Yesterday was a tough day for everyone. Perhaps it is fitting that we return then on Jackie Robinson day and honor #42. This is a politics free website. But we can and should celebrate the landmark achievement of Robinson breaking the color barrier 73 years ago. While we still have a long way to go to achieve racial justice, equality and harmony in our society, what better way to move forward and begin to make a better world than to start by reflecting on the bravery and example Jackie exemplified for all of us. A few links for anyone that wants to review, or learn about for the first time Jackie’s career and legacy:
You can also rent the 2013 movie 42 for 4 bucks on a number of streaming apps, or if you prefer a more economical version, there is the 1950’s movie The Jackie Robinson Story streaming for free on You Tube. Jackie stars as himself in that one.
Now, on to the Series Preview
Five days ago the D-backs staggered out of San Francisco having lost three straight to the Giants by a combined score of 17-4. Those three losses were sandwiched in between two losses to the A’s, and three losses to the Rockies back at Chase.
The 8 game losing streak is the longest the team has endured since a 10 game losing streaking 2010. The team is reeling, firmly ensconced in last place with a 13-19 record. Their projected “Ace” Madison Bumgarner is still on the IL with a back injury and will not return for this series, and one of their best performing pitchers Merrill Kelly is likely out for the season after suffering a blood clot in his right shoulder. On top of all this the turmoil in the country and throughout baseball has not spared the Diamondbacks clubhouse. There have obviously been divisions within as they’ve faced the social issues that have beset the country.
The Diamondbacks have a terrific chance to make things turn for the better though by sending emerging Ace, Zac Gallen out to the mound to right the ship. The team record is 4-2 in his 6 starts. He continually keeps his team in the game and pitches well in key situations to limit damage. He is a bulldog of a competitor and the D-backs needs to get behind him and give him his first pitcher win of the season.
They should do better this time against Tyler Anderson. There is nowhere to go but up in that regard. Last week he threw a complete game, allowing one unearned run on 3 hits, 0 walks and just 4 K’s. It was shocking as in his previous 7 starts, 38 innings against the D-backs he’d allowed 29 runs. I’m confident things will return to normal.
Saturday’s Matchup is bound to go better for the D-backs as well. Surely they won’t get punked by Trevor Cahill twice in a row. Luke Weaver’s numbers are ugly, but he’s looked much better his last two starts and appears to have turned a corner. Still, he’ll need to avoid the long ball. He’s giving up a homer every three innings. That needs to stop in order for him to have any real success. I’m betting it does.
Sunday’s matchup has the potential to be quite entertaining. Johnny Cueto is always interesting to watch pitch, with all his gyrations and variance in his deliveries. He’ll throw 5 different pitches up there, and variations within each pitch. Basically everything but the kitchen sink. But he’s struggled with injuries the last few years and while healthy this year, has been mediocre.
Taylor Clarke gets the start filling in for Kelly’s spot. The team is really counting on him to maintain the success he’s been having out of the bullpen. His Fip is more than double his ERA though and as a starter he’s going to have to face batters at least twice. So I expect him to give up a few runs. But I think he can keep the team in the game, giving them a chance to pull off some late Sunday Magic.
Christian Walker has been smoking hot at the plate, and with the lefty Anderson on the mound in the first game of the series, Torey Lovullo is looking for Andy Young to come back and give the team some quality at bats. In addition to the big 9th inning the team had Wednesday night, they hit a lot of balls hard in that game and look like a team about to break out on offense again. They’re certainly due.
It’s notable the Giants dropped a double header to the Dodgers yesterday, 2-0 and 7-0. So we may need to thank the Dodgers for cooling their bats a bit just ahead of our series.
On top of all this, the Diamondbacks will be wearing their Black unis all weekend, and not only do they look cool in black, but they seem to win a lot wearing that color.
Obviously I’m taking the optimistic route in writing a preview Makakilo would be proud of. But just like the series in San Francisco was a trap for the D-backs, I’m feeling a reversal of fortune this time around. No time like the present to climb out of the basement and make Mike Hazen’s trade deadline decisions just a little harder.