Last week I praised Bobby Cox and his Atlanta Braves on their 6-3 road trip and suggested they were beginning to play like manager Cox’s previous NL East teams. Then the Dodgers and Arizona came to Turner Field and suddenly the Braves are 1-6 on this current homestand.
The Braves got swept by Arizona on the weekend and the Diamondbacks are beginning to play great ball and this comes on the heels of the Phoenix Suns getting turfed from the NBA Playoffs.
Before the Diamondbacks departed on a 10-game trip, manager Bob Melvin called the excursion to Cincinnati, New York and Atlanta a measuring stick that would give his team an idea of just how good it really is.
After finishing it off with a 7-3 record, topped by a four-game sweep of the Braves at Turner Field, the results are in: Arizona is a pretty good ballclub and just might do a little bit more than hang around at the top of the National League West.
The four-game sweep over the Braves marked just the third time in Diamondbacks history that they have accomplished such a feat on the road. The 7-3 record, meanwhile, ties a club mark for the best trip of a road campaign involving at least 10 games.
The pitching staff posted a 2.35 ERA during the 10 games, allowing 24 earned runs in 92 innings, and in the past three games alone, the offense has delivered 10 home runs. Overall, the Diamondbacks outscored their opponents 56-24.
The Diamondbacks continue to get sterling performances from their starting pitchers, as Sunday’s 9-3 win over the Braves marked the 13th “quality start” from the rotation in the past 15 games. Right-hander Miguel Batista was the latest to work at least six innings and allow three or fewer runs, and during this particular stretch, the starters have fashioned a 1.94 ERA.
Batista, who allowed three earned runs through 6 2/3 innings in improving to 6-2, got help from an offense that pounded out 14 hits and four home runs for the second consecutive day. The Diamondbacks swept the Braves in four games at Turner Field, the first time that’s happened to Atlanta at home or on the road since the Phillies did it to them in 1995.
RHP Brandon Webb needs to pitch 2 2/3 scoreless innings when he starts Monday against the visiting Phillies to establish a Diamondbacks record for pitching consecutive scoreless innings. Webb is on 25 and counting. Andy Benes holds the club mark with 27 1/3 straight scoreless frames during the team’s inaugural season in 1998.
.099 — Eric Byrnes’ batting average differential on June 1, 2006, compared to June 1, 2005. Byrnes hit .226 after the first two months of the season last year and after June 1 this year, was hitting .325. It’s the biggest jump of any player in the major leagues.