So here I am sitting at work with piles of paperwork on my desk and a laundry list of things needing to get done. Sounds like the perfect time to spend 2 hours writing about a sports team! Yay!
Ok, so as I always do I have to start with my apologies. No one likes an overbearing, stuck up, know-it-all so clearly I'm in bad company. We're all sports fans here and by nature we're all stuck-up know-it-all's who could theoretically do better than any CEO of a major sports team. Just say the name Jerry Jones in a crowded bar and watch the obscenities fly!
So, what do I have to apologize about? NOTHING. Didn't you just read the part where I said I'm a stuck up know-it-all? Then I followed it up by insulting everyone and telling you that you're all just like me. This isn't going to go very well if you aren't paying attention.
Josh Wilson should NOT be on this team right now. Davidson and Owings are RAKING in Triple-A right now. I may not know what the h-e- double hockey sticks I'm talking about half the time but common! This front office HATES making moves no matter how good they seem to be playing in the minors. Don't believe me? How about a stat.
We have had a total of 33 players used in a game this season. That's 2nd lowest in the NL behind Atlanta. The league average is 35. For a team finding it difficult to score runs this makes about as much sense as going pie hunting in Brazil with a shotgun (yay a random thought!).
Now I know some of you would say "But they'd just be a bench warmer because look at what Josh does now", and you're right. But I'd rather have someone warming the bench to get MLB experience than someone warming the bench keeping our prospects down. Does anyone think Josh Wilson will be our next starting 2nd baseman, shortstop, or 3rd baseman? Granted Didi is long term SS for us, but wouldn't bringing Owings or Davidson up to fill in a roll here or there make more sense? Their upside is much greater than Wilson who we know will always be a part time player. At worst MLB experience makes Davidson and Owings better trade bait.
AJ is slumping again. His peaks and valley's aren't as big as some guys but still, a .249 bat in our lineup is ok for a middle infielder. For an outfielder with good defensive skills he's earning just a passing grade. I really like AJ, but I still have a hard time seeing him as a long term player. Throw him in the mix with an Owings/Delgado trade and you could easily get a good 2nd rotation guy from somewhere. Heck, with AJ and Delgado you could probably do it. Eaton is still a question mark but Ross and Kubel are doing fairly well book-ending Parra. Ok, I know I need to stop driving this "trade AJ" train. Kubel is the one that makes more sense to trade. Getting rid of the 21 RBI guy with 121 AB's makes WAY more sense than the 22 RBI guy with 213 AB's. It's not like we need offense or anything.
Shhhhh... don't tell anyone but Kubel is batting .256 with a .322 OBP and .403 SLG. AJ is batting .249 with a .278 OBP and .404 SLG.
Ok, so how are we all feeling about Goldie lately eh? America's First Baseman and all that. Well since Superman's tag line at one time was "UP, UP, AND AWAY"... I think it's only fitting that our teams Superman faces a lot of down, down and away pitches. I know, that one was a stretch.... but you try writing a 2000 word essay without making some bad references.
Well, a quick look at Baseball-Reference.com shows that not only do I have 2 sex offenders in my area but Goldie's on a skid that's pretty big even for him. Looks like he accidentally turned into Brandon Allen for a couple weeks. He's losing votes for that starter job at City Field next month. He's still an RBI machine with 61. 5 ahead of CarGo from Colo. I used to attribute the lower numbers to Goldie not having good backup in the 4th hole until I looked at this stat.
Batting 3rd - .283/.369/.515
Batting 4th - .284/..350/.425
Although there is a tiny drop in OBP and SLG, it's hard to say they aren't getting production out of the 4th spot in the batting order. Where we see the drop is in the 5th and 6th batters.
5th - .269/.331/.356
6th - .243/.305/.367
This would suggest we may need to move our 3rd and 4th guys around to spread out the offense a bit better. They're getting on, and even into scoring position.. but then don't have anyone to drive them in. Just something to think about.
Of course the double plays have been killing us. 69 GDP is still the leagues highest. 2 above Miami. That should tell you something.
Prado is slumping, AJ is slumping, Goldschmidt is slumping, Ross is slumping, and Parra is in a minor slump. Miggy to the rescue! Yeah I'm finding it difficult to believe too... but:
.315/.377/.407 for the month of June is Goldschmidt like numbers. If Montero would have been doing this in April and May our lead in the NL West would be a few games higher. But such is baseball.
Also playing well is Willie Bloomquist. He may not still be on the tear he was on in the first 5 games, but he's still batting .367/.418/.429. Not bad for a guy few of us thought would be starting. Seems to be a lot of that going on with this team.
A few good things on the horizon. Hill is doing his rehab work in Reno. Fingers crossed, he might be back by next week. He says he feels no pain after playing.
Adam played in an extended spring training game but only hitting duties. He's still on a throwing schedule but it's good that he's at least playing a bit. As good as Parra is in the #1 spot, it would be nice to fit his bat in a little further down the lineup to drive in some runs.
