Not that general manager Kevin Towers or manager Kirk Gibson would take advice from others sources, but each should take a hard look at Randall Delgado.
As part of the deal which sent Justin Upton to the Braves last winter, Delgado arrived in the desert admit little celebration. In spring training, he was regarded more of a thrower than a pitcher and dispatched to Triple A Reno to refine his skills.
Called up in early June, Delgado lasted long enough for a cup of coffee and repaired back to the Aces.
Since his second recall and placed in the starting rotation July 3, Delgado started 12 games and returned the investment with seven quality starts.
In that stretch, including a 4-3 victory of the visiting Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings before 16,154 Wednesday afternoon in Chase Field, Delgado emerged as dependable and quality starter. If not packaged in an off-season deal, which seems unlikely, Delgado should move into spring training as a principal starter.
The key is simply learning how to pitch.
“(Delgado) used more curve balls (Wednesday) and that was effective,” said Gibson afterward. “Previously, he worked with basically his fast ball and change and (Wednesday), he had a good mix of pitches.”
After allowing three, first inning runs, Delgado settled into a steady groove. Here, he retired 13 straight hitters from the end of the first until Jose Reyes led off the sixth with an infield single.
With the starting rotation in flux, Delgado has a strong chance to emerge as a principal starter next season. Assuming Towers remains satisfied with the core of his starters, and no off-season deals for starters are made, Delgado could rise as a strong number two or three pitcher in the rotation.
With his effort Wednesday against Toronto, Delgado turned in 10 starts of the 15 games starts for Arizona this season. Despite a 4-5 record, his ERA continues to drop and after his 15 starts, which includes a complete game shut out, now stands at 3.69.
That’s good for second best among Arizona starters, and only Patrick Corbin’s 2.98 is lower.
If Delgado held the Jays to those three runs, the Diamondbacks, once again, played come-from-behind baseball. While behind in games appears to be their method of operation, their ability to chip away at Jays’ starter Mark Buehrle was efficient.
Down by that 3-0 early, they scored twice in the second on an error and pair of run-producing doubles from Matt Davidson and Miguel Montero.
In the seventh, pinch hitter Eric Chavez tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and Willie Bloomquist put an exclamation point on this one.
In the last of the 10th, Chavez and A. J. Pollock singled and Adam Eaton, running for Chavez, skipped to third. With runners on first and third and one out, Bloomquist then lined a single to center for the game-winner. This was Bloomquist’s fourth career walk-off hit and his first since May 19, 2009 against Cleveland when he was with Kansas City.
The game-winner came off of Jays’ reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who hit the radar gun at 99 miles per hour during Bloomquist’s at-bat.
“I wanted to get something out to the outfield because (Eaton) was on third,” Bloomquist said. “I had not seen a guy throw that hard in a while so a made an adjustment. On the first pitch, I was way behind with my swing, so I started a little earlier.”
The victory was the Diamondbacks’ 13th walk-off winner this season and their 39th comeback win. There are now 16-5 in extra inning games and the 21 games in extra frames tied a franchise record. That was set in 1999.
Delgado left after seven innings and after allowing those three in the first, he permitted only one base runner the rest of the way. That was the lead-off single to Reyes in the sixth, but Reyes was wiped out in a double play.
“I just working and just keep fighting,” said Delgado. “I threw more curves (Wednesday) and was good. I’m trying to move games along faster and keep a rhythm.”
One interesting note out of the extra inning victory was in the Jays’ column.
For the game, Toronto left no runners on base and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time a team left no runners on base in an extra inning since the Reds on July 20, 1970. That was a 4-0 Cincinnati win in game two of a doubleheader.
PRADO FIESTA GETS BLOOMQUIST
While Bloomquist relished in the moment of his walk-off, he did not appreciate the latest Diamondbacks celebration of victory.
Created and now orchestrated by Martin Prado, the Prado Fiesta is a reward for getting a walk-off these days. The contents are a bucket of dirt and whatever else can be found.
After Bloomquist walked away from the mob of teammates, there was dirt, gum, squashed bananas and other elements that decorated his hair and neck.
“I guess this take a post-game celebration to a whole new level,” Bloomquist said. “Feels pretty grainy but I’ll take it any day as long as we win.”
While Bloomquist towed “the party line,” he was visibly upset with the D-backs new mode of celebration.
“I can’t wait for (Prado) to get a walk-off,” Bloomquist smiled. “Pay backs are, well, you know.”
THE BEST OF THE REST
For his effort in August, Martin Prado was named the National League player-of-the-month.
During the period, Prado hit .375, fourth best in the NL, and was third among all major league players with 30 RBIs. His 65 total bases was second in the league, and his 43 hits were tops in the NL.
During the month, he scored 19 runs, tying for fifth in the league, and his .565 slugging percentage and .425 on-base percentage were both ranked ninth in the NL.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Diamondbacks now head out for a seven game road trip.
First stop, San Francisco and four with the Giants.
On Thursday night, Trevor Cahill (5-10, 4.39 ERA) takes to the hill for Arizona and will be opposed by right-hander Ryan Vogelson, who has a 3-4 mark and 5.49 ERA.
On Friday night, Patrick Corbin (13-5, 2.98 ERA) takes on righty Yuserio Petit (2-0, 3.12). On Saturday, it’s Brandon McCarthy (3-9, 4.94 ERA) against right Matt Cain (8-8, 4.43) and on Sunday, Wade Miley (9-10, 3.78) takes on lefty Madison Bumgarner (11-9, 2.91).
Then, it’s on to Dodger Stadium with three with Los Angeles.
The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field for a seven game home stand against the Rockies and Dodgers.