and left a mess for Brad Ziegler. The relievers scattered 3 hits over the remaining 4 innings, nabbed 3 strikeouts and didn't walk anyone.
Rogue Squadron: Wade Miley (34.5%)
Wraith Squadron: Chris Young (24%), Brad Ziegler (18.7%), Paul Goldschmidt (13.8%), Miguel Montero (11.3%)
Gold Squadron: Bryan Shaw (-22.6%)
Talon Squadron: Aaron Hill (-14.4%), Justin Upton (-6.5%)
A busy Game Day Thread, with 49 people chatting up 1151 posts as the Diamondbacks cruised to a victory. Top poster goes to imstillhungry95 with 117. The only other member of the Century Club was myself, and we were joined by: snakecharmer, Bcawz, SenSurround, Jim Mclennan, AZDBACKR, kishi, 4 Corners Fan, CaptainCanuck, Skii, justin1985, Backin'the'Backs, asteroid, Rockkstarr12, Zavada's Moustache, Wactivist, SongBird, blue bullodg, Clefo, BulldogsNotZags, Baseballdad, hotclaws, TRTFSHR, Bryn21, luckycc, diamondfacts, rfffr, porty99, Husk, Muu, Augdogs, iheartdbacks, Brian MacKinney, Dallas D'back Fan, blank_38, NASCARbernet, DivineWolfwood, Cardscrazy247, GuruB, since_98, Sprankton, mrssoco, Jargamus Prime, TinySarabia, dbacks25, marionette, Stile4aly, and BattleMoses.
Comment of the day goes to Zavada's Moustouche, for something I didn't know whether I should rec or flag. It's in reference to Miley's less than stellar start:
So that ends the Road Trip From Hell. We went 4-6, and have a 2.5 game lead in the division (pending the results of the Giants game). The Diamondbacks come home to take on the Padres for three games. We don't need to get a sweep, we just need to get the series wins going again. If you're in Phoenix, go to a game or two this weekend. You'll thank me.