Lastly, for the offense, I want to talk about Didi. The league has finally caught up with him. He's starting to boot balls, make bad throws, and strikeout. I still like Didi, but his youth is starting to show. That aggressiveness that we all liked so much is starting to wear out it's welcome. At least twice I've seen him rolling on the ground trying to throw the ball over to first. If it weren't for some heads up pitchers the runners would have advanced to 2nd. Didi can't seem to lay off the high and inside fastballs. I've watched him fan on a diet of 3 straight a couple times now. As much as I like Don Baylor, I'm beginning to think he's not helping the hitters adapt. Goldie still missing the same pitches, Didi still missing the same pitches, Montero still swings at inside fastballs, and Prado need some serious help.
I see this all the time though in Golf. A profession I am very familiar with. I used to give lessons at the Pavilion Lakes Golf Course which is now Salt River Fields.
Golf instructors usually have THEIR way of swinging and they try to apply it to their students rather than adapt their teaching methods to match their student. It's a common error and can be attributed to ego, ignorance of other methods, or just plain misunderstanding. It's often the case that the best instructors are the ones that never played professionally. The reason is because they usually lacked the talent and so they spent years perfecting their knowledge.
I'm not saying Don Baylor isn't a good hitting coach. I don't know the guy personally and have never seen him do BP. But what I do see are the results, and frankly I'm not impressed. The team is being carried by a few guys that remain hot. I hope this all turns around and all those guys in a slump start to pull it together. Montero looks like he's coming around but that's pretty much it.
Ok, so enough beating up on the offense. How about pitching.
Randal Delgado? Seriously? Delgado? So Skaggs gets a terrible call at 3rd to cost him his outing in one game, then gets some bad errors behind him by the defense in another... and you won't recall him? He's got amazing stuff that was working. He was keeping the team in the game for all 3 games he pitched. His teammates let him down but he's the one sent back. As good as KT is at building depth for a ball club, I just don't understand some of his decisions and for me this is a big one.
You're willing to fiddle around with your starting rotation and mix in different guys all over the place, but we get Wilson instead of Davidson or Owings? I'm just baffled.
Ok, so Delgado has had a good 5 games in Reno. He did well against the Marlins that one time. I guess I can see the sliver of reasoning that led to this decision, but it's still a bad one IMO. Skaggs should be up, not Delgado.
Ian has been very good his last two starts. 4 hits, 2 runs in 6.1 innings pitched against the Dodgers until Zack Grienke decided to pull a Zack Grienke. Then 4 hits, 1 run in 6 innings pitched against San Diego. For all the people who say he won't be that big of a loss in our rotation, I'd beg to differ. He's been keeping the Diamondbacks in the games he's pitched the majority of the time. He's given them an opportunity to win and the offense has let him down a lot. He gave up 10 earned runs against St. Louis, 6 against Colorado back in April, and 5 against the Padre's back on May 5th. Other than that he's given up 4 or less in every other game. His ERA is higher than I think all of us would like at 5.21.. but he's been righting the ship. He'll be back under 5 by the end of his next start if he keeps it up.
Wade Miley has seemed to have gotten a grip in his last 3 starts and done fairly well. He gave up 3 earned runs against the Cardinals in a win, 3 against the Dodgers in a win, and only 1 in a loss to the Padres. That gives him a 3.37 ERA for the last 3 games. Again, not superhuman, but respectable and keeps the team in the game.
Cahill is an oddity, but for him odd is the normal. That may seem like a contradiction but Cahill is a contradiction. In May he had an ERA of 2.91. Now in June it's 9.42. He gave up 8 earned against the Giants but 2 against the Padres. Both games were a loss. I thought this would be Cahill's best year so far but in 2010 he had a 2.97 with the Oakland A's. His release is just all over the place and even he doesn't know where the ball is going. That's not a good recipe for winning. It makes you wonder how Ian Kennedy has more HBP's than Trevor.
Corbin deserved better than last night. Heath Bell didn't lose a save, but it doesn't make you feel any better that he gave up the game winning run in a 2-2 tie in the 9th. Hernandez has had his troubles lately too. 3 earned runs against the Dodgers and the Padres. Does JJ really give you confidence when he comes back? What this team really needs is a solid closer and we have plenty of pieces to trade. Does it happen? Probably not but we'll see.
Lastly, Brewer, and Harris have been nothing less than stellar out of the bullpen. Harris has a 2.63 in 13.2 innings pitched while Brewer has a 0.00 ERA in 3.2 innings. A small sample size but he has certainly passed the "eyeball test". 4 hits and 1 walk. If they both keep that up they'll have a job for a long time.
Alright, so my final thought is they're lucky to still have a lead in the division. 4 teams all within 1.5 games of each other makes me very nervous. The slumps the bigger hitters are in right now makes me even more nervous. They shouldn't be struggling against 86 MPH fastballs in San Diego... I don't care how big the park is. We also have Hill returning soon which is a much needed bat in the lineup. If Prado and Didi stay on the skids we might see more of Willie at 3rd and SS when Hill comes back. It's really good to have Willie back.