Tag:Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:28 pm
 

This time Roberts slams Brewers

Ryan Roberts

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seemed like the perfect opportunity -- the Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt up with the bases loaded once again. He couldn't come through -- but Ryan Roberts did.

For the fourth straight game at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks hit a grand slam, and for the second time in those four games it was Roberts, giving the Arizona a 4-1 lead in the first-inning. Chris Young followed with a solo homer to give Arizona a 5-1 lead after one.

That's a pretty good sign for the Diamondbacks, who were 83-8 this season when leading by two or more runs.

The Diamondbacks became just the fifth team in Major League history to hit two grand slams in one playoff series and the first since the 1977 Dodgers to do it in back-to-back games.

On Wednesday, Arizona's Willie Bloomquist singled to start the inning before Aaron Hill popped up, Justin Upton walked and Miguel Montero singled. However, unlike Game 1 when the Diamondbacks were aggressive in sending Bloomquist to the plate, third base coach Matt Williams held him up to leave the bases loaded with one out and Goldschmidt, the hero of Game 3, came to the plate.

Goldschmidt was starting at first in the place of Lyle Overbay despite hitting just .162/.279/.378 against lefties. But he was coming off a good game and manager Kirk Gibson put him in the lineup against Randy Wolf. It was the perfect setup to the perfect story, except he looked at a 1-2 pitch low and inside that home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called for the third strike.

Wolf got no such help from Dreckman or anyone else when he tried to throw a 2-1 changeup past Reynolds, who hit it just to the fair side of the left-field foul pole for the Diamondbacks' fourth grand slam in as many home games. Roberts also hit the walk-off grand slam on the penultimate day of the season.

The Diamondbacks had six grand slams during the season, including one in each of the last two games of the season. But it's not just home runs when the Diamondbacks have the bases loaded, as a team Arizona hit .387/.421/.649 with bases loaded during the regular season.

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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 2, 2011 2:02 pm
 

NLDS Game 2 preview: Brewers can take control



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 5:07 p.m. ET, Miller Park, TBS

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

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Hudson vs. Brewers: In Hudson's only start against the Brewers this season, he allowed six runs (five earned) in just four innings, while giving up eight hits. Both Hart and Shaun Marcum took him deep in the game at Miller Park on July 4, but Arizona came back to beat the Brewers that day. Every Brewer starter who has faced Hudson has at least a hit against him. Hudson's never faced Braun. 

Greinke vs. Diamondbacks: Greinke earned the loss in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, but he pitched well enough to win. On July 21 at Chase Field, Greinke allowed just five hits and two runs in seven innings, but his offense was shutout. Montero and Upton touched him up for solo homers in the loss. Upton is 3 for 7 in his career against Greinke, with a double and a homer. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Brewers have announced the roof at Miller Park will be closed for today's game. Weather.com says it will be 62 degrees at first pitch. The roof was closed for Game 1, but it was about 10 degrees cooler. The Brewers say the shadows are not as bad when the roof is closed for a 5 p.m. ET start.
  • Although Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke hinted he would play Casey McGehee in Game 2, he stayed with Hairston, who drove in the Brewers' first run in Game 1 with a sacrifice fly. McGehee is 5 for 5 with a homer in his career against Arizona's Hudson, while Hairston is 1 for 4.
  • Greinke is pitching on three days rest, something he did in his last start, going 6 innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs in a victory over the Pirates that helped Milwaukee get homefield advantage for this round of the playoffs. He threw just 74 pitches on Wednesday. Greinke is much better at home than on the road. At Miller Park, he's 11-0 with a 3.13 ERA and 5-6 with a 4.70 ERA on the road.
  • Greinke wasn't the only Brewer better at home -- the whole team performed better at Miller Park. The Brewers had the best home record in baseball, going 57-24 at home and 39-42 on the road.
  • Hudson has struggled in first innings this season, putting up an average of 6.00 in the first inning.
  • The only real lineup change from Game 1 is Arizona's Goldschmidt starting at first for Overbay. Overbay has faced Greinke more than any other Diamondbacks, and has been successful. He's hitting .348/.375/.652 with two homers and six RBI in 23 at-bats against the Brewers' right-hander.
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Posted on: October 1, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 6:28 pm
 

D-Backs aggressiveness backfires in Game 1

Kirk Gibson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

All year long, the Diamondbacks were lauded for their aggressiveness. The team, it was said, was a reflection of its manager, Kirk Gibson.

