Friday's trading deadline came and went with neither Doug Davis nor Jon Garland being shipped by the Arizona Diamondbacks to teams in contention for a playoff spot. So the two veteran pitchers turned in solid performances this weekend as the D-Backs took the first two out of three in a four-games series that ends today against the New York Mets. Garland was especially strong, tossing a complete-game 5-2 victory on Sunday. He gave up two runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out two. It was the first complete game as a D-Back for the 30-year-old right hander, who now has seven straight quality starts under his belt and tallied a 3.00 earned-run average for July.
Also on Sunday, ace Brandon Webb announced he will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to repair his ailing shoulder. The D-Backs' best pitcher, who has won 87 games with a 3.27 in his seven seasons, is expected to be fully healed by the start of next season. It's presumed Webb will be back with the team next season because even though Webb is in the final year of his contract, the D-Backs hold the option for the 2010 season. Who knows whether Webb will come back after surgery to be the dominant pitcher he's been for several years now? Still, even if he won't be Cy Young-caliber, he rejoins a potentially dangerous pitching rotation of Haren, Scherzer, and Garland (Doug Davis will be a free agent at season's end but has indicated he enjoys pitching in Arizona).
In Saturday's game, young starting pitcher Max Scherzer took a small step backward in his development as he gave up four earned runs on six hits in only the fourth inning. In his previous outing, he'd pitched seven innings of shutout baseball. In only his second season in the majors, this kind of up-and-down performance is probably to be somewhat expected, and knowing he pitches next against the hapless Pirates, he's probably due for another gem.
Speaking of gems, perhaps the most surprising player in all of baseball kept up his big-time slugging over the weekend. Of course, we're talking about Mark Reynolds, who is only in his second full season but already has become the one of the best slugging third basemen in the game. He took a day off on Sunday, but did plenty of damage on Friday and Saturday, going 3 for 7, with two homers and a stolen base. He now has 30 homers (second in the majors, behind Albert Pujols) and 19 stolen bases. With just under 60 games left to go in the season, Reynolds is on pace to hit 46 homers, drive in 109 runs, score 107 runs, and steal 29 bases. Pujols is a foregone conclusion to win the National League MVP award, but given Reynolds' numbers, he would have to be in consideration. Unfortunately for Reynolds, there are still all the errors and strikeouts that keep him out of the discussion when it comes to best all-around players in the game today.
Today, the four-game series with the Mets concludes, with Cy Young candidate Dan Haren taking the mound for the D-Backs. That alone makes this game a must-watch. Here's the match-up:
Haren (10-6, 2.19 ERA, 146 strikeouts/22 walks in 148 innings pitched) vs. Nelson Figueroa (0-1, 4.50), 4:05 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM