The Arizona Diamondbacks are the best kept secret in baseball. The club is also winning games without much production from its’ star player Justin Upton. We wanted to get to the bottom of the pit and see what’s going on. We reached out to Chris Czar, Editor of Venom Strikes.
How are the starters the Pirates will face in the series?
Two have been good, one hasn’t. The Pirates get the three starters that are the most established in the D-Backs rotation. Joe Saunders does it with smoke and mirrors, but he was great in his first start. He walks too many guys and doesn’t strike anyone out, but somehow he gets the job done. Ian Kennedy doesn’t have a blazing fastball, but he’s an intellegent pitcher and hasn’t shown any signs of a let down after his awesome 2011. Daniel Hudson has a ton of talent but has been bad this season. He’s struggling with control and unable to find any consistency. Last season was the first season he pitched more than 100 innings in a year so maybe he has a little bit of a hangover from 2011. Unfortunately for Pirates fans, they miss Josh Collmenter who is one bad start from being out of the rotation. Former A’s ace Trevor Cahill is the other starter that the Pirates will miss.
We noticed you wrote about the Diamondbacks bullpen recently, what’s up with them? We thought that would be a strength?
The bullpen has actually been great this season, except in a few key situations. They’ve already take 3 losses and blown 3 saves at key moments. The overall numbers are tremendous, but they hopefully just suffered a hiccup this past week in blowing games to the Padres and Rockies.
How have the DBacks managed such a great start with little from Justin Upton?
Two words–Chris Young. He’s been the Robin to Upton’s Batman the last couple of years, but he got off to an awesome start and more than covered for the lack of production from Upton early one. Young’s known for strikeouts and great defense, but he’s a tremendously talented player who hasn’t yet lived up to his full potential. Upton’s slow start might have been prolonged by a thumb injury, but he’s starting to hit his groove which could be bad news for Pirates starters.
What Diamondbacks player should we keep an eye on in this series?
I’ll give you two guys to watch–at one position. I think there’s a pending battle between Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra in left field. Kubel stole Parra’s job when he did nothing to lose it and his slow start might have opened the door a little for Parra to get his job back. It’ll be interesting to see if they start pushing each other for the starting spot. I’ll be keeping a close eye on them. Also, Miguel Montero is one of the best catcher’s in the game, a pending free agent and coming off a hot series. He’s very underrated.
Is Gibby human or alien?
Neither. I have to say he’s a cyborg.
The Diamondbacks have been living on the quality not quantity concept of offense. Nice slugging numbers, 10th in MLB, while hitting just .232, good for 22nd in baseball. When we look at how the Bucs put the early rotation together, we like Erik Bedard’s chances tonight facing the Diamondbacks number five in Joe Saunders.
Justin Upton has been off his usual game. He has no homers and has driven in zero runs. Let’s trust he doesn’t break out in this series.
The Diamondbacks don’t hit left handers well. (Who does) We think Tony Watson could shine tonight. Actually, the Bucco bullpen should be the difference in the series. The Snakes have played in six one-run games. Grabbing leads and cruising. But the team is pathetic with runners in scoring position thus far. How pathetic? Like a buck fifty. The Pirates bullpen has pitched extremely well and is still rather well rested thanks to some nice work from the starters. One exception tonight: Hanrahan after all those pitches in San Francisco yesterday afternoon?