Know Your Foe #34: Surprising D-Backs Hope to Continue Haunting Inconsistent Rockies

DENVER, CO - APRIL 01: The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate their victory over the Colorado Rockies during Opening Day at Coors Field on April 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Colorado Rockies 7-6 in 11 innings. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks (53-46 / 2nd in the NL West / 4 GB)

Last Series vs. Rockies: May 24-26, 2011 (W 3-1 at Coors Field)

In what has become a recurring theme for the Rockies, the D-Backs won the series handily despite being outscored by a run overall. In the first game, Colorado roughed up Arizona starter Josh Collmenter to the tune of five runs on five hits in 4.2 innings. Collmenter was given a 3-0 lead on the strength of an RBI groundout by Xavier Nady and a two-run glorified infield single from Melvin Mora. However, a combination of solo homers by Carlos Gonzalez  and Seth Smith, defensive ineptitude on the part of Nady, and the inability of Kameron Mickolio to strand inherited runners made that lead disappear quickly. The Rockies went on to score seven more runs off of Diamondbacks relievers Juan Gutierrez and Aaron Heilman on their way to a 12-4 victory. This was the only the game the D-Backs lost during a stretch of 14 in the latter half of May.

Games two through four saw a lot of the same thing that we've seen in Arizona-Colorado games this season - the D-Backs getting key hits while the Rockies stood pat and watched in awe. In typical Kelly Johnson-against-the-Rockies-fashion, Kelly Johnson had five hits across those three games, including two key home runs. Also, in typical Miguel Montero-against-the-Rockies-fashion, Miguel Montero did nothing in the first three games of the series before hitting a three-run bomb in a key spot in the finale. Johnson's home run came off of Huston Street, who has been absolutely brutal against Arizona this season. Street sports a 10.38 ERA, including three home runs allowed in just 4.1 innings against the Snakes in 2011.

Latest Series Results: W 2-1 vs. Los Angeles (NL); Split 2-2 vs. Milwaukee

Kirk Gibson's club features a lineup that has been quite solid, if not unspectacular, in 2011. Seven of their eight starting position players have a wRC+ of over 100. Willie Bloomquist is the only one who does not, and he's replacing the recently-injured Stephen Drew, who was still below average (92 wRC+), but not to the point that Bloomquist is (76 wRC+ in roughly half the plate appearances). The D-Backs will surely miss Drew after having to run Bloomquist out there everyday for an extended period of time, and they'll definitely miss his .892 career OPS against the Rockies.


Justin Upton

#10 / Right Field / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-2

205

R

R

Aug 25, 1987


AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Justin Upton .286 .364 .495


On a team where just about everyone contributes in a positive manner offensively (even pitcher Daniel Hudson has a .359/.375/.513 line in 47 plate appearances), it's hard to pick just one guy to spotlight. However, Justin Upton, who is continuing his climb toward being a superstar in this league, is their best offensive threat. In addition to his .859 OPS and 16 homers (which I'm sure have a much higher average distance than perhaps any other player in baseball), Upton also has 14 stolen bases and plays above-average defense (including his possession of an absolute cannon in right field). All of this adds up to a team-high 3.3 WAR.

The core part of Arizona's starting rotation has been up-to-par with (or arguably better than) the rest of the division's rotations, which complements their above-average offense very well. Rookie Josh Collmenter leads the way with a 149 ERA+ in 12 starts. He, just like the rest of the rotation, does not strike out an overwhelming number of batters (6.1 K/9). However, also just like the rest of the rotation, he keeps the ball in the strike zone (1.7 BB/9). One thing that could point toward regression (besides the .230 BABIP-against) is that he is a definite flyball pitcher - inducing groundballs just 36.3% of the time.

Ian Kennedy (122 ERA+) and Daniel Hudson (110 ERA+) are not far behind. Kennedy, who just missed out on an All-Star Game selection, is tied for second in the NL with 11 wins. Meanwhile, Hudson has 10 wins and, as mentioned above, has helped himself greatly with a bat in his hands. He has 12 RBI's this season in addition to the .888 OPS.

Friday through Sunday: 3-game series at Chase Field

Expected Pitching Matchups
Friday, July 22, 2011 @ 7:40 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Aaron Cook 0-5 10 7 0 0 0 0 38.2 54 26 25 1 17 14 5.82 1.84


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Daniel Hudson 10-5 20 20 2 0 0 0 134.0 131 59 53 7 30 102 3.56 1.20


Saturday, July 23, 2011 @ 6:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jason Hammel 5-9 19 19 0 0 0 0 115.2 120 65 56 14 44 57 4.36 1.42


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Josh Collmenter 5-5 19 12 0 0 0 0 85.0 64 28 25 7 16 58 2.65 .94


Sunday, July 24, 2011 @ 2:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ubaldo Jimenez 6-8 19 19 2 1 0 0 117.0 108 59 52 10 45 108 4.00 1.31


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Zach Duke 2-4 10 9 0 0 0 0 53.0 75 34 34 4 13 28 5.77 1.66

*This start is still technically up in the air for the D-Backs, but all signs point to Duke getting the ball.

Expected Lineup

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Willie Bloomquist SS .271 .317 .341 .292 76 2 11
Kelly Johnson 2B .220 .302 .439 .329 102 17 44
Justin Upton RF .286 .364 .495 .374 133 16 48
Chris Young CF .259 .327 .472 .344 112 16 50
Miguel Montero C .274 .341 .458 .349 115 11 48
Ryan Roberts 3B .254 .339 .446 .347 114 13 40
Brandon Allen 1B .167 .167 .667 .351 117 2 4
Gerardo Parra LF .280 .341 .410 .328 101 5 23

 

Bench

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Henry Blanco C .222 .279 .444 .304 85 4 5
Geoff Blum IF/PH .200 .273 .300 .260 54 0 0
Sean Burroughs IF .245 .240 .265 .260 28 0 3
Xavier Nady 1B/OF .244 .286 .352 .283 70 3 30
Cody Ransom IF - - - - - - -

Closer

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - David Hernandez 3-2 48 0 0 0 9 2 45.1 30 16 15 1 23 51 2.98 1.17

 

Injuries


Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Juan Gutierrez trapezius 05/25/2011
Stephen Drew ankle 07/21/2011
J.J. Putz elbow 06/29/2011

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