Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks have had better weekends to say the least.
In a quick three-day span, the fan base went from edge of their seat, to plunging into the deep end, to asking to be let back onto the boat before it pulled away.
Friday night displayed a mugging in disguise of a baseball game, as the Rockies dispatched of the Diamondbacks with a convincing 12-2 win to open Coors Field up for business. While mashers Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki flexed their muscles, it was really Charlie Blackmon who showed out, going a ridiculous 6-for-6 with four runs scored and five more batted in. Coors Field has never been friendly to pitchers.
Randall Delgado was the unassuming victim of the Rockies parade of hits. He managed to hold out for four innings (plus) of work, but after 10 hits and six earned runs, it was time to hit the showers after what can be described as a demoralizing first start in 2014.
It wasn’t only Delgado that had a difficult time corralling Colorado batters, his bullpen did him no favors either. The quartet of J.J. Putz, Joe Thatcher, Brad Ziegler and Oliver Perez all chipped in an inning at the conclusion of the contest, yielding six runs themselves. Only Putz was able to escape the wrath of the Rockies hitters that were clearly poised to put on a show.
Flexing his muscles yet again, was Mark Trumbo, as he blasted his third home run of the season in a futile effort to keep the Diamondbacks around. At the conclusion of the game, he had already totaled three bombs and nine runs driven in over the course of just seven games.
Saturday started off looking as the day the D-Backs would end their mini-slide that has befallen them in the early part of the season. Already ahead 2-0 in the top of the third, Mark Trumbo connected once again, launching a home run off Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa and staking the snakes to a 4-0 lead. From there, the pitching imploded.
Scoring in every inning from the fourth on, the Rockies were reawakened like a dormant volcano, suddenly erupting for offense without any regard for whom was pitching. Once again, the starting pitcher (Brandon McCarthy in this case) was the sacrificial lamb who took the brunt of the damage and then handed it over to the bullpen.
Much like every game that has been played this season, the bullpen did not exactly inspire any confidence that they could keep the game within striking distance. Both Will Harris and Ryan Rowland-Smith discovered how difficult it can be to pitch in Mile High altitude, surrendering three combined runs over the final two innings to seal the D-Backs fate of a 9-4 loss at the hands of the Rockies.
On Sunday, a wonderful thing happened. The Diamondbacks were the recipient of a phenomenal start by their starting pitcher, Wade Miley, and rode him all the way to just their second win of the year. Avoiding a sweep against the division rival Rockies may not feel like much of an accomplishment at the moment, but a loss would have placed the team at a dreadful 1-8. (Not that being 2-7 is all that more uplifting…)
The offense was supplied by…you guessed it, Mark Trumbo. Hitting a home run for the third consecutive day in Colorado, his two-run shot was all the support Wade Miley was going to need. As of this moment, Trumbo has racked up five home runs and 13 RBI’s; one of the lone bright spots of what has been a dismal start for the D-Backs.
Lest we not forget that Goldschmidt character. With two more base hits on Sunday, he stretched his average up to .400 on the season, proving he is the other shining star on the darkened roster.
In an attempt to keep up with his bullpen mates, Addison Reed tried to let the Rockies come as close as possible to making a comeback in the bottom of the ninth as the first two batters reached. One clutch double play ball later, and Reed had all but slammed the door on a victory for Arizona.
The team will now get Monday off to catch their breath after what has been a frantically paced season already, just nine games in. They head to San Francisco to continue battling division rivals.
From the onset, the entire National League West has established that every team inside it plans to be a contender this year; there are no cakewalks, or rebuilding years. This Tuesday night, Trevor Cahill goes to the mound in opposition of Tim Hudson for the Giants home opener. After being befuddled by him last time, the Diamondbacks will have to figure out a way to get to the veteran Giants starter.