The Phillies proved they can hang with the best in baseball as they won three games against the first place Dodgers. For this weekend’s series, they get a downgrade in competition when they face the last place Arizona Diamondbacks.
What’s the deal with the Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks were a .500 team last season, but hoped that a few key offseason additions would make them contenders. So far, that has not been the case.
The D’Backs pitching has been awful. Emerging star Patrick Corbin will miss the season due to elbow surgery, and the rest of the staff has not compensated for his absence. Aside from Wade Miley, the rest of the D’Backs starter appear to be competing to see who can be worse.
The hitting has been decent, but not nearly enough to compensate. Paul Goldschmidt remains an offensive star, but he hasn’t gotten much help. With slugger Mark Trumbo on the disabled list, things probably won’t be getting better any time soon.
Click here to read my preseason preview of the Diamondbacks.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks: The rivalry
I once remarked that the Phillies and Diamondbacks had absolutely no rivalry. Before last season, I couldn’t think of one memorable game played between the teams.
Last year, the teams finally played a game that bears mentioning. On August 24th, the Phillies were trailing by four runs entering the eighth inning, and it looked like they were headed toward another nondescript loss in a season full of them. But then thanks in part to a Darin Ruf homer, the Phillies tied the game and sent it into extra innings.
The fans certainly got their money’s worth that evening. The game went into the 18th(!) inning when the Phillies understandably ran out of pitchers. Unfortunately, Wilson Valdez was long gone by that point, and the Phillies were forced to turn to reserve outfielder Casper Wells.
Wells wasn’t much of a hitter, and as it turned out, he wasn’t too great of a pitcher either. He surrendered four runs before being relieved by another backup outfielder in John McDonald. McDonald surrendered another run before the inning mercifully ended.
Diamondbacks player who isn’t completely horrible
Paul Goldschmidt is having another good season. With a .376 on-base percentage and an .896 OPS, he can probably make plans to head to Minneapolis for the All-Star break, because it doesn’t appear that the D’Backs will have anyone else worthy of consideration.
Diamondbacks player who is horrible
The D’Backs thought they bolstered their rotation when they signed Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo has never been spectacular, but he’s generally been a solid mid-rotation starter. In fact, people were baffled why it took so long for him to sign. (He didn’t sign until just before Spring Training.)
Perhaps teams knew something, as Arroyo has not pitched well. In four starts, he is 1-2 with a 9.50 ERA.
After winning the series against the Dodgers, the Phillies have a chance to make this a very successful road trip. They just need to take care of business against the last place Diamondbacks.
That may be easier said than done. It wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that the Phillies have done well against a superior opponent only to regress against a weaker one. They need to make sure they keep playing well, and take at least two out of three games in the series.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies