PHOENIX — Measurable rain fell Saturday in Phoenix for the first time in three months http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kalen-ballage-jersey , much-welcomed relief for a very parched city. Luckily for the Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt’s drought ended a long time before then.
Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks’ franchise icon and top-producing offensive player for several seasons, started the season in quite a dry spell, too. A slugger who has homered at least 33 times and driven in at least 110 runs three times since 2013, Goldschmidt inexplicably saw his average plunge to as low as .198 on May 22.
Not surprisingly, his team was faltering as he did. The Diamondbacks opened the season 21-8, but during a dreadful May in which they went 8-19, they slid to 26-26 on May 27.
Since then, there’s been little stopping Goldschmidt and little stopping the Diamondbacks, who have reclaimed the NL West lead by going 13-5 in their last 18 games heading into the finale of a four-game series with the New York Mets on Sunday.
Not surