Updated Jun 26, 2012 - 8:28 am
Painstaking Preview: Hot D-backs head to Hotlanta
With the Mariners and Cubs in town, the team continued their recent home surge by scoring 51 runs during the stand to win both series, sweeping the Cubs and improving to 10-1 in their last 11 home games.
And while the Diamondbacks' last six games may have been against a couple of last place teams, some encouraging things took place, no less. Aaron Hill hit for the cycle, Jason Kubel and Wade Miley perpetuated their season-long prowess, and the sort-of-maligned Justin Upton had a noteworthy breakout.
The Diamondbacks are now two games over .500 for the first time since May 1 and they wrapped their interleague schedule with a 9-6 record in the matchups. Now, they head to Atlanta to play a tough but tepid Braves team in a mid- week series.
Tuesday, June 26, 4:10 PM MST: RHP Daniel Hudson (3-1; 6.60 ERA) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (5-3; 3.88)
This is a Tale of Two Hudsons.' While both spent part of the earlier part of the season on the disabled list, one (Tim) is trending upward and the other (Daniel) is trending downward. Tim Hudson's last three starts have been solid, logging a 2-1 record -- which included a complete game shutout -- to go along with a 2.25 ERA. In addition, in eight career starts, he has never lost to the Diamondbacks, going 6-0 with a 1.36 ERA against them. Daniel Hudson, meanwhile, has managed to accrue an 11.37 ERA in his last three starts, somehow escaping a decision in two of them.
Wednesday, June 27, 4:10 PM MST: RHP Trevor Cahill (6-5; 3.47) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (8-4; 3.54)
Neither of Wednesday's starters have lost a game in the month of June and both have managed to keep their respective monthly ERAs under 3.00. That aside, Cahill and Hanson are close to polar-opposite pitchers. Cahill is your prototypical groundball pitcher -- inducing groundballs in 63% of balls put in play against him. Hanson, on the other hand, is a classic strikeout pitcher, meaning he gets a lot of fly balls and racks up high pitch counts. Resultantly, Hanson has the fourth-highest fly ball percentage in the National League, at 43.1%, and he has given up the fifth-most home runs (14).
Thursday, June 28, 4:10 PM MST: TBA vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (1-2; 6.75)
Thursday's starter for the Diamondbacks is probably going to be Trevor Bauer. Although the Diamondbacks haven't made an official announcement, several reports have surfaced saying Bauer's debut will, indeed, be Thursday versus the Braves. Between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, Bauer has an 11-1 record in 16 minor league starts this season, complemented by a 2.23 ERA and a minor-league leading 116 strikeouts. If reports hold true and Bauer gets the mound for the Diamondbacks at Turner Field on Thursday night, you really, really won't want to miss it. The Braves will run out Jair Jurrjens who held the Red Sox to three hits and one run over 7.2 innings in his first start since returning from a two-month minor league stint.
Stephen Drew is expected to rejoin the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Assuming he starts on Wednesday, he will have missed 142 consecutive Diamondbacks games, dating back to July 21 of last season.
Justin Upton has a major league-leading 11 RBIs over the last week.
Wade Miley's 2.19 ERA is third-best in baseball, behind only Brandon Beachy (2.00) and Ryan Dempster (2.11), who both happen to be on the disabled list. In addition, his nine wins tie him with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner for the most in the NL West.
Miley, a rookie, is the second left-handed pitcher in Diamondbacks history to allow one run or less in at least seven innings pitched in four straight starts. The other? Randy Johnson.
The Diamondbacks lead the National League with a .988 fielding percentage.
Jason Kubel has an NL-leading 23 RBIs in the month of June, tying his career monthly high. Miguel Montero has the second-most June RBIs in the NL, with 21.
