Hot enough for ya? [Offer not valid outside the state of Arizona] Who's idea was it to have the All-Star Game in Arizona in July? We should have had it during spring training, I reckon... Anyway, the rosters were announced for that, our bullpen underwent some enforced and voluntary revamping, and Melvin Mora was replaced by Sean Burroughs. Unsurprisingly, our panel of fans have opinions on all of the above.
At time of writing, Justin Upton is the sole D-backs representative for the All-Star Game, to be played here in two weeks. A travesty, sham or mockery?
Azreous: I have more of a problem with a couple of names who did make the team than a couple of Diamondbacks who didn’t. Yes, you could make compelling cases for Mssrs. Kennedy, Montero and Roberts (and maybe even Putz or Hudson), but none of them are having a HUGE season, just very good ones at their position so far. That said, I do think the home team should have one more representative, and hopefully either the last-man vote or replacements will get the job done.
shoe: As I posted in the All Star selection thread, I really don't think there was a serious snub. Montero's 10 errors are really working against him and his defensive reputation. Drew isn't better than Tulo, and someone needed to go from the Cubs, and Castro has a higher OPS+ anyway. And I really can't blame Bochy for going with his guys over Kennedy, even before today's game.
Kishi: Disappointing to be sure. But not really a surprise.
soco: Can’t win them all, I guess.
BajaF1: At least the was no Omar Infante type of thing this year. Upton deserves it, at least Kennedy has a shot still. I dont really like when there is a big amount from one team, but in the case of the Brewers (Braun,Fielder,Weeks) it’s valid as they are all having great seasons.
Jim: Very disappointing. I’d hope for two or three, especially on home turf, but I think it’s an interesting lesson in seeing our players as others see them. Can I just say, I hate the Final Man vote? I’d rather they gave it to the players or manager, rather than it being "Watch the Phillies/Dodgers player get in."
Pick one player on the NL roster who shouldn’t be there, and one to replace him.
Azreous: Flukes should not be all-stars, so while Ryan Vogelsong is a compelling story, I don’t see how he makes the cut over a handful of other candidates (Kennedy included) other than the Bruce Bochy Effect. You can’t have it both ways, Bruce -- either you stick to "all-star tradition" and use a player’s career in the decision-making process as much as his first-half stats (*cough* Chipper Jones *cough* Derek Jeter), or you reward players who have been great in 2011, like Vogelsong. Kennedy was my pick for a replacement: solid traditional and advanced stats, hometown pick. But after getting a pretty solid push on the selection show, he got knocked around on Sunday. So I’ll say … Andrew McCutchen.
soco: Let’s not pretend Bochy had anything to do with Chipper Jones being selected, that was pure player vote.
shoe: If I had to replace one, maybe Kimbrel for either Venters or Wilson. The peripherals suggest Kimbrel has pitched better than Venters, and of course he has the saves.
Kishi: Well, I don’t think we have any picks as egregiously bad as Derek Jeter starting for the AL, but Chipper Jones? Drop Larry, and Andrew McCutchen probably deserves the spot most, or Chase Headley, so we’ve got a backup third baseman.
BajaF1: I agree with above, I will say Chipper has had a good year, but Andrew McCutchen is 100% deserving. Not only for his play, but what he does for the team and how surprising the pirates are this year.
Jim: I think, in future years, Giants’ fans will look back at Vogelsong in much the same way we look at Junior Spivey’s selection by his manager for the 2002 All-Star Game e.g. mild embarrassment. But the players selecting Jones just goes to prove that they don’t necessarily know better than the fans. McCutchen (4.7 fWAR) definitely should be there over Jones (0.8).
The Diamondbacks dropped two of three to the Indians at home, and the same on the road in Oakland, so lost ground on the Giants. They’ve now dropped six of the last eight. Thoughts?
Azreous: The very definition of regression to the mean. This team simply isn’t THAT talented. They could certainly post a winning record or maybe even contend for the division title in a watered-down NL West, but this idea of a team that’s 10 games over .500 in June was a bit of a stretch. That said, I hope that this regression brings us back to above average, not all the way down to sub-.500.
shoe: Since the hot streak ended the day after they drubbed the Marlins 15-4 on May 30th, starting May 31 (31 games) they have been outscored 141-123. It's a combination....not enough offensive, (less than 4 R/G) very shaky bullpen, and of course issues in the rotation over the last couple of weeks especially. Honestly they are lucky to be just one game under .500 (15-16) during this stretch.
Kishi: It’s probably what we should expect. We had a hot streak, but this is more what we thought we’d see this year- a team with some stretches of competence, but I’m still not convinced this team is really going to contend. We’ll win in some stretches, lose in some stretches, and that’s just the way the season will go. Let’s just enjoy the good bits and hope the bad ones don’t last too long.
BajaF1: Hot and Cold! The Indian series was a hard one, and they are a very good team, so one from them is understandable, and i think were getting a bit tired. Hopefully the break will recharge everyone including the pen. As for the Oakland series, we should have swept that one. Upton has cooled down, time for someone else to step up and carry the team for a little. Chris Young anyone?
soco: It’s a long season, and everyone goes through hot and cold spurts (except apparently the stupid Giants).
Jim: After a brief burst where I genuinely thought we would contend, I’m reining my expectations back in for the season to "hopefully above .500", until shown otherwise. I trust that will not be by the team continuing to lose. There are still too many weak spots in this team for it to be otherwise. The good news is, we are eight up on the Dodgers, who have imploded and lost 12 of 18, so a last-place finish looks increasingly unlikely now. Unless the Kendricks get divorced, I guess.
The bullpen was revamped with the arrival of two new arms, and the departure of closer J.J. Putz for the DL. Is that going to help or harm the ‘pen?
