Make that two wins together at Chase Field and that’s something the Diamondbacks have not been able to do in nearly the first two months of the season. Plus, the Sunday victory enabled the Diamondbacks to take their first home series of the season.
Rather remarkable, but Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers before 35,406 in Case Field seem to be more of a physical relief than an emotional lift.
At some point, this team was bound to overcome their dismal start. A few veterans left over the championship team of three years, a sprinkle of producing rookies and a spirit undaunted by the horrible start, the Diamondbacks collectively believe they have began to pick themselves off the mat.
Some say it begins with the pitching and others believe the bats need to be the catalyst. Whatever the philosophy and approach, the series over the Dodgers was the D-backs fourth series win in their last five series.
By taking a series, a team usually wins two-out-of-three games and that’s a .667 clip. Keep that up over the course of the season and that’s a ticket to the post-season.
With Arizona, though, not so fast.
This team must recover from nearly two months of futility. Yet, there are some signs that there is a faint beep on the Diamondbacks’ life support monitor.
Coming on the direct result of their record-breaking effort Saturday night, the Diamondbacks came-from-behind to claim victory Sunday. That’s a consequence all too rare these days but, in the recent years, this seems to be one of the team’s important method of operation.
If the Diamondbacks are to climb back too respectability, pitching may be the important vehicle. In raising his season-record to 3-2, starter Josh Collmenter started slowly but finished strong.
In recent starts, this appeared to be Collmenter’s modus operandi.
On Sunday, it was déjà vu for Collmenter. After he surrendered a solo blast to Hanley Ramirez and a two-run shot to Adrian Gonzalez in the third, Collmenter neatly settled into a groove. After the Gonzalez home run, the Homer, Mich. native retired the next nine hitters until lifted in the sixth.
“Other than the two balls they hit out, I felt pretty good,” Collmenter told MLB.com. “I was down in the strike zone. That’s something I’ve to focus. The emphasis was keeping things down.”
If Collmenter did his part, the offense picked him up. Down 3-1 in the third, Chris Owings singled in one and Cody Ross homered in the fourth to deadlock matters.
Off the bench for the injured Martin Prado in the fifth, Eric Chavez drilled a two-run blast and that the D-backs their margin of victory.
Following the effort of Collmenter, the bullpen of Oliver Perez, Evan Marshall (0.00 ERA), Brad Ziegler and Addison Reed (12th save) shut the door on the Dodgers.
Afterward, manager Kirk Gibson reflected on the past two days.
“We got into this series and picked up momentum from (Saturday’s game),” he told MLB.com. “This was good for us. The thing about (Saturday’s game) is unless you play good today, it doesn’t mean anything.”
EARLY DEPATURE FOR PRADO
Third baseman Martin Prado was in the starting line-up Sunday but was taken out after two plate appearances.
Prado said he woke up Sunday morning and experienced blurred vision in his right eye. Manager Kirk Gibson pulled Prado in the fifth inning.
“I wasn’t recognizing (any pitches),” Prado told MLB.com. “It wasn’t a good idea to keep playing like that.”
Prado was not on the team charter to St. Louis Sunday night. Instead, Prado will see an ophthalmologist Monday morning and fly out to meet his teammates.
Eric Chavez replaced Prado and promptly delivered the game-winner Sunday with a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN …
On Tuesday, the Diamondbacks open a six-game road trip with three on the banks of the Mississippi River.
For the opener in St. Louis, the D-backs send Bronson Arroyo (4-2, 4.15 ERA) to the hill against the Cards’ ace Adam Wainwright (6-2, 2.11).
Previously facing the Cardinals, Arroyo has had success. Allen Craig is a .222 hitter, Matt Holliday is hitting .296 with four home runs but catcher Yadier Molina has a .192 lifetime batting average against Arroyo.
Against Wainwright, Miguel Montero owns a .354 lifetime average while Martin Prado has hit .308 against the Cardinals’ right-hander.
On Wednesday night, it’s Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 5.01) up against right-hander Michael Wacha (3-3, 2.82) and in Thursday’s game, Wade Miley (3-3, 4.94) faces right-hander Lance Lynn (5-2, 3.67).
While he said he would travel with the team, Tony La Russa, the D-backs newly appointed Chief Baseball Officer, said he would not go to St. Louis. La Russa managed there for 1996 to 2011 and told reporters that going back to St. Louis so soon in his tenure with Arizona was not on the immediate agenda.
Then, it’s off the Citi Field in New York and a three-game date with the Mets.
The D-backs return to Chase Field for the Memorial Day holiday, Monday May 26 for a 5:10 date with San Diego. The Padres remain for two more games and then the Cincinnati Reds come in for four beginning Thursday night May 29.