D-backs Bats Are Back; Now Arms Are A Concern

The Arizona Diamondbacks spent all of April looking for ways to score runs. Now that they are scoring under the supervision of new manager A.J. Hinch and new hitting coach Jack Howell, they aren't pitching as well under the guidance of Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

A.J. Hinch has been the Diamondbacks' manager for exactly four weeks, and while the offense has picked up, the pitching numbers have gotten worse, leading to a continued slide in the standings.

The D-backs are 11-14 (.440) under Hinch after losing two of three games to NL West-Leading Los Angeles. The team was off Thursday before beginning a four-game series in San Diego on Friday. Arizona was 12-17 (.414) under Melvin.

The D-backs hitters -- thanks to Justin Upton's torrid run -- have picked up since Jack Howell took over from Rich Schu as hitting coach. Arizona,.  They hit .212 as a team before the change, but .262 under Howell. The Diamondbacks are  also now hitting .262 with runners in scoring position, improving from .186. They are averaging 4.8 runs a game since May 8 -- a 25 percent jump after averaging 3.6 previously.

At the same time, the staff ERA is 4.86 since Bryan Price, the 2007 Baseball America major league coach of the year, left with Melvin, adding 0.7 earned runs a game since Mel Stottlemyre Jr. took over as pitching coach.

Melvin, the 2007 NL Manager of the Year, was fired the last time the D-backs were in San Diego, for a two-game series May 6-7. He was told he was being ousted May 6, but it was not made public until the team returned home after a May 7 loss.

The D-backs trailed the Dodgers by 8 1/2 games then; they are now 13 back.


-The D-backs have not scored in 16 innings, since OF Justin Upton's grand slam in the second inning Tuesday gave them a 5-0 lead over the Dodgers. Los Angeles scored five runs in the eighth inning to win that game 6-5 before posting a 1-0 shutout victory Wednesday. The D-backs were 4-for-24 with runners in scoring position in the series, and two of those hits were singles that moved a runner from second base to third. They are hitting .226 with runners in scoring position, 29th in the majors.

--The D-backs have promoted five players from Class AA Mobile in manager A.J Hinch's 28 days: OF Gerardo Parra, RHP Bryan Augenstein, LHP Clay Zavada, LHP Daniel Schlereth, and RHP Kyler Newby. Augenstein and Newby have since been returned to the minor leagues. Augenstein made two starts before going back to Class AAA Reno. Newby was up for one day, May 21, as a safety measure in case a bullpen arm was needed. He was not used, and he returned to the Mobile the next day.

--The D-backs' streak of games with an extra-base hit ended at 53 this season and 73 overall when they managed only seven singles against Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley and three relievers Wednesday. Billingsley was the pitcher at the other end of the streak, too. The D-backs had an extra-base hit every game this season and last after falling to Billingsley last September 6 at Dodger Stadium.

--RHP Dan Haren had more hits than he gave up Tuesday, as he tied a career-high with three singles. He gave up two hits, a double, and a homer in seven innings. Haren, a pitcher/DH at Pepperdine, hit .211 with seven doubles and six RBI last season and is hitting .280 this year.

--RHP Jon Garland has been a different pitcher at home and on the road this season. Garland made his fifth consecutive quality start on the road Wednesday, giving up one run in a 1-0 loss at Dodger Stadium, his first career appearance there, with a season-high six strikeouts. He is 2-2 with a 2.01 ERA on the road this season and 2-3 with an 8.71 ERA in six starts at Chase Field. He entered the season 52-47 with a 4.15 ERA at home and 54-42 with a 4.78 ERA on the road. Chase Field consistently factors out as one of the best hitters' parks in baseball.

--OF Justin Upton was named the NL Player of the Month for May, when he hit .373 with seven doubles and 21 RBI. He also had eight doubles, four triples, and a .709 slugging percentage. Upton was chosen over Houston SS Miguel Tejada, who hit .380 with 14 doubles, five homers, and 25 RBI. Upton's slugging percentage was the highest among qualifiers in May. Tejada's was .648.

DIAMOND STAT: .094 - Chris Young's batting average through 17 road games

QUOTABLE: "Every series has been important because we're trying to make small goals, get back to .500, get back on our feet." -- Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch.

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