DIAMONDBACKS PROVING TO BE THE TEAM TO BEAT IN THE MLB NL WEST

The Arizona Diamondbacks moved to 12 games over .500 and have a 0.5 game lead over the Colorado Rockies. The Dbacks have taken two of three from the San Diego Padres in hopes of taking three of four games in the four game series at a crucial time in the season.

(AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

Paul Goldschmidt is definitely what makes the Dbacks offense rock and roll. After hitting .144 in the month of may, Dback nation was scratching their heads. But “Goldy” started his slow climb and made his 6th straight All-Star appearance along with Patrick Corbin and Zack Greinke.

How does Goldy make the Dback offense go you ask? The team is 44-28 when he reaches base two times or more. They are 24-28 when he reaches base once or less. When he doesn’t reach base at all the have a 6-12 record.

The most eye opening stat is the 5.5 runs a game the team averages when he reaches first base twice or more, but drops to 3.2 runs when he reach first base once or zero times. If Goldy does touch first base the run production moves downward to 2.3 runs per game. (Stats from The Athletic). He also has a 37 game hitting streak on the road and is hitting .500 on the current road trip.

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

David Peralta entered the San Diego Padres batting .299 with a career-high 21 home runs a career high, to go along with 61 RBI and is hot as any hitter in baseball right now.

Among National League outfielders with at least 200 at-bats, Peralta is third in batting average and WAR, fourth in homers, seventh in OPS and eighth in RBI, per FanGraphs.

The Dbacks can have an explosive offense if certain things fall into place. A.J. Pollock since coming off the DL has yet to hit his stride, but Steven Souza Jr. seem to be relaxing and putting up some good numbers. if both can get consistent down the stretch the Dbacks would be an even more powerful offensive club.

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Up the middle the duo of Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte are flawless. Both are slowly becoming more of any offensive threat.

Marte has looked like a completely different hitter since June. He had a run in June hitting .352/.400/.778 with four homers, five doubles, three triples and 15 RBI in 60 plate appearances across 17 games this month.

Ahmed hit the ball hard over 50.7% of the time in June. No middle infielder in baseball hit the ball harder during the month. His power number are way up and adding another 30 to 40 points on his batting average would make him the best shortstop in the league.

PHOTO: mlbtraderumors.com

The non-waiver trade deadline move at the end of July, that brought Eduardo Escobar to the Dbacks has paid great dividends.  Escobar splitting duty between Minnesota and Arizona has a league leading 43 doubles and three triples over his 429 at-bats, which has contributed to a .515 slugging percentage that would represent a career-best mark if he can keep it up. His defense has been extremely good along with his professional approach has fit well in the lineup.

His arrival is one of GM Mike Hazen best move yet, as Jack Lamb has undergone should surgery and will not return until next spring training.

The three headed catcher rotation of Jeff Mathis, Alex Avila, John Ryan Murphy had been solid behind the plate all year. If it is blocking balls in the dirt or handling pitcher all three have be stellar. Offensively the Dbacks were hoping more from Avilia and early in the season they were disappointed but lately he has picked up his offensive output.

The supporting cast of Daniel Descalso, who continues to be a clutch hitter in the line up or off the bench, another pick up Jon Jay has done yeomen work since coming to the Dbacks.

Pitching was much improved last year but this season it has made the turn as one of the best staffs in baseball. Zack Grienke, Patrick Corbin two All-Stars this year have been outstanding. Zack Godley has stepped up as a legitimate starter.

(AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

Clay Buchholz didn’t have a job in April, a minor league free agent signing in May, Buchholz is now (6-2). Buchholz threw his 10th career complete game and his first since 2015 by beating the San Diego Padres 5-1 on Thursday. He has won five of his last six starts and have kept the Dbacks alive until Robbie Ray can find himself again. Ray an All-Star in 2017 has been battling an oblique strain for awhile this season. He is having trouble finding the strike zone and giving to many base on balls up, which has put him in trouble since he came of the DL.

The rotation of Greinke, Corbin, Buchholz, Godly and Ray can be as tough on an offense as any. The meat of the staff has been the bullpen. In the 7th comes Yoshihisa Hirano, the 8th Archie Bradley and the 9th Brad Boxberger.

Hirano, from Uji, Kyoto, Japan was another Mike Hazen gem in the off season. With his split fonger fastball Hirano has been lights out as the set up for Bradley. He is 4-2 this year with a 2.05 ERA in 58 games and a 1.01 WHIP.

Bradley brings intensity and the beard in the 8th which has turn the fans crazy when he enters in the 8th. Bradley has struggled of late but found himself his last appearance. He carries a 3-4 record with 3 saves and a 3.45 ERA but a 0.98 WHIP.

Boxberger, the closer has done a good job but has had a few meltdowns in games but the Dbacks are not concerned. Boxberger, has a 1-4 record and a 3.45 ERA. He has saved 27 games and has a 1.25 WHIP.

The addition to the pen is former Dback Brad Ziegler, along with Hazen pickups of Matt Andriese, Jake Diekman. Already in the pen are T.J. McFarlandAndrew Chafin.

Mike Hazen is in his second season as the D-backs Executive Vice President and General Manager. Has proven he has been able to make the moves necessary to build a championship Dbacks team. The D-backs reversed their record from 69-93 in 2016 to 93-69 in 2017, reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011 with the help of manager Torey Luvollo. Hazen’s first season brought in Taijuan WalkerKetel Marte and J.D. Martinez, each of whom became key contributors to the 2017 playoff team.

Hazen came from the Boston Red Sox tree where he spent the previous 11 seasons, included winning world championships in 2007 and ’13.

Dbacks fans hope the building  of a competitive franchise year in and year out will continue and eventually bring a second World Series championship to Arizona.

 

 

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