Swept past under the rug
Last week the D-backs were swept in Atlanta, then dropped the first game of a four-game series in Washington, pushing their longest losing streak of the season to six games. In the process, their lead in the NL West was cut to a single game.
The comfortable cushion that the D-backs built had nearly evaporated seemingly overnight. With three games remaining on the road trip, the season was clearly at a turning point. Fortunately for D-back fans, the snakes were able to put the losing streak to rest in pursuit of a sweep of their own.
Kennedy for President
The D-backs took the field Tuesday night in the nation’s capital with ace Ian Kennedy on the mound. This was a game that the D-backs needed to win to squash the losing streak and preserve their standing atop the NL West.
Kennedy ensured the victory by pitching seven scoreless innings. The win got the D-backs back on the winning path and they haven’t lost since. After winning their final three games against the Nationals, Arizona returned home and pulled off a three game sweep of the San Diego Padres.
Capped off with another Ian Kennedy victory pushing his record on the season to 17-4, a number that should keep Kennedy in the Cy Young conversation.
The current six-game winning streak has helped the D-backs push their division lead back up to four with only 28 games remaining in the season. During the streak, the D-backs have played sound, fundamental baseball, highlighted by the starters being the pitcher of record in all six wins.
This is significant because it’s an indication that the games have gone according to plan. The starters have pitched effectively and deep into games.
The batters are getting runs early enough to allow the starters to pitch with a lead. Finally, relievers are coming in and shutting the door. That’s how the game is supposed to be played. This is a script worth repeating over and over again.
Second baseman Kelly Johnson was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a pair of veteran infielders. Aaron Hill is having a comparable year to Johnson.
Both have been underperforming thus far, but a change of scenery can often revitalize a player’s performance. Hopefully that will be the case with Aaron Hill and the D-backs.
Hill is only a year removed from a monster season where he had 195 hits with 36 home runs and 108 RBIs. Hill displayed some of that power potential on Sunday afternoon when he hit a two run homer against the Padres.
McDonald was brought in to help fill the void at shortstop in the absence of Stephen Drew.
Both players are undoubtedly excited about joining the pennant chase and should be embraced by D-back fans.