Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:01 am
 

Brewers, D-Backs find home is where the runs are

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In the National League divisional series between the Diamondbacks and Brewers, home is where the offense is, as the home team has outscored the visitors 31-12 in the first four games of the series, winning each game.

Forget the starting pitchers, geography could be the biggest factor in the deciding Friday's Game 5 and which team moves on to the NLDS. Not only have the two teams held serve at home through the first four games, but their offenses have responded to home cooking.

The sample sizes are small, but the difference in offense between the home and road teams in this series is glaring, and also in line with the teams' regular-season performances.

So far in the NLDS, Arizona is hitting .343/.410/.586 at home and .212/.278/.424 on the road. During the season, Arizona's splits were .262/.337/.444 at Chase Field and and .239/.308/.383 away from home. The Diamondbacks scored 400 runs at Chase FIeld and 331 away from it during the season.

Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero was hitless in the first two games in Milwaukee, but then went 5 for 8 in Games 3 and 4. During the season, Montero was actually better away from home, hitting .291/.363/.482 with 10 of his homers away from Chase Field and .273/.339/.455 at home.

The Brewers are also continuing their trend of struggles away from Miller Park. Milwaukee hit .313/.356/.522 in the first two games at Miller Park and .215/.278/.369 at Chase Field. During the regular season, the Brewers -- owners of baseball's best home record -- scored 389 runs at home with a .277/.344/.461 slash line and scored 332 runs while hitting .246/.307/.391 away from home.

The Brewers' three All-Star starters -- Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks -- have gone a combined 10-22 at home and 3-23 at Chase Field. For the season, the trio has hit .326/.421/.612 at Miller Park and .281/.362/.494 on the road.

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Brewers-Diamondbacks series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:32 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 3:05 am
 

Gibson's move, Roenicke's non-move prove big



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Kirk Gibson had a quick hook -- and Ron Roenicke's was too slow. Because of that, the Diamondbacks and Brewers are headed back to Milwaukee for a Game 5 on Friday.

Both managers had pivotal decisions to make in the third inning in Wednesday's Game 4 of the National League division series -- usually much too early for managerial tinkering but with the season on the line, it's never too early to make a bold decision. And that's exactly what Gibson did.

MIL-ARI NLDS Game 4

Even with a 5-3 lead, Gibson gambled that the Brewers high-powered offense could score more runs and every run the Diamondbacks added would be vital to victory. So, with two outs and runners on second and third, Gibson sent pinch hitter Collin Cowgil to hit for starter Joe Saunders.

Meanwhile, Roenicke kept his struggling starter, Randy Wolf, in the game.

"There's been a lot of outings this year he's first inning scuffled and then turned it around and really got us to the sixth seventh inning," Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "That's what we were hoping to do."

Saunders gave up runs in each of the first three innings, but actually got out of a deep hole in the top of the third, getting out of a two-on, no-out jam with just one run surrendered. After walking Ryan Braun, Saunders got Prince Fielder to fly out to center, Rickie Weeks to fly out to right and Yuniesky Betancourt to pop up to second. It seemed he'd found himself and was starting to find the strike zone. Saunders had a 5.18 ERA in the first inning this season and a 2.99 ERA in innings 4-6.

However, with a chance to put more runs on the board, Gibson gambled by going with the pinch-hitter and leaving the final six innings up to his bullpen.

Cowgill, a .239 hitter in his rookie season, came through with a single to score two runs and increase the Arizona lead. Wolf got Willie Bloomquist to fly out to end the inning, but that would be the end of his night -- a batter too early.

Wolf was the third batter scheduled to bat in the top of the fourth, so perhaps Roenicke didn't want to burn two relievers and a pinch-hitter in one move, but that would have been a small price to pay to avoid a four-run deficit.

After Micah Owings gave the Diamondbacks two scoreless innings, rookie Jarrod Parker -- in just his second big-league appearance -- struggled, loading the bases, but once again Gibson knew when to head to the mound in time to limit damage, as Bryan Shaw came in to save the day, surrendering just one run and keeping the Diamondbacks on top. 

Gibson was roundly criticized early in this series, but Wednesday he made all the right moves and there's a Game 5 on Friday because of them.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:25 am
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Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 5:37 pm
 

NLDS Game 4: D-Back fever, catch it. Please



By C. Trent Rosecrans

You'd think Tuesday's thrilling victory over the Brewers in Game 3 of the National League division series would be all the advertising the Diamondbacks would need to sell tickets to Wednesday's Game 4. You'd be wrong.

As late as Wednesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks official Twitter feed said there were "good seats still available" for Game 4.

Despite the team's surprising run to the National League West title, Arizona was still 18th in overall attendance on the season, averaging 25,992 per game -- up from 25,394 in 2010. Among playoff teams, only the Rays had a lower attendance. The Rays drew 18,878 per game, more than only the A's.

