And I use the word update in quotes, because the Diamondbacks made things easy on me this month, with all the lines staying exactly where they were the last time I wrote this up. So, no need to update the spreadsheet, or recalculate the standings, because no-one has lost or won any money since last time. That's going to make for a fascinating report, as I dig out my thesaurus and look up synonyms for "same as it ever was."
And, for the few of you that didn't click on to the next article after that scintillating introduction, let's get this under way.
I did note last time that "there's a tough stretch of schedule coming up," and it proved exactly that. I don't think I need rehash in detail the disappointment that was June, even though the team still won 12 games - the record felt a good deal worse than 12-15, particularly of late. I think it's because any wins have had to be eked out: during the starter winless streak, which has now reached 22 games, the Diamondbacks have exactly one victory involving a margin of more than two runs (the 11-5 win over the Reds on June 21). Admittedly, a lot of the defeats have been similarly close. Still, July needs to be a turnaround month for us, in an increasingly-close division.
Prado has regressed, hitting .209 in June, to send his average back below .250 overall. Still continues to put the ball in play, with a K:BB ratio of 8:8 this month, though a BABIP of .205 still seems strikingly low. His figure for the season is .255, which puts him in the bottom 20 among qualified hitters in the majors, and compares to a career average of .310. Now, the reasons for that low BABIP... And random factoid picked up while researching that: Edwin Encarnacion has a .245 BABIP, but a 137 OPS+. So there's clearly no excuse for Prado. :) Martin needs roughly to hit over .350 for the second half to hit the target. Yeah. Probably not gonna happen.
He did hit a home-run in June, which would be one more than he hit in May. Actually, his June numbers weren't too bad, with a line of .296/.375/.380 - if there was just a little more oomph on that, instead of consisting of 17 singles, three doubles and the homer, it would be more than acceptable. However, in the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that Kubel's BABIP for June was .444, which is not exactly sustainable: if he doesn't rediscover his power stroke, then he'd be my candidate for "Most Likely to Regress" in July. I still think it's quite possible he'll no longer be a D-back by the trade deadline.
Well, he's back, so there's that, even if the anticipated "4-6 weeks" out ended up taking about twice as long - a day short of eleven weeks, to be exact). Not much of a sample size, with just seven games played, but his numbers since then have been very good: .320/.414/.560, with half of his eight hits going for extra bases. That included one home-run, and I wouldn't quite give up on this year, but with Hill having missed 63 games, it's going to be pretty tough. 18 home-runs in the second-half? I certainly hope so.
- HR's 25½ (2,954-600). 38 over
Here seems a good place to point out that these lines are all based off the numbers through Sunday's games, so exclude Goldschmidt's shot last night, giving him 20 for the season. 38 would be a number of homers reached since Gonzo's 2001, only by Mark Reynolds, who hit 44 in 2009. Of course, Goldschmidt will likely be giving us a better OBP, and he's currently on pace to become the second qualifying Diamondback in franchise history to reach the 150 OPS+ mark (the other being Luis Gonzalez, of course). There's only one non-Luis player above 132; Justin Upton, who reached 141 in 2011. Meanwhile, a certain ESPN pundit is maintaining radio silence.
-Wins 14½ (2,852-1,050). 6 under - Wins 12½ (8,915-0). 6 under - Wins 14 (1,667-6,148). 8 under
Including last night, this trio have made 49 starts, with a combined record of 10-21. The Diamondbacks have three relievers - Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez and Josh Collmenter - with as many W's as the best of the three. And, indeed as many as any D-backs starter bar Patrick Corbin. It'd be amusing if a reliever came second for pitcher W's on the Diamondbacks this year: was gutted when Collmenter couldn't get the third strike last night, going from Win #5 to Loss #1 with one swing of the bat. Does Miley, the closest of the three, have ten wins in him the rest of the way? Last night's performance was encouraging for him... The bullpen protecting those W's, not so much.
Good news. He's back! [Albeit only just] Bad news. He still hasn't recorded a save since returning. I probably wasn't the only one who just had an increasing sinking feeling about last night. I think it began when Brad Ziegler came in and proved not his usual reliable self, and only got worse from then on. Putz's velocity was notably down - average fastball 90.5 mph yesterday, compared to 92.9 mph last year - and it feels to me like he was rushed back from rehab, perhaps because of the batting practice Heath Bell was serving up in the closer's role. But based on a small sample size, we may simply have exchanged one problem for another. Hopefully Putz rediscovers his lost velocity.
- HR's 27½ (2,512-2,351). 30 over
Justin Upton - BA .285(2,030-1,201). .245 under
Along with D-backs wins, the first of these is probably the line most likely to slip to the other side of the line by next report. Upton needs 19 HR by the two-thirds mark to stay on pace, so that requires four HR in 27 games. However, after hitting 12 in the Braves' first 23, J-Up's power has basically evaporated. Atlanta has played 59 games since; in those, Upton has just three HR, with an overall line over that time of.219/.343/.301, and any MVP talk has stopped. Maybe he's injured? Or maybe it's just Upton being his uber-streaky self, because his OPS+ with Atlanta is now basically indistinguishable from his career figure in Arizona.
|Dallas D'Back Fan||-$1,500.00|
I do appreciate the way that MLB has arranged the schedule so that the D-backs play exactly one-sixth of their schedule in April, May and June. Of course, with the All-Star break coming up, that won't happen in July, though it comes surprisingly close: we play our 26th game on July 31st. I'll thus be back with the next update, over the first weekend in August.