The home-stand ended with a split of the six games, which is probably better than it looked early on. But the big news was probably the signing of catcher Miguel Montero to a long-term deal. Our panel discusses this extension, the games past and future, and cracks open the popcorn in prospect of a trip to the movie theater. Guest panelist DeDxDbacKxJroK joins the team for this round - jjwaltrip and imstillhungry95 are on the waiting list. If you want to join them, simply say so in the comments.
Lost a series to the Dodgers, but bounced back to win one against the Brewers, our first victorious home set since opening weekend. What do you take from the week?DeDxDbacKxJroK: It was solid... Should've been a 4-2 home stand until the Dbacks lost their way in the 2nd game. I've been impressed on how Miley has done and Upton finally shoving the offseason off to heat up!!....mmmm gravy.
Clefo: Take out Tuesday, and all is gravy. However, even including Tuesday, the offense looks a lot better than it has. If the pitching and the offense ever decide to be good at the same time, there might be nice things happening.
Soco: It ended on a nice note, but I'm soured by the Monday game I attended.
Jim: If things had gone slightly different, we could have take both series. We're 7-6 over the past two weeks, which is a sight better than the 4-9 record in the previous fortnight, and seems a sign we are going in the right direction. The offense scored 32 runs in the six games, which is better than it has been - however, we conceded 33, so pitching is still an issue. Good to see the team come back on both Saturday and Sunday, from three and two runs back - that fortitude hasn't been seen often of late
Miguel Montero signed to a long-term extensions. Were you surprised, and do you like the move?
DeDxDbacKxJroK: I was surprised a bit.. The amount of money he wanted, my little conscience told me he may be a free agent at the end of the year.. Thank goodness it as wrong, I love Miggy he's a fantastic catcher and with his skills around the plate we couldn't let him walk. Our depth at catcher in the minors is thin so I'm grateful we have a catcher locked up that can call awesome games, hit, and play great defense.
Clefo: A little surprised, considering the word was that he was all but gone. It might have been a little bit of an overpay, but it beats a catcher related panic this offseason.
Soco: Very surprised, but happy. I like it, as long as he stays healthy.
Jim: More surprised by the timing, given the original plan was to table discussions during the season. So for them to start up again less than two months later was unexpected. Glad the deal got done, though it's probably a year or two longer than I would have wanted to commit to, catchers (and their knees!) being what they are. He did have the team over a barrel: no minor-league alternatives worth speaking of, and any free-agent or trade would cost an arm and a leg.
Daniel Hudson came back off the DL to start on Sunday. How much of a boost is this?
DeDxDbacKxJroK: Having Huddy back is phenomenal as it brings the rotation closer and better, but more importantly brings a boost to morale that one of our pitchers who had an excellent year last season is back and ready to help turn this ship in the right direction... With his performance on Sunday I like the walk total of only 1.
Soco: He has the experience from last year, but I need to see consistent results before I get too excited.
Jim: Hudson > Corbin. How many ">" you lob in there is up to you. His first four innings on Sunday were very solid, and I was pretty nervous: as knees are for catchers, shoulders are for pitchers! But there seemed to be no problems, and his velocity was right where it should be. Fatigue seemed to set in during the fifth, but that's understandable; he'll be better there in his next start. Or, to answer the question (if I have to!): a lot.
Should J.J. Putz still be closing games?
Jim: If Heath Bell is still the Marlins' closer... That said, I haven't exactly been filled with confidence by his recent outings - even when he has got the outs, a lot of them have been too hard-hit to be comfortable. We have options, too, in Hernandez and Shaw, but I appreciate, as Yogi Berra almost said, 90% of closing is half mental. If you take Putz out of the role, would he ever be able to return to it?
Josh Bell and Konrad Schmidt appeared on the roster this week. One has gone: does either have any future, short or long term, with the team?
DeDxDbacKxJroK: Schmidt I believe will take Machete's place when he is ready to go.. Because you don't tell Machete what to do.. Bell on the other hand if he can be a monster and hit well, field well, and steal bases well then yes he has a future otherwise he's just another KT experiment hoping to survive.....
Clefo: Schmidt is on his way to joining our illustrious "Juan Brito-John Hester-Luke Carlin" club of catchers who are randomly in the majors at some point. Josh Bell is on his way to be switch-hitting Mark Reynolds, except with not as good a glove. However, I think he can stick around if he comes off the bench more than he actually starts, sometimes there's a need for a guy who will either strike out or hit the cover off of the ball (see: Pena, Willy Mo).
Jim: What's the difference between Cody Ransom and Josh Bell? One is a strikeout prone third-baseman with spots of power but a mediocre major-league record and the other is... Er, never mind. I think, whenever Stephen Drew returns - and what happened there? - Bell will be rung up. Yeah, I think once Miggy has squeezed Blanco for every spot of knowledge, Schmidt will be a credible enough back-up, in a "one start every other week" kinda way.
OT: Summer movie season. Which blockbusters are you looking forward to most?
DeDxDbacKxJroK: The Dark Knight Rises... Hands down... Should be the only answer for this question NEXT!
Clefo: What's a movie?
Soco: Clefo, that should be my joke. Summer movies is one of my favorite seasons, but with a newborn, I'll be lucky to see but one or two. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman tops my list, though.
Jim: Quite a few appeal. As well as TDKR, I think Brave and Prometheus are on top of my must-see list. Oh, and Piranha 3DD of course. Wait - where you goin'?
Back on the road for Arizona. Does the series win indicate they're about to roll through San Francisco and San Diego?
DeDxDbacKxJroK: One can only hope that they go undefeated, WillieB gets no outs on the basepaths, Miggy goes 4-4 in his next game, and Upton smashes 12 HRs during that stand.... Who am I kidding I'll take the No basepath outs....
Clefo: In terms of relative talent of the various squads involved, we SHOULD be able to, but we all know that's not always the case.
Soco: They haven't shown any ability to follow success with success this season, so I'll wait and see.
Jim: They need to, particularly against the Padres, who are only kept from having the worst record in the league by the Cubs' 12-game losing streak [hands up, all those enjoying that!] - and as those two face off through Wednesday, even that might not last. The Giants series will be key: we face the back-end of the rotation - a group in which I now include Lincecum - and should look to take the series. Anything less than 4-2 and I'll be disappointed.