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Diamondbacks Ups and Downs: April 20-27th Edition

He's laughing at your inability to take a walk, Gerardo.
He's laughing at your inability to take a walk, Gerardo.

Some sloppy play sees the D-backs only able to scrounge up a 3-4 record despite a great opportunity to take advantage of a weak Mets team. Instead, they chose to hammer it on the league's best (or used to be) Philadelphia Phillies. Ian Kennedy killed it in two starts, Chris Young popped up a few times, and Geoff Blum broke himself more. Plenty of the good, the bad, and the neutral to discuss so let's have at it.

And here we go: Stats do not include numbers from today's matinee.

Rotation Trend Notes
Ian Kennedy Remember that game against the Cardinals? I don't either. Ian picked up two of the three wins for the D-backs and pitched one of the greatest games in recent franchise history. He pitched effectively against a skilled Reds lineup and mauled a lackluster Phillies offense. The combined outings resulted in a 0.63 ERA, 2/13 BB/K rate, and a .143 BAA. He continues to attack the zone, maintaining a 68% strike percentage (league average is 61%) and his curveball has been scary filthy.
Daniel Hudson One immensely disappointing outing against Cincinnati (7 runs and 4 walks in 5.1 innings) was followed up by a very mediocre performance against Philadelphia (10 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings). He's still striking out batters at a cool 9.5 K/9 rate and his GB% (35%) and HR/FB% (6%) are about where they should be. His xFIP is also encouraging at 3.62 so one would guess that it's only a matter of time before 2010 Hudson arrives.
Joe Saunders Despite everyone fearing the worst, Joe pitched a very decent game in New York to give the team a legitimate chance to win. He continues to walk batters at a gross rate (3 more in 6 innings against the Mets) but he showed some composure and buckled down while striking out a season high 4 batters. Too bad he can't hit.
Barry Enright
GS-6 might be Enright's new nickname if he can't rectify his problems soon. Another mediocre outing and two more home runs allowed give little reason to believe he'll be sticking around when Duke is ready to come back. 32 hits in only 23 innings certainly isn't helping.
Armando Galarraga
Armando has allowed eight home runs in 21 innings. For comparison, the entire Phillies staff has allowed only 10 home runs in 200 innings. He was pulled after only 79 pitches through three innings in his last start. On the plus side, Jim would be pleased with the successful sacrifice bunt.
Zach Duke Still hurt: 15-Day DL retroactive to March 12 due to a broken left hand. Jesse Sanchez recently reported that Duke began throwing bullpen sessions and is still expected for a mid to late May return.


J.J. Putz We've only seen J.J. once and that was way back on April 20th when he simply recorded a clean frame in only seven pitches for his fifth save of the year. He's a perfect 5/5 and has a sterling 0/10 BB/K rate.
David Hernandez Hernandez suddenly looked human in his last two outings. A crucial balk against the Mets lead to an important run for New York and a Ben Francisco two-run-home run brought the Phillies into contention for a blip of a second. He walked none, though, and still has lots of weird face wrinkles.
Juan Gutierrez Guti went from "near-immaculate" a week ago to just plain "meh" for now. 4 walks in two innings of work plus a pair of very important runs allowed in a tight game against the Mets. Interesting to note that just over half of the runs he has allowed [11] have been earned [6].
Sam Demel Even with an unpleasant BABIP (season avg. of .423) and lack of control (4 walks in 2.2 innings) Demel has somehow managed to keep runs from scoring. Only one inherited run scored in his last 4 innings. For now, the walks are a huge thorn in his side.
Aaron Heilman 15-Day DL stint retroactive to April 14th due to right shoulder tendinitis. Jesse Sanchez reported that Heilman was throwing bullpen sessions and could face batters by Sunday.
Kameron Mickolio*** Kam has been doing solid work in Reno lately and even recorded a save. He's still doing what he does best - strike outs - and could be on track for a quick return to the club if he continues to perform well.
Joe Paterson We're starting to see Gibson put Paterson to the test with some extended outings. He faced 7 batters in three games against New York and, though a runner scored on an error, pitched effectively out of an inherited jam in his biggest outing to date. There's still that occasional walk that hurts him, but he's been a serviceable LOOGY for the most part.
Esmerling Vasquez I stocked up on Jack Daniels when I heard that Esmerling was called up but, as Jim pointed out last week, he's been impressive. He's sporting a 1/6 BB/K rate (thanks to that beautiful new curveball) and has only allowed five hits in 7.2 innings. It's the home runs that'll make or break him though - already seen 2 of them.
Josh Collmenter After throwing Collmenter out into a tied game in extra innings, Gibson has been somewhat protective of Josh. He has only been used in a pair of long relief outings since the debut but has done a decent job. He allowed his first hits, runs, home run, and even hit his first batter so it looks like he's not the crazy robot pitcher I had hoped he would be.