The Diamondbacks played before an average capacity of 53.4 percent, the seventh lowest in baseball. No playoff team had a worse percentage. Tampa Bay played in front of an average of 55.4 percent full crowds at Tropicana Field.

Game 4: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TBS

Brewers Diamondbacks
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Willie Bloomquist SS
2 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B 2 Aaron Hill 2B
3 Ryan Braun LF 3 Justin Upton RF
4 Prince Fielder 1B 4 Miguel Montero C
5 Rickie Weeks 2B 5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B
6 Yuniesky Betancourt SS 6 Chris Young CF
7 Carlos Gomez SS 7 Ryan Roberts 3B
8 George Kottaras C 8 Gerardo Parra LF
9 Shaun Marcum RHP 9 Joe Saunders LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Wolf vs. Diamondbacks: The left-hander has had trouble against Arizona this season, losing both his starts and putting up a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched. On July 5 he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in six innings of a Brewers loss at Miller Park, while he was better on July 18, allowing just two earned runs (three total) on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings at Chase Field. Justin Upton is just 5 for 20 (.250) against Wolf, but two of those five hits are homers. Lyle Overbay, Parra, Roberts and Young also have homers against Wolf.

Saunders vs. Brewers: Saunders earned a no-decision in the Diamondbacks' loss to the Brewers on July 20, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee. Braun is 2 for 6 in his career against Saunders with two homers. Prince Fielder is hitless in six plate appearances against Saunders, striking out three times and walking once.

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The roof will be closed for Game 4 at Chase Field.
  • Saunders injured his left hand in batting practice earlier in the series.
  • Goldschmidt gets his third consecutive start over Overbay. Goldschmidt has struggled against left handers this season, hitting just .162/.279/.378 with two homers in 43 plate appearances. Overbay was 3 for 8 with a double and a homer against Wolf in his career, but had four strikeouts.
  • Gomez and Kottaras are making their first starts of the series. Kottaras has an RBI double and a walk in his only two plate appearances against Saunders. Gomez is 4 for 13 with a double and triple against the Diamondbacks starter.
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Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 6:27 pm
 

NLDS Game 3 Preview: Brewers looking to sweep



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TNT

Brewers Diamondbacks
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Willie Bloomquist SS
2 Nyjer Morgan CF 2 Aaron Hill 2B
3 Ryan Braun LF 3 Justin Upton RF
4 Prince Fielder 1B 4 Miguel Montero C
5 Rickie Weeks 2B 5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B
6 Jerry Hairston Jr 3B 6 Chris Young CF
7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS 7 Ryan Roberts 3B
8 Jonathan Lucroy C 8 Gerardo Parra LF
9 Shaun Marcum RHP 9 Josh Collmenter RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Marcum vs. Diamondbacks: Marcum earned a no decision in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. Every Brewer that has faced Marcum has managed a hit against him, but only Upton has more than one (2 for 6). Montero's lone hit in three at-bats against Marcum was for a homer.

Collmenter vs. Brewers: Collmenter was moved up in the rotation in part because of his success against the Brewers. In two starts against Milwaukee this season, the Brewers haven't scored on him in 14 innings. Collmenter started in back-to-back starts around the All-Star break, getting a no-decision after six innings of three-hit ball on July 6 in Milwaukee and picking up the win after allowing just three hits in eight innings at Chase Field on July 18. On the Brewers, only Fielder (2 for 5), Morgan (2 for 6) and Betancourt (1 for 3) have hits off Collmenter. All the Brewers hits off Collmenter have been singles. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Diamondbacks had hoped to have the roof open at Chase Field for Game 3, but there was a dust storm before the game that caused the team to close the roof. A final decision will be made later.
  • Left-hander Joe Saunders was the original scheduled starter for Tuesday's game, but an injury to his hand in batting practice earlier int he season pushed him back to Game 4.
  • While Milwaukee struggled on the road this season (32-42), the team split its four games at Chase Field.
  • Milwaukee is looking to win its first postseason series since the 1982 ALCS.
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Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Diamondbacks return home with hope

Josh Collmenter

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

The Diamondbacks have two things going for them heading into Tuesday night's Game 3 of the National League division series -- Josh Collmenter and Chase Field.

The right-handed Collmenter has faced the Brewers twice this season, throwing a total of 14 shutout innings against the Brewers in back-to-back starts in July. Collmenter, who has an unorthodox over-the-top throwing motion, struck out 10 and walked just one in those two games against the Brewers. 

2011 playoffs

Left-hander Joe Saunders was scheduled to take the mound for Arizona in Game 3, but he hurt his hand in batting practice recently and the team wanted to give him another day of rest. Collmenter had been scheduled to go to the bullpen.

The Brewers held baseball's best home record in the regular season, going 57-24 at Miller Park and 39-42 on the road. Arizona had the National League's third-best home record at 51-30, behind just the Brewers and Phillies.

