It was a very busy week for the Diamondbacks with a road trip to Pittsburgh and the MLB First Player Draft.
The road trip was very unsuccessful losing the two first games to the Pirates, giving them a 3 game losing streak for the first time since the early part of May. The Diamondbacks would recover in Game 3 for a shutout win but the damage was still done.
On Tuesday, the Diamondbacks jumped out to a 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the 8th inning. It looked like another Diamondback win and then the Pirates pulled out a play from the Diamondback playbook and scored 5 runs in the 8th inning against David Hernandez to win the game 8-5. That would be Hernandez’ first blown save of the year and his second loss of the year.
On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks hoped to rebound against the Pirates. Instead the Pirates jumped to an early 1-0 lead and the Diamondbacks tied the game in the 8th inning off a Stephen Drew single scoring Kelly Johnson. Again in the 10th Stephen Drew singled to bring home Kelly Johnson again for the 2-1 lead until the Pirates tied it up again in the bottom of the 10th. The Pirates would go on to win again off an Andrew McCutchen walk off home run in the 12th inning.
After losing to the Nationals Sunday and these two losses to the Pirates the Diamondbacks drop to 2 games behind first place. The Diamondbacks really needed a bounce back before the Giants run away with first place.
Enter Chris Young in the 8th inning of game 3 on Thursday night. Young hit a two run blast to give Arizona the 2-0 win. After the Reds handed the Giants a 3-0 loss the Diamondbacks are within striking distance for first place, only one game back.
What gives for this recent struggle for the Diamondbacks? It is a combination of sub-par relief effort and cold bats for the Diamondbacks. J.J. Putz has now blown 2 of his last 3 save opportunities and those setting him up like Hernandez are not helping matters either. The Diamondbacks must also get their bats going earlier in games if they hope to stay competitive down the stretch. Waiting until the 8th or 9th inning to get runs will not cut it the rest of the season for the Diamondbacks.
Draft News: This week was not all bad news as the Diamondbacks had a stellar draft. Scouts have tabbed Arizona as the biggest winner in this year’s draft. Arizona knows the key to winning games is a strong pitching effort and they did not shy away from pitching prospects this year. Below are the Diamondbacks top 4 picks that hope to make contributions at the MLB level sooner than later:
Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
With the third selection in the draft the Diamondbacks went after the second UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer. While not the ace that Gerrit Cole is, Bauer is still one of the top pitchers at the college level. Bauer led the NCAA in strikeouts in 2011 with 203 strikeouts and a 1.25 ERA. Bauer is also getting comparisons to Giant’s Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Bauer’s throwing motion is almost exactly the same as Tim Lincecum’s throwing motion. Drawing comparisons to a Cy Young winner is a very good sign of the future for the Diamondbacks with their first pick.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS
With Arizona’s second pick and only the 7th pick in the draft the Diamondbacks went after a risky pick Archie Bradley. Bradley is an incredible pitcher but has also signed a letter of intent to play both football and baseball at the University of Oklahoma. Bradley has a great inventory of pitches and could prove deadly once developed within an organization. The only drawback to this pick if he doesn’t sign the Diamondbacks will not get a supplemental pick in 2012. The Diamondbacks must do anything and everything to make sure Bradley signs with the team before the August deadline.
Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State
Andrew Chafin another stellar pitcher for the Diamondbacks has an excellent upside with his vast inventory of pitches and only dropped this far in the draft due to his Tommy John surgery. He recovered from the surgery this past year going 8-1 with 105 strikeouts. Developing his other pitches will ensure him to be a top prospect for the Diamondbacks.
Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina
Anthony Meo is another great pitcher for the Diamondbacks. Meo looks to join the relief rotation and possibly a future closer. He finished the season with a 10-3 record, 115 strikeouts, and a 2.16 ERA, which includes a no-hitter.
The Diamondbacks went on to dominate their draft with pitchers. They drafted an additional 24 pitchers of their remaining 48 picks. Developing their farm system and continually adding prospects will be key to ensure that this year’s success will not be a fluke. The moves for the Diamondbacks by new GM Kevin Towers and new Scouting Director Ray Montgomery seem to show promise but only time will tell.
Coming Up: Tonight the Diamondbacks start their series against the struggling Florida Marlins, losers of 9 of their last 10. Arizona will put Joe Saunders (3-5) on the mound against Anibal Sanchez (5-1).
About the Author
Written by Matthew Hesse
Matthew Hesse is currently located in Tucson, Arizona and he graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors in Business Management in 2009. Graduated from Tiffin University with a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Sports Management in 2011. Recent intern with the Pro Exposure Basketball Showcase and Greene Sports Management. Fan of Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, and the University of Arizona Athletics.