Paul Goldschmidt, Ian Kennedy Shine in D’Backs 4th Straight Win
Paul Goldschmidt continued his decimation of left-handed pitching with a second inning home run, and Ian Kennedy pitched eight strong innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks knocked off the Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Monday night. The victory enabled the Diamondbacks to remain perfect on their current 10 game home stand, and it also showed that the team’s offense is still clicking at a high level.
Even though weekend warrior Jason Kubel’s bat was silent tonight, the rest of his teammates picked him up. Goldschmidt was one of the biggest contributors, slugging the aforementioned home run and then coaxing a walk in the fourth inning when Colorado starter Jonathan Sanchez sheepishly walked him on four pitches.
Paul is now batting .389 against lefties this season, with a staggering 1.244 OPS in 95 at-bats against southpaws. His seven home runs and 22 RBI in those situations are also very solid numbers, and it is good to see that he has emerged as a lefty-killer despite struggling in those situations earlier in his career. According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Goldschmidt is now hitting .508 against lefties since May 19th, and all seven of his home runs against southpaws have come in the last two months as well.
As good as Goldschmidt was in dispatching the first pitch he saw from Sanchez, Kennedy was just as good if not better when the time came for him to swing the big lumber. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Rockies were one out away from escaping a very hairy jam, but Kennedy, who had one hit and one RBI this season, wasn’t backing down.
He ended up lacing a pitch over the head of Colorado center fielder Dexter Fowler, and the ball one-hopped the fence. The bases cleared on the play, and Kennedy glided into third with a stand-up triple and a huge boost of momentum for his own prospects of winning the game.
That offense that he provided continued a trend that has emerged of late in the run support department for the Diamondbacks ace. In his first 10 starts of the season, Kennedy only received 20 runs of support, but over his last 10 starts, he has now gotten 45 runs of support. His record for the season may still look shoddy, but when you consider that his teammates are finally beginning to hit for him, it doesn’t look quite so bad by comparison.
From a pitching perspective, Kennedy looked excellent in Monday’s game. He was locating his pitches well, and even when the Rockies got a couple of good hacks at the ball in the early going, hitting balls hard and deep to the outfield, he didn’t let it phase him, and he settled down nicely. His change-up was especially good in this game, and his fastball location continues to be precise, following the trend he set in his last outing against the Reds last week.
On this site earlier in the day, we said that Kennedy getting off to a dominant start in this series was going to be a key to Arizona having success against the Rockies, and he did exactly that in his eight stellar innings of work.
On the negative side of the ledger, baserunning blunders once again could have proven costly to the Diamondbacks. In the fourth inning, Goldschmidt got a terrible break on a ball that sailed over the head of Colorado’s Tyler Colvin, and ended up having to be stopped at third by Matt Williams. Justin Upton got a great jump on the ball with his vantage point from first base, and he was well around second base and nearly to third when he realized that Goldschmidt had slammed on the brakes. That left Miguel Montero, who hit the ball, in a lurch, and he was tagged out at first base.
The gaffe nearly cost the Diamondbacks a big inning, but thankfully Kennedy was there to erase the damage with his triple. The blunder follows Gerardo Parra being picked off of first base in Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros, and underscores that the Diamondbacks are not the best baserunning team in this league. Goldschmidt may have stolen a base on Monday (he is now 8 for 9 in that department this season), but it was his bad read of the line drive that could have been costly had Arizona been playing a better team.
For now, the Diamondbacks will stay satisfied with the victory, and they will look to guarantee a series victory when they send Joe Saunders to the bump on Tuesday. He will be opposed by Edwar Cabrera, who struggled mightily in his only start this season, giving up five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work.