Gibson was not only a great baseball player, but he was also an All-American football player at Michigan State. He was known as a player for his football mentality, and he's getting a similar reputation as a manager. The Diamondbacks were sixth in the big leagues in going first-to-third and also second in outs on the basepaths with 75. But on Saturday was he just two aggressive? Three times the Diamondbacks chose to be aggressive -- and all three times it backfired.

• As mentioned earlier, third-base coach Matt Williams sent Willie Bloomquist from second on Justin Upton's single in the first inning. Ryan Braun's throw to the plate was there in plenty of time.

• In the sixth inning, Yuniesky Betancourt tripled with two outs. Instead of intentionally walking catcher and No. 8 hitter Jonathan Lucroy to face the pitcher, Ian Kennedy went after Lucroy, a .265 hitter on the season. Lucroy blooped a pitch out of the zone into left field, allowing Betancourt to score and give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead.

• The the big decision, Gibson left in the hands of his starter. After Ryan Braun's two-out double in the seventh, Gibson went to the mound to deliberate with Kennedy about what the right-hander wanted to do with Prince Fielder. Kennedy told his manager he wanted to go after the Brewers' slugger. After a first-pitch fastball called for a strike, the TBS cameras got a great shot of Fielder smiling, realizing Kennedy was actually going to come after him. The next pitch was a curveball down and in that Brewer crushed for a two-run homer. Coincidentally, it harkened back to the 1984 World Series when Goose Gossage pitched to Gibson, who followed with a homer. In the postgame press conference, Jerry Hairston Jr., said he pointed out the similarities to Fielder after the game. Fielder, who grew up around the Tigers as the son of Cecil Fielder, said he thought of the same play, as well.

The Diamondbacks lost because of these three decisions, but they're also in the playoffs because of that same aggressiveness, that attitude that they need to push and a go for every run they can, but at the same time challenging other teams to beat them. It backfired today, it's just who they are. They'll likely take those chances again, and more often than not they'll work out.

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

Video: Gibson discusses Kennedy's performance, decision to pitch to Fielder.

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Posted on: October 1, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Brewers' defense comes up big in 1st

Ryan BraunBy C. Trent Rosecrans

For a team derided all season as having one of baseball's worst defenses, the Brewers got a big defensive play in the first inning of the first game of the National League divisional series when Ryan Braun threw out Arizona's Willie Bloomquist at the plate.

Watch the play here.

Bloomquist, who singled on the first pitch of the game, stole second and then tried to score on Justin Upton's single to left. Braun fielded the ball cleanly and made a two-hop throw to the plate, where catcher Jonathan Lucroy complete blocked the plate to record the second out of the inning. After the play, Gallardo settled down, retiring the next seven batters he faced before walking Aaron Hill to start the fourth. After the Hill walk, he retired the next seven he faced, as the Brewers took the lead in the fourth and added to it with another run in the sixth. Milwaukee went on to win, 4-1.

The Diamondbacks pride themselves on their aggressive base running, taking the extra base and third base coach Matt Williams waved Bloomquist around.

"Teams can't like us making them make the play all the time," manager Kirk Gibson told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. "They don't like it. I'm telling you. There's pressure. . . . I've made the determination that we'll be a better team by encouraging aggressiveness rather than subduing them. Understanding those risks, I just think we're a better team overall that way."

The Diamondbacks took that risk against Braun, and lost.

More Brewers-Diamondbacks

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Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:56 am
 

NLDS Game 1 preview: Gallardo owns D-Backs

Yovani Gallardo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 2:07 p.m. ET, Miller Park, TBS

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

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Kennedy vs. Brewers: The Diamondbacks' 21-game winner faced the Brewers just once this season, holding the potent Brewers offense to just four hits in seven scoreless innings. However, that one start was in Arizona and the Brewers are a much different team at home. Milwaukee is hitting .277/.344/.461 at home and .246/.307/391 away from Miller Park. Kennedy's had susccess in smalll sample sizes against Brewers batters, with Craig Counsell having the most success against him (2 for 5), while Fielder is the only Brewer batter to hit a homer off of Kennedy, tagging the right-hander once in eight at-bats, but also striking out five times. 

