If nothing else, the Arizona Diamondbacks' disastrous 2009 season will be remembered for the number of breakout stars it's helped to spawn. From mustachioed pitcher Clay Zavada to walking tattoo canvas Ryan Roberts, the burgeoning ball-playing talents of this year's crop of Baby Backs have helped provide a reason to tune into the nightly Snakes show or visit Chase Field.
Add Trent Oeltjen to the list, as the Australian left-hander has been on fire since getting called up from the Reno Aces on August 6 to replace the injured Justin Upton. His hot streak got even hotter on Tuesday night, as Oeltjen helped fuel Arizona's 6-2 victory over the New York Mets. A mere week ago, the 26-year-old was entertaining crowds in the "Biggest Little City in the World" by racking up an impressive .300 batting average in this season alone. He's nearly doubled that stat in the five D-Backs outings he's played since moving up to the bigs, going 12-for-24 (that's .500 for those of you who failed remedial mathematics), which includes last night's outstanding performance.
Oeltjen (pronounced "ul-chen") was a one-man offensive juggernaut against the Mets, going four-for-four on the evening and coming a hairsbreadth short of hitting for the cycle. It began in the third frame when he popped a grounder past New York's infielders into center. He followed that up during the fourth by swatting another roller up the baseline and hauling ass to third base, and again in the sixth by drilling a Tim Redding change-up deep into left field that caromed off the warning-track wall. Oh, yeah, the "Wonder from Down Under" also made a sacrifice bunt during his first at bat that resulted in Stephen Drew eventually coming in for a run.
Max Scherzer (7-6. 3.94 ERA) also had an excellent evening at the ballpark, scattering eight hits and two runs over 6.2 innings on the mound and sending down eight of Long Island's lovable losers with some resurgent pitching to nab his sixth win. But it was Trent's night to shine, and the adorable Aussie was getting plenty of love, especially on Twitter. One amorous-minded Diamondbacks fan posted the following tweet, which we suspect echoes the sentiments of many of females across the Valley: "I think I'm in love with Trent Oeltjen. Seriously. <3 Hot, Australian, and has GOT GAME!"
Oeltjen will attempt to continue to make both the ladies and the opposition swoon during today's series-ending battle with the Mets at Chase Field. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 p.m., when Jon Garland (6-10, 4.33) goes against New York's Oliver Perez (2-3, 6.38). TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. Tickets and info: www.dbacks.com.