Wednesday, August 12, 2015

D-Backs cruise to top of Third

The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the game's hottest clubs right now, holding the Dick Allen Award for 10 games and taking the lead in the Third Division. Remarkably, they're doing it with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt producing like something a little better than an ordinary hitter.


David Peralta batted .471 for the Arizona Diamondbacks from July 26 through Tuesday (Grant Dawson/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

By BILL PETERSON
Big Leagues in Los Angeles

Yes, the Arizona Diamondbacks are having a nice run with the Dick Allen Award, but the concern here is the Third Division, in which they have emerged as the club with the best chance for a promotion in 2016.

The Diamondbacks have won the first two games of this week's series with the Philadelphia Phillies with ease before losing the finale Wednesday afternoon. The series victory improved the Diamondbacks to 15-9 in the Third Division, increasing their lead on the Minnesota Twins to a full game.

And, by the way, the Diamondbacks now have defended their Dick Allen championship three times since taking it with three wins in four games against the Milwaukee Brewers July 23-26. The Diamondbacks now have held the award for 10 games, bringing themselves into a tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates for third most in the National League. Of course, the Diamondbacks will hold third place all to themselves once they begin a three-game series on the road against the Atlanta Braves Friday night.

From July 23 through Tuesday, the Diamondbacks were 12-6, including 5-0 in Third Division games. Starting pitchers led the way, posting five consecutive quality starts entering Wednesday's games after tossing seven straight quality starts from July 23-29.

Take note, though, Dodgers fans: The big winner for the Diamondbacks is former Dodger Rubby De La Rosa, who tossed three of the quality starts and three of the wins. For all that, he now is 10-5, though with a 4.55 ERA.

Oddly enough, this run of good games for the Diamondbacks have not included super-human performances by Paul Goldschmidt. He hasn't been bad, hitting .300 with an .853 OPS from July 23 through Tuesday. For Goldschmidt, though, maybe that is bad. He only hit one homer. He was still leading the National League with 81 RBI, 88 walks and a .337 batting average.

But they have other hitters doing it. Like David Peralta, who batted .471 (24-for-51) with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 17 RBI from July 26 through Tuesday. And there's Welington Castillo, the catcher who came over from the Seattle Mariners on June 3 and has since hit 13 homers. In his last 12 games through Tuesday, Castillo hit eight homers with 14 RBI to go with a .366 batting average (15-for-41).

The outstanding question, for which the Diamondbacks should hope to be half of the answer, is which two clubs in the Third Division will win promotion to the Second Division. The Diamondbacks still have plenty of chance to blow it, while the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs still have time to earn another rung on the ladder.

The Twins can do nothing. They're in the clubhouse with their 14-10 record, having no remaining games against the Third Division.

The Phillies entered the week with their best chance to make a move in the Third Division, but they needed to chop wood on the road against the Diamondbacks. They were the division's third-place club, only 1 1/2 games behind Arizona.

Instead, though, the Diamondbacks have chopped up the Phillies in the first two games, winning 13-3 Monday night and 13-1 Tuesday night. With their 7-6 win Wednesday, the Phillies moved within 2 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks at 10-9.

Here is a look at the standings and the remaining games in the Third Division through Wednesday's games:

W   L Pct   GB
Arizona   15   9 .652   –
Minnesota 14 10 .583   1½
Boston         11   9 .550   2
Philadelphia 10   9 .500   2½
Seattle   14 13 .519   2½
Chicago      7   8 .467   3½
Colorado       13 18 .419   5½
Oakland      9 17 .346   7

Remaining schedule:

Arizona (13 games): August 28-30, three at home against Oakland; August 31-September 2, four at Colorado; September 4-6, three at Chicago (NL); September 29-October 1, three at home against Colorado.

Boston (six games): August 14-16, three at home against Seattle; September 4-6, three at home against Philadelphia.

Chicago (NL) (seven games): September 4-6, three at home against Arizona; September 10-13, four at Philadelphia.

Colorado (10 games): August 31-September 2, four at home against Arizona; September 11-13, three at Seattle; September 29-October 1, three at Arizona.

Minnesota: No games remaining.

Oakland (12 games): August 24-26, three at Seattle; August 28-30, three at Arizona; September 4-6, three at home against Seattle; October 2-4, three at Seattle.

Philadelphia (seven games): September 4-6, three at Boston; September 10-13, four at home against Chicago (NL).

Seattle (15 games): August 14-16, three at Boston; August 24-26, three at home against Oakland; September 4-6, three at Oakland; September 11-13, three at home against Colorado; October 2-4, three at home against Oakland.

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(1) WAR (1) Wade Davis (1) Wade LeBlanc (1) Wade Miley (1) Walter Haas (1) Walter O'Malley (1) Wandy Rodriguez (1) Warren Giles League (1) Washington Huskies (1) Washington Natinals (1) Washington Redskins (1) Washington Senators (1) Watford (1) Wellington Castillo (1) Will Holder (1) Will Myers (1) Wilmer Flores (1) Wily Peralta (1) Wins Above Replacement (1) Wisconsin Badgers (1) World Cup (1) Xavier Musketeers (1) Yadier Molina (1) Yan Gomes (1) Yankee Stadium (1) Yuli Gurriel (1) Zach Britton (1) Zach Parise (1) Zack Cozart (1) Zamora FC (1) Zlatan Ibrahimović (1) baseball (1) baseball Elite Divisin (1) baseball continental traveling championship (1) baseball pyramid (1) baseball traveling championship (1) college football (1) drug testing (1) hockey traveling championship (1) pro basketball Ear of Corn (1) pro basketball Elite League (1) pro basketball First Division (1) pro basketball Fourth Division (1) pro basketball Second Division (1) pro basketball Third Division (1) pro hockey (1) pro hockey Elite League (1) pro soccer (1) realignment (1) soccer (1) steven Souza (1) test (1) western pro basketball traveling championship (1) western pro hockey traveling championship (1)