Gallardo vs. Diamondbacks: The Brewers right-hander has dominated the Brewers in his career, putting up a 5-0 record and 1.20 ERA in five career starts against Arizona. This season he faced Arizona twice, beating them in Milwaukee on July 6 and in Arizona on July 19. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Brewers have announced the roof at Miller Park will be closed for today's game. Weather.com says it will be 54 degrees at first pitch.
  • Fun with small sample sizes seems to be the reason for the Diamondbacks starting Overbay at first over rookie Paul Goldschmidt. Overbay is 2 for 3 in his career against Gallardo. Overbay is one of just two Diamondbacks with an average better than .333 against Gallardo, Cole Gillespie (1 for 2 with a homer) is the other. Overbay is also hot, hitting .381/.480/.667 with a homer in 25 plate appearances in September -- against, small sample sizes.
  • Another surprise in the lineups is third base for the Brewers, where Hairston gets the nod over Casey McGehee. Neither has a hit in their career against Kennedy. Expect McGehee back in the lineup Sunday against right-hander Daniel Hudson. McGehee is 5 for 5 with a homer against Hudson in his career.
  • Morgan is back in center field for Milwaukee after missing the last two regular-season games. On Monday, Morgan fouled two pitches off his right leg.
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Posted on: September 5, 2011 12:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Bloomquist kills Giants' hopes

Willie Bloomquist

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks: Bloomquist's two-run triple in the eighth inning may have been the final nail in the defending champions' 2011 coffin. Ryan Vogelsong held the Diamondbacks scoreless into the eighth inning before Ryan Roberts homered and then after Gerardo Parra singled and Geoff Blum walked, Bloomquist fired Ramon Ramirez's first pitch into the corner in right, scoring the eventual winning runs. With the 4-1 victory, Arizona leaves San Francisco up seven games in the division with 22 games remaining for each team.

Shaun Marcum, Brewers: Marcum again showed why the Brewers could be a team to be reckoned with in the postseason. Although Zack Greinke was the team's most high-profile pickup in the offseason, Marcum's been just as good, if not better. Marcum, acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays, improved to 12-5 with a 3.11 ERA after allowing just one hit and a walk in seven innings in a 4-0 victory over the Astros. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning when Jordan Schafer singled up the middle with one out. No Astro made it to second base until the eighth when Francisco Rodriguez walked J.B. Shuck and then a single to Jason Bourgeois. However, Rodriguez recovered to retire the next two batters he faced to quell the scare. With the win and the Cardinals' loss to the Reds, Milwaukee now leads the NL Central by 9 1/2 games.

Derek Jeter, Yankees: Many of us said Jeter was too old and should just be sent out back and shot (or, you know, out to stud or whatever Derek Jeter will do after he's done with baseball), but those of us who said that (with me raising my hand right here) were wrong. The Captain didn't just go 2 for 5, tying a career-high five RBI in Sunday's 9-3 rout of Toronto, but since the All-Star break he's hitting .343/.397/.448. The one thing he hasn't done much of in that span is hit homers, but he had his second of the second half on Sunday and first since July 25. However, on a team with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, the Yankees don't need Jeter to hit homers, just be on base when the others do.


John Lackey, Red Sox: A favorite whipping boy of Red Sox fans, Lackey looked as if he were getting it together -- going five straight starts without giving up more than four earned runs (baby steps, people, baby steps). That streak ended on Sunday. Lackey allowed six runs on eight hits in five-plus innings of work. He didn't retire a batter in the Rangers' seven-run sixth inning, leaving after allowing three straight singles, threw a wild pitch and then walked a batter before being lifted. Lefty Felix Doubront gave up Lackey's final three runs and then three of his own in a 11-4 Rangers victory.

Mark Reynolds, Orioles: The Orioles third baseman committed two errors in the Orioles' 8-1 loss to the Rays, taking over the lead in the majors for errors, leapfrogging shortstops Elvis Andrus of the Rangers and Starlin Castro of the Cubs, who both have 25 errors. Reynolds hadn't started a game at third base since Aug. 14, but was moved back to third on Sunday to give Robert Andino a day off. Reynolds booted a two-out grounder with bases loaded in the third inning and led to four unearned runs in the inning. Reynolds' fielding percentage is down to .897 at third base. He's dead last in pretty much any fielding stat you want to name, UZR, UZR/150 and fielding percentage among them -- and it's not really close. Among qualified third basemen, none have a fielding percentage less than .940.

David Herndon, Phillies: His 2-1 pitch to Mike Cameron with bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th was close -- but his 3-1 pitch wasn't, as Herndon walked in Emilio Bonifacio to give Florida a 5-4 victory. Herndon loaded the bases in the 13th inning, but got out of it. He couldn't repeat the feat in the 14th, despite not allowing a ball out of the infield. In 3 2/3 innings, he walked seven batters -- so really blaming one call on one pitch doesn't carry much weight.

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