Willie Bloomquist is hitting 24-for-67 (.358) in the month of June. That's the fourth-best in all of baseball, behind only Joey Votto, Jason Heyward, and Mike Trout. #platoon
Speaking of Heyward, he narrowly beat out Aaron Hill for NL Player of the Week last week. Heyward had a .522 batting average, scoring nine runs, with five RBIs, three home runs, three doubles and a triple. Hill had a .462 batting average, scoring seven runs, with eight RBIs, three home runs, three doubles, a triple, and a cycle. I, personally, would have given the edge to Hill for his cycle, but the numbers would call for a toss-up.
Regarding Thursday's Diamondbacks starter, when asked after Sunday's game if the club was ready to make an official announcement on who would make the start, Gibson responded, "No, we're not."
The Diamondbacks bullpen has tossed 10.2 straight scoreless innings over the last three games.
Hill has a 16-game home hit streak.
The Diamondbacks are 10-1 in their last 11 home games and 13-3 in their last 16.
On Sunday, the Diamondbacks came one run shy of tying a franchise record for the most runs in a five-game span. Their 51 in the last five games was second-only to the record of 52, which was set May 30-June 4, 1999. On Tuesday, the Diamondbacks need 10 runs to set the record for the most runs in a six-game span, which is currently at 60.
Upton, who leads the Diamondbacks in runs scored with 46, has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. He's hitting .356 over that span, with two doubles, two home runs, and 13 RBIs, to raise his average from .243 to .271.
Didn't we talk about how the Diamondbacks' (14-7 in June) schedule was going to ease up this month and how the Dodgers' (11-12 in June) schedule was going to get more difficult?
The Diamondbacks signed David Hernandez to a two- year contract extension on Sunday. "I love how the organization has treated me since I've been over here," Hernandez said following Sunday's game. "I can see myself living here one day past baseball."
Although the Braves took three of four from the Diamondbacks when they visited Chase Field in April, they have lost six of their last seven home games and 10 of their last 15 home games.
Additionally, they have lost 12 of their last 18 games.
To expound on the NL Player of the Week note above, only Joey Votto has been better than Jason Heyward in the month of June. Votto: .434 batting average, six home runs, 14 extra-base hits, 17 runs, 18 RBIs. Heyward: .391 batting average, five home runs, 14 extra-base hits, 15 runs, 12 RBIs. (Side note: just noticed that Mike Trout has stolen 13 bases this month. That's a lot.)
The new kid on the block for the Braves is Andrelton Simmons, who was with Triple-A Gwinnett when the Diamondbacks hosted the Braves in April. Since being called up, Simmons has gone 23-for-70 (.329) with an .868 OPS, seven extra-base hits, and 10 RBIs.
Freddie Freeman, who went 7-for-15 (.467) with five extra-base hits, two home runs, and nine RBIs in four games at Chase Field earlier this season, has really cooled off in June. He is 11-for-52 (.212) with just six RBIs, one home run and two extra-base hits in 14 games this month.
Freeman's buddy, Dan Uggla, is even colder this June. He's 12-for-67 (.179) in 20 games with a 29.8% strikeout rate.
Craig Kimbrel has been excellent all year (21/22 save opportunities; 1.33 ERA; 44 strikeouts; 0.81 WHIP) and he has been especially hot this month. The 24-year-old fireballer has converted all six of his save opportunities without allowing a run in June. He has only allowed two baserunners in eight innings pitched in the month, while striking out 14.
Watch out for Martin Prado. In his career against the Diamondbacks, he is 26-for-71 (.366) with a .420 on- base percentage, .997 OPS, 10 extra-base hits, and 16 RBIs.
Same goes for Michael Bourn, who is 39-for-113 (.345) with a .413 on-base percentage, 24 runs, nine stolen bases, and 11 extra-base hits versus the Diamondbacks in his career.
Chipper Jones (.324/ .408/ .509) also has really good career numbers versus the Diamondbacks. But he has been struggling since coming back from his second DL-stint of the year, going 7-for-37 (.189).
And Uggla has hit more career home runs against the Diamondbacks (12) than he has any other non-NL East opponent. (He also has 12 versus the Giants.)
Randomly, the Braves have scored exactly four runs in four of their last five games, five of their last nine, and eight of their last 15.