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Diamondbacks Get Swept by the Braves, NL West Race Heats Up

In battle of two NL division leaders, it was the Arizona Diamondbacks (42-39) who got beat up over the weekend as the Atlanta Braves (48-34) swept them in a three-game series. On Sunday, the Braves took a 6-2 win to wrap things up and own a MLB-best 28-11 record on the home field.

For the Diamondbacks, they have now lost five of their last six games.

The Braves were powered by three home runs by Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla. Between Saturday’s eighth inning until Sunday’s fifth inning, the Braves scored 13 runs, according to The Associated Press.

Braves lefty Paul Maholm (9-6) pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs with eight hits. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, their pitcher Trevor Cahill didn’t fare as well, which is becoming business as usual for him.

Trevor Cahill

Trevor Cahill

In his 4 1/3 innings, righty Cahill (3-10) gave up six runs with seven hits. In his last eight starts, the pitcher is 0-6 (7.91 ERA) with his last win coming back on May 17 against the MLB-worst Miami Marlins (29-51).

Needless to say, Arizona Manager Kirk Gibson isn’t too happy with Cahill. He said via AP, “”Trevor, he couldn’t even find half of the plate. He made 104 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. That’s more of the same. We’ve got to try to get him straightened around.”

But the pitcher isn’t the only one with problems; his teammates are also struggling. The starting pitching rotation has now gone 22 consecutive games without a victory. This represents the longest MLB streak since the San Diego Padres went on a 25-game bender (April 17-May 14, 2009), according to STATS.

The one bright spot for the Diamondbacks salvaged from Sunday’s game may have come from the two-run score, double-play grounders by Paul Goldschimdt that gave the team a lead in the first but by the second inning, it was tied. The rest is history.

Goldschmidt, who sits at the top of the NL with his 67 RBIs, had a tough Braves series as he went 1 for 9 and left four runners on base. He does lead the team with his 19 home runs and .306 average but he hasn’t played well in the team’s last 13 games on the road with his .200 batting.

He’ll have a chance to end this as Arizona opens a four-game road series against the lowly New York Mets (33-45) on Monday.

No pressure here but lefty Wade Miley (4-7) will take the mound for the Diamondbacks, who will look to snap their starting pitcher losing streak. He’ll go up against the Mets righty Shane Marcum (1-9), who doesn’t play well at home with his 0-5 (5.60 ERA) record over six games.

This looks like it will continue on Monday as Arizona gets the win (-106, 7.5 o/u).

Other NL West Action

The Colorado Rockies (41-41) took two of three games against the San Francisco Giants (38-42) in their weekend series. They now sit 1.5 games behind Arizona but the San Diego Padres are trailing by 2.5 games.

As we hit July 1, the division is only separated by four games behind first-place Arizona and the last-place Los Angeles Dodgers (38-43). This represents the tightest MLB division race and part of this can be attributed to the Padres great month of June.

They won 15 games (12 losses) and this came with a crowded disabled list housing Yonder Alonso (1B), Everth Cabrera (SS), Cameron Maybin (CF) and Clayton Richard (P).

Jason Marquis

Jason Marquis

For the Padres, they represented the only NL West team with a winning June record.

They’ll begin the new month by ending their four-game series against the Marlins. On Sunday, the Padres lost for a second straight time, 6-2.

With a Monday win, they can split the series. Righty pitcher Jason Marquis (9-3) will take the mound against the Marlins righty rookie Jose Fernandez (4-4).

Things happen in threes as the Marlins get the win (-134, 7.5 o/u).






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