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Gerardo Parra socked two doubles and Cody Ransom and Jason Kubel added home runs, but it wasn’t enough overcome a suddenly clicking Philadelphia Phillies offense as the Arizona Diamondbacks fell at Chase Field Tuesday night 8-5. Vance Worley pitched six innings of one run ball, and he got help from Hunter Pence, Jayson Nix, and Shane Victorino, who all hit home runs in the victory.
We’ll get to the offensive side of things in a moment, but the big story on Tuesday night was the performance of Josh Collmenter. Still trying to hold onto his rotation spot, Collmenter teetered maddeningly between unhittable and unmissable, striking out six Phillies but allowing six earned runs, including two home runs in the game. He seemed to be hitting the strike zone a lot more often, but all too often, he would end up grooving a pitch that a Phillies hitter could easily slap around the yard, and they did it all too often.
So far this season, Collmenter has already racked up an ERA of slightly under 10.00 and a WHIP that’s a staggering 1.70. He’s also only averaging slightly less than 60 pitches per start, indicating that manager Kirk Gibson is having to yank him early on far too often. With long reliever Wade Miley already pushed into the rotation because of Daniel Hudson‘s injury and Joe Patterson being sent down to the minors, the Diamondbacks need their starters to work deep into games, and Collmenter simply has not been doing that.
Adding to his woes are the three stud pitchers in Arizona’s farm system that are angling to take his spot from him. Tyler Skaggs may be 0-2 so far this season for Double-A Mobile, but he has 27 strikeouts and only three walks in 17.1 innings, and he has only given up one home run, as opposed to Collmenter’s six.
Trevor Bauer, meanwhile, is also pitching for Double-A in his first full year as a professional. He is already 4-0 with a sparkling 0.40 ERA. He does have 28 strikeouts in 22.2 innings, but he does have 14 walks already, so he is dealing with a little bit of a control issue.
Finally, there’s Patrick Corbin, who has a 1-0 record with a 2.25 ERA. He isn’t a strikeout machine by any stretch, but he does have a very respectable 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings, and only has six walks in those innings.
If the Diamondbacks want to replace Collmenter in the rotation at any point in the near future, they do have three tremendous options. Out of the three, they would likely go with Skaggs first, simply because of the fact that Bauer barely has any professional experience, and Skaggs has a slew of it despite being only being 20 years old. Corbin is slightly older, so he very well could get the gig as well, but sources have repeatedly said that Skaggs is first in line, so it will be interesting to see how long of a leash the team gives Collmenter as time wears on.
Back to the offense of the Diamondbacks, they still looked pretty good despite the presence of an “L” in the win-loss column. They displayed some power with Ransom and Kubel’s home runs, but they also showed an ability to get an inning going with base hits and aggressiveness on the basepaths. In the seventh inning and down 7-1, the Diamondbacks got a leadoff double from Willie Bloomquist, then followed up by a double by Ryan Roberts. Then as if that wasn’t enough, Parra socked a double as well, knocking Roberts in. It was lightning quick, and the score was already 7-3.
After those hits, you would think that Gibson would just like to keep the conga line going, but instead of relying on momentum to carry the day, he gambled and sent Parra on a steal of third base. It worked, and it allowed Justin Upton to drive him in with a groundout to shortstop, which he wouldn’t have been able to do had Parra stayed put. It was once again evidence that Gibson is willing to roll the dice when necessary, and that can only mean good things for his offense.
Now, the Diamondbacks will try tomorrow to win the rubber match of their series against the Phillies. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40pm MST, with Cole Hamels toeing the slab for Philadelphia and Trevor Cahill opposing him for Arizona.
Player of the Game: Jason Kubel
Kubel did hit a home run in the game, but he mostly gets Player of the Game honors because of the fact that he was ripped off by umpires not once, but twice in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Kubel ended up getting called out on strikes on a ball that was probably a foot and a half outside. To his credit, he didn’t go bonkers at the missed call, but instead just headed back on to the field resolved to make a difference in some way.
In the top of the very next inning, the Diamondbacks had one out and the Phillies had runners at second and third. Juan Pierre hit a sinking floater to left field, and Kubel made a diving catch…..except that Angel Hernandez didn’t see it that way. He ruled it a trap, but upon further inspection, it became crystal clear that Kubel did indeed make the catch, and it can be argued that the momentum shift enabled the Phillies to clear the bases with their very next batter.
Once again to his credit, Kubel slugged a home run later in the game, and you could almost see him wanting to show the umpires every ball he caught for the rest of the contest in a show of protest of the missed call.
-Before the ninth inning on Monday, the Phillies had scored two runs in their previous 26 innings of offensive work. Including that frame, the last 10 innings that the Phillies have played have seen them plate 13 runs.
-After not having driven in a single run all season, Upton has now driven in three runs in his past two games.
-The Diamondbacks have two players in the top 15 in the National League in total pitches faced at the plate. Aaron Hill leads the team, having seen 294 pitches for an average of 4.03 per plate appearance. Kubel has seen 289 and is 14th in that category, but his average of 4.66 pitches per plate appearance actually leads Major League Baseball.