Despite the Brewers' road struggles, they did split their four games at Chase Field this season.

"You have to be confident. We were standing there like in the 8th inning, and I was talking to (Miguel Montero), and I think (Justin Upton) was over there, as crazy as it seems right now, this type of game, if you can come back and win, the momentum shifts on it," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said in Sunday's postgame news conference. "And I was specifically thinking about where we were against the Mets in 1988. We were basically three outs away from going down three games to one to Doc Gooden on the mound. So you have a will, you have to try and find a way. It's the attitude we'll take."

It will also mark the return to Chase Field of Prince Fielder, who was booed during the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game because of the new format that allowed the team captains to pick their own team. Fielder didn't pick Upton and instead took teammate Rickie Weeks, drawing the ire of the hometown fans in Phoenix -- he was booed again later in the month when the Brewers played in Arizona and should expect more boos Tuesday. Fielder, though, didn't take much offense at the time:



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Posted on: October 2, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Brewers' 'other guys' come through

Jonathan Lucroy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The guy who can't hit didn't need to -- all Jonathan Lucroy needed to do was lay down a bunt and he did that to help give Milwaukee a 9-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.

After Saturday's Brewers win, Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy said he didn't worry about pitching to the Brewers catcher because "it was a guy who can't really hit." Lucroy got Kennedy for what ended up being the winning run on a bloop single Saturday, and then drove in the winning run Sunday with his suicide squeeze in the Brewers' five-run sixth inning.

Lucroy was just one of the "other guys" who powered the team's big inning, as Milwaukee batted around in the inning.

On Saturday, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was criticized for not pitching around Prince Fielder, as the 3-4 tandem of Fielder and Ryan Braun combined to go 5 for 8 in Game 1, while the rest of the team was 3 for 23. Those two continued their dominance on Sunday, going a combined 4 for 8 with four RBI, but the "other guys" stepped up -- going 8 for 27 on the night, including three hits in the sixth.

"If we can get on base with those big guys, and two, three, four hole, that's the key a lot of times," Lucroy said at the postgame news conference. "Especially when he pitches around those guys so much. That means they've got to pitch to them, when we're on base in front of them. Like Corey (Hart) and Nyjer (Morgan)."

Sunday those guys and more came through when the Brewers needed them most. Braun and Fielder drove in four runs and the rest drove in five.

The key was the sixth inning when Jerry Hariston Jr. doubled with one out in the inning to chase Daniel Hudson from the game. Reliever Brad Ziegler then balked Hairston to third and after Yuniesky Betancourt walked, Lucroy came through with the bunt, which gave Milwaukee the lead. Saturday there were two outs for Lucroy when he hit the blooper off of Hudson, Sunday there was just one, so he could lay down the bunt. Lucroy had four sacrifice bunts during the season.

"It's always a tough call for me because I still like him offensively swinging the bat, but he's doing such a good job at the squeeze, that he's in the right spot to do it," manager Ron Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "Sometimes you look at your lineups and you have that pitcher after him. If there's not a place to put Luc on, it's a nice play for him."

After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Mark Kotsay to put the double play back in order, Hart and Morgan came through with back-to-back RBI singles before Braun capped the scoring with an RBI single of his own. By that time, the damage was done and the guy "who can't really hit" came through.

"It don't matter to me. I just like to win," Lucroy said in the news conference. "Whether it's conventionally or unconventionally, I'll take a win any day."

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 10:56 pm
 

Umpire's blown call costs D-Backs' Hill a double

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, an umpiring mistake has jumped to the forefront of a playoff game, even if it may not end up meaning too much in the large scheme of things. However, Arizona's Aaron Hill did get a base taken away from him in the first inning of Sunday's Game 2 of the NLDS.

With one out in the first, the Diamondbacks' second baseman hit a ball down the left-field line off of Brewers starter Zack Greinke. Umpire James Hoye, positioned on the line, called the ball foul, even as Hill scooted into second for a double. Replays showed Hill's liner hit on the fair side of a yellow stripe on the wall.

Hill went back to the plate and calmly nailed the next pitch into center for a single.

Hoye, who is working in the first postseason of his career, was in the sunlight and the ball landed into what was a shaded part of the stadium at that time. The shadows in Milwaukee have been an issue this series and may have played a part in Hoye's call.  

Greinke then got Justin Upton to pop up weakly to Prince Fielder in foul territory and struck out Miguel Montero on four pitches to end the inning. Despite that, it's impossible to say the inning was changed by the call, as pitchers pitch differently with a runner on second than they do with one on first. Chances are Greinke would get out of the inning, but there's no way to know that for sure.

Postseason games have umpires positioned on the outfield lines just for those calls. Of course, there's another way to fix those kinds of calls, but I think we here at Eye On Baseball have made our position on expanded replay clear, so no need to beat that dead horse (but feel free to do so in the comments).

More Brewers-Diamondbacks NLDS coverage 

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