Miguel Montero
The cool down period continues for Miggy as he went 2-22 with a .394 OPS. It looks like he traded his offense for some defense because he made it through his first week of the season without committing any errors or passed balls.
Juan Miranda
Miranda finally got a decent chunk of playing time to showcase his potential. Unfortunately, he went 1-10 instead.
Kelly Johnson We might just be on the verge of saying "hard-hittin-Kelly Johnson" once again. He could only muster a measly 6-27 this past week but rocked a couple of doubles and hit his third home run of the season. Hopefully that's enough to spark some of that form from a year ago.
Stephen Drew Drew's making a bid for his first All-Star game as he continues to rake both offensively and defensively. After a brief cool down last week he countered with a slash line of .360/.407/.680 for a 1.087 OPS in 25 at-bats. A home run, a triple, and three doubles helped solidify Drew's place as the "best Drew in baseball."
Ryan Roberts Our newly appointed every-day 3B has been good. Real good. He sported a .871 OPS in 23 at-bats, stole a base, and knocked in some key clutch hits. His defense hasn't been the safest bet but he's made up for some misplays with great plays.
Gerardo Parra With Roberts getting all of the playing time at the hot corner and Xavier Nady playing like... Xavier Nady, Parra has been given the nod as the everyday left fielder and he's cashed in. He's sporting a .409/.409/.545 line with a .955 OPS in 22 at-bats. Problem is, he still can't take a walk and eight of his nine hits were merely singles. The outlying numbers looks good, but he still has a lot to work on before getting any Snakepit love.
Chris Young 2-29. Weird thing is, the two hits were a home run and a triple so he still garnered more total bases than Montero and Miranda combined. His BABIP is at .206, but that's expected when you're popping up to the infielders. Scary stat: His IFFB% in '09 was 22.4%. So far this year it's at 20.5%. Yikes.
Justin Upton Fairly quiet week for Upton as he went 6-25 with three doubles. He still has a solid BB/K rate of 11/18 but he was noticeably chasing balls out of the zone in the Mets series.


Willie Bloomquist 15-Day DL retroactive to April 22nd due to a strained right hamstring. No word on a time line yet.
Melvin Mora Sit yo'self down, Melvin! Ryan Roberts finally took the starting job away from Mora and as a result we've only seen one plate appearance from Mora since. He went 0-1.
Russell Branyan Not much going on for the hunk. He went just 1-9 with five strike outs and has seen his playing time dwindle because of it.
Xavier Nady Three singles in his last three games marked the start of a hitting streak, but he's still clearly as disposable as he was when the season started.
Geoff Blum More hurt: 15-Day DL stint retroactive to March 22 due to right knee surgery. The surgery was considered a success and he is expected back in 4-6 weeks.
Henry Blanco Got a rare start on April 21st and went 0-3 for the second time this season. He might see a slight uptick in playing time if Montero continues to struggle.

***Optioned to Triple-A but still worth following at this time