The Rundown: Blue in the House, Banda Evolving, Ketel to the Metal
In case you didn’t notice, Dodgers fans came out to Chase Field en masse to watch their team play the Arizona Diamondbacks over the last few days. It’s never cool to have your home field invaded with fans from the opposing team. Just ask Archie Bradley, who emphatically screamed “This is our house” as he walked off the field during the D-backs 6-3 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday.
If having Dodgers fans invade #OurHouse this past week wasn’t enough, the Chicago Cubs are coming to town starting today. And, if you haven’t noticed, they bring an even bigger audience out to support their team with an even louder presence than Dodgers fans. It’s a double dose of blue, if you will.
We all know what to expect. There will be chants of “Let’s go Cubbies” along with raucous cheering for every Cubs’ hit. The only way to beat them, is to beat them. So this is my challenge to all of you. Bring the noise this weekend, D-backs fans. Bring it early, bring it loudly and bring it often. Coming off a tough series loss to the Dodgers, the D-backs need this series to build some momentum. That starts with the first cheer.
Banda evolving into solid option
We’ve now seen LHP Anthony Banda start in three games for the D-backs. In all three games he had one pretty rough inning, and in all three games he bounced back very nicely from that inning, except against the Nationals when he was pulled in the 6th. What I’ve seen from Banda is a young, talented pitcher who’s got “the stuff” to excel at the big-league level.
Consider this: If you looked at all three of his starts and separate out his one bad inning from each of those starts, you get some pretty scary numbers. The combined good innings: 13 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 15 K. Those numbers alone are reason to keep Anthony Banda on this team and in the starting lineup.
The three bad innings he’s had can easily be attributed to inexperience and nerves. The line for those three innings combined: 2 2/3 IP, 7 R, 8 H, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP.
The bottom line with Banda is that he does not need to go back to Reno to work on his stuff. It’s there and he’s ready and able to contribute to this team every five days. The decision will have to be made by Torey Lovullo and Mike Hazen whether to keep Banda on the roster when Robbie Ray returns or send Patrick Corbin down. Can you guess what I think they should do?
Ketel Marte starting to shine
Sure, Ketel Marte had a couple tough plays on the defensive end in the D-backs 8-6 loss on Thursday, but he’s also made some really nice plays filling in at shortstop for the injured Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings.
What’s more impressive is Marte’s recent performance at the plate. He brings a 10-game hitting streak into the weekend series against the Cubs. He’s showing that he may be the answer at shortstop for the D-backs, even if and when Ahmed and Owings return. For the season he’s hitting .288/.363/.513 and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.
There’s plenty of reason to believe this is just the beginning for Marte as he develops into an everyday starter. He wielded a hot bat in Triple-A, hitting .338/.391/.514 in 338 plate appearances. So there’s no reason to believe that this kid isn’t about to really start doing some special things. Stay tuned.
Other news and notes
- Little-leaguer, Richie Gilboy takes ‘big daddy hacks’ and boy does he.
- The NL Central has four teams within three games of the division lead. In every other division in baseball, the first and second place teams are separated by at least 3 1/2 games.
- Dexter Fowler returned from the DL last night to hammer a grand slam. The Cardinals are one game behind the first place Cubs.