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Diamondbacks Update - May 24, 2010 | June
The Diamondbacks head into a three game series at Tampa Bay with a 28-45 record, 14.5 games behind the division-leading Padres. Let's take a quick look at the team's performance heading into this weekend. Starting Pitching: The front four of the starting rotation have been pitching very well of late. After a rough month of May, Dan Haren has a 3.15 ERA in June, with 33K/6BB in 34.1 IP. Ian Kennedy has been consistent all season. He did have one tough start against the Red Sox last week, giving up 6 ER in 6 IP, but that is the only time he has allowed more than 3 ER in his last ten starts. Edwin Jackson has also been solid in June, with a 2.76 ERA over four starts.  Rodrigo Lopez, the #4 starter, has been up and down, but at least has been eating innings and keeping the bullpen away.  Over his last five starts, Lopez has pitched 7 IP three times, and 8 IP twice.  His season ERA is 4.59, which is about as good as the team could have hoped.  The #5 starter is still a problem. Dontrelle Willis has been having major control problems, walking 21 batters in just 17.1 IP as a Diamondback.  In his last start, Willis walked 7 in just 2.1 innings. The Diamondbacks just don't have many other options available, so Willis may get another  chance against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Injured Starters: Brandon Webb threw another 65-pitch session on Wednesday, and said his arm slot is getting more consistent. The next step for Webb is to throw from a full windup. Kris Benson had a second cortisone shot last Friday, and plans to play catch on Saturday before throwing some bullpen sessions. He is still at least a couple of weeks away. Relief Pitching: The bullpen now has an 8-17 record, with a 7.26 ERA. This puts them easily in last place in the league, with the Brewers at #15 at 5.89, and the Astros at #14 at 4.89. Aaron Heilman did get a Save against the Tigers on the 19th, but blew the Save against the Yankees on Wednesday and has allowed runs in his last three appearances. For now, Heilman is still the closer. Newly-acquired Sam Demel is off to a great start, throwing 3.2 IP without allowing a baserunner, while striking out 4. And he has faced tough competition - the Red Sox once and the Yankees twice. Demel is rapidly moving up the bullpen ladder, and could find himself with the closer's job soon. Juan Gutierrez's ERA peaked at 10.31 on June 1st, but he has brought it down to 8.03 with 5.1 scoreless innings. Gutierrez has still been giving up too many hits, but at least he's avoided the walks and home runs for the last two weeks.  Esmerling Vasquez had allowed only 1 ER in 7.1 IP until he gave up 5 runs to the Yankees on Tuesday. Chad Qualls is still not pitching well, but at least his runs allowed per game is moving is the right direction - 4 vs. ATL, 3 vs. STL, 2 vs. DET, and only 1 vs the Yankees on Tuesday. Carlos Rosa has a 6.57 ERA and has walked 8 in 8 IP. Blaine Boyer has only a 3.24 ERA in June since returning from AAA, but has still walked 5 batters in 8 IP while only striking out 2. Infield: The infield still has very good numbers overall, but have all slumped of late. 3B Mark Reynolds has only a .183 AVG in June, although his OPS for the month is still solid at .812. SS Stephen Drew has dropped to a .231 AVG in June, and has only 3 extra-base hits in 86 ABs (.321 SLG). 2B Kelly Johnson has 13 HR on the season, but only one in the month of June. 1B Adam LaRoche has a reputation for heating up as the season progresses, but has seen his OPS go from .954 (April) to .788 (May) to only .704 (June). Tony Abreu is the primary backup infielder, and Augie Ojeda also on the roster. Outfield: CF Chris Young is having his best season, with a career best .338 OBP and .476 SLG. RF Justin Upton is heating up after a slow April, and for the month of  June is hitting .297/.395/.527. In LF, the Diamondbacks are going with a Gerardo Parra/Cole Gillespie platoon. Parra has hit well since returning from AAA, and is at .317/.378/.561 in June. Gillespie was just recalled from Reno after the Jackson/Demel trade, and went 1-5 in his only start, with 3 Ks. Rusty Ryal may see some time in LF or 1B against LHP, but will primarily be used as a pinch hitter. Catchers: Miguel Montero is the primary catcher for the Diamondbacks now, and has been hitting very well at .429/.491/.673. Chris Snyder is now the backup, after hitting only .186 over the last six weeks. AAA Update: There is not much immediate help available at the AAA level for the Diamondbacks.  Top prospect 1B Brandon Allen has shown excellent plate discipline, batting .248/.401/.444 with 37BB/42K in 153 AB, but the team would like to see a better batting average and more power. SS Pedro Ciriaco was selected for the All Star Futures Game, but the defensive whiz needs to hit better than .240/.264/.384 if he wants to be a major leaguer. The two top hitters in Reno are a pair of minor league veterans, Jeff Bailey (age 31, .299/.389/.496) and Doug Deeds (age 29, .291/.388/.478). Both could probably be useful off the bench, but would not be an improvement over the current major league starters.  The AAA starting rotation isn't quite ready to help either. Matt Torra has the best ERA at 4.18, but is only averaging 4.5K/9. Kevin Mulvey has been pitching a little better recently, and has brought his ERA down to 4.83. Mulvey has won three straight decisions, and threw seven shutout innings in his last start. Bryan Augenstein and Wes Roemer both have ERAs over 5 right now, although Augenstein's peripheral stats are decent - 7.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9. In the bullpen, Jason Urquidez's ERA has climbed to 4.76, T.J. Beam's is up to 5.77, and Daniel Stange is at 6.17. LHP Jordan Norberto has the best ERA in the pen at 3.55, but has 18 BBs in 25.1 IP. Zach Kroenke has started pitching a little better recently, bringing his ERA down to 4.97. AA Update:  SP Joshua Collmenter has done very well at AA (4-1, 1.52 ERA) and may get another try at AAA soon. Barry Enright has also pitched well, with a 2.91 ERA in 13 starts. LHP Wade Miley recently was called up to AA, and threw 7 scoreless IP with 8Ks in his first start. In the AA bullpen, Roque Mercedes and Leyson Septimo continue to strike out over a batter per inning, but still are walking too many batters. Offensively, C Konrad Schmidt is at .318/.352/.484 with 6 HR and 35 RBI, and OF Collin Cowgill leads the team with 44 RBI.