Despite a rough 12-4 blowout on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Arizona Diamondbacks wrapped up their most impressive week of the 2010 season, winning two of the three against the slugging Jays and five out of their past seven. And what do you know? The bullpen got opposing hitters out and the D-Backs offense showed signs of life, scoring eight runs in each of the D-Backs wins this weekend.
Perhaps the most promising development over the weekend was Edwin Jackson's second straight win. Working with an 8-1 lead on Saturday, Jackson breezed through the Jays lineup for seven very strong innings. He did serve up a couple of home runs late to make the game interesting, but the 8-5 win still counts as a decent outing for the formerly struggling pitcher. In 7.2 innings, Jackson allowed only six hits and no walks and struck out nine Jays.
Meanwhile, Chris Young broke out of a mini-slump in a big way, hitting a home run in each of the weekend's games and driving in seven runs for the series.
Sunday's starter, Billy Buckner, didn't fare as well, as the Jays, one of the best-hitting teams in the American League, broke the game open early, knocking Buckner around for seven earned runs in just four innings. The Blue Jays ended up with 17 hits in a 12-4 blowout. Every D-Back starter except slumping catcher Chris Snyder tallied a hit, but the offense failed to mount a significant threat against Jays starter Shawn Marcum, who struck out eight D-Backs in five innings of work.
On Friday, D-Backs ace Dan Haren was his usual self, working deep into the ballgame, striking out nine in eight innings. He did give up four home runs, but they were all solo shots. In all, the Jays hit six solo homers Friday, including three by Edwin Encarnacion.
The Diamondbacks will get the day off today before beginning a three-game series Tuesday in Colorado against division rivals the Rockies. In that game, one of the few truly bright spots of the D-Backs season, young righthander Ian Kennedy, will face rookie Jhoulys Chacin. Over Kennedy's last four starts, he's allowed only six runs in 28 innings while striking out 22 batters. His ERA stands at a very respectable 3.24 on the season, and more importantly, he has been working deep into ballgames, giving the maligned D-Backs bullpen a rest.
First pitch: 5:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.dbacks.com