Azreous: While the closer spot is overrated in baseball, I have always been a fan of keeping your best relievers in certain slots, like Hernandez in the eighth with a lead. Losing Putz, even for a short time, throws that into disarray. As for the new arms, it probably can’t hurt at this point. With Collmenter and Duke struggling, the bullpen has been extremely busy in the last month, and Putz and Hernandez have both dropped off a bit -- the workload could be to blame there.
shoe: I don't see the pen being very good over the rest of the season. Pre season I projected them to be in the lower 3rd in the league in Bullpen ERA/FIP, what have you. They are 12th in bullpen ERA, but 5th in Bullpen FIP and Bullpen WAR. So a case can be made that they have been a little unlucky as a group. However overall if you look closer at the ebb and flow, they were terrible through the first 11 games, then had a great month, followed by 6+ weeks of suck again. I'm really not expecting them to be any better in the second half.
6.17 ERA from 4/1-4/13, 11 gm
1.61 ERA from 4/15-5/18 30 gm
5.02 ERA from 5/19-7/3, 42 gm
BajaF1: Our pen is tired. Plain and simple. I think Putz on the DL is ok, especially right now since he will get extra rest with the break. I feel 100% confident in Hernandez taking over the 9th. The new arms will help as well as the break, but it may be time for the Josh C. to move back to the pen and let us go get another starter. Josh is great 1st time through the lineup, so I think he would be able to really give them a boost, and not overwork everyone.
Jim: Putz had been struggling, but losing your ninth-inning guy is never a good thing. Been distinctly unimpressed with Brazoban since he came up, though Castillo looks like he could be a useful piece. Hernandez as closer should be fine, and it might actually help, if Gibson only uses him in save situations - could reduce his workload.
On the plus side, we finally got rid of Melvin Mora. On the negative side, we replaced him with Sean Burroughs...
Azreous: I like how we weren’t even allowed to celebrate for 24 hours before realizing that Cowgill or Goldschmidt or even somebody like Cody Ransom was not going to be taking Mora’s place. HA HA HA HA SEAN BURROUGHS. YOU ARE DEAD.
shoe: Time to dump Miranda. Bring up Allen and give him one more shot, and promote Goldschmidt to Reno in the process. Honestly it's getting to the point where not doing so is irresponsible.
Kishi: Dropping Mora and bringing up Burroughs has led me to believe that this is not so much a baseball team as it is a psychological study on how much you can punish a fanbase in one year..
BajaF1: "Oh man..." I just sat here for about 10 min. trying to write something and this is all I could come up with. Pretty much sums it up though i think.
Jim: In some ways, it’s hardly significant: Burroughs has 28 at-bats, and how long has he been on the roster? But, man, it’s irritating; we can see that everything indicates he is a AAAA player, so why can’t management?
Random question. Best and worst things about summer?
Azreous: As the only Flagstaff resident on the panel, that one’s easy. Beautiful weather, seasonal rain even before the monsoons, and the whole it’s-not-120-degrees factor. This time of year is what gets me through the snow.
shoe: Best thing about summer is clearly Baseball. The worst thing about summer is that I don't have a 3 month vacation.
Kishi: The worst thing is that it’s 147 degrees outside. The best thing is air conditioning.
BajaF1: Best- Tons of baseball, blockbuster movies and ice cream. Worst- The electric bill.
soco: Best is the sparkly feeling of possibility. Worst is the longer days.
Jim: Best? No snowbirds clogging up the roads, restaurants and malls. Worst: having to take a shower every time you leave the house, even if it’s at 11pm to take the garbage out.
The road trip continues up to the All-Star break, with three in Milwaukee and four in St. Louis. What are your hopes and fears?
Azreous: I’m afraid of spiders. I mean, not deathly afraid, but I kill them as quickly as possible because they creep me out. Oh, with baseball? I’m afraid that we’re going to go 2-5 on this trip, even with the Cardinals missing Pujols. Two tough teams, on the road, and we’re already struggling. I’d love to be wrong, though. 3-4 wouldn’t be that bad, really, and sneaking out with a winning record would go a lonnnnng way toward staying in the division race.
Kishi: I’m afraid that Azreous will find out I’m secretly Peter Parker. Uh, I suspect we end the trip 3-4 and with a deep appreciation that we have the All Star break waiting for us. I hope for a winning road trip, but I fear that David Hernandez’s arm will fall off, and Gibby will still try to send it in to close.
BajaF1: My hopes are that Prince Fielder picks Justin Upton for his HR Derby team. Oh and that we can at least win two. My fears is that we may see an early HR derby when Duke pitches in Milwaukee. Also, I just want to say, thank you for letting me join in on the fun! Happy 4th everyone!
soco: I hope the team gets itself together before the All-Star break. I hope they win, and the Giants lose. I hope Ian Kennedy makes it to the ASG. I hope for a safe 4th of July. I worry they will continue to skid. I worry the Giants will continue to win. I’ve resigned myself to the possibility of no other Diamondbacks on the ASG roster.
shoe: I see them continuing to struggle as they stagger into the break. These are two really good hitting teams, and I think our pitching will be battered and bruised at the end of it. Even without Pujols the Cardinals are scoring runs, (4.8 R/G over their last 10 Games). The Brewers have scored 45 runs in their last 10 games as well. I can easily see them going 2-5 over the remaining 7 games of this road trip. Daniel Hudson's start tomorrow is probably the most important one of his career so far to date. He needs to be a stopper here to give them a chance to turn things around. If he gets hammered, watch out...the team could be headed towards a big losing streak.
Jim: I’d settle for 3-4, but suspect 2-5 or worse is quite possible. Agree with shoe that this road-trip could spell trouble. It’s another week where the team needs to #gibbyup and do the little things soundly, if they’re going to compete: you can’t make mistakes against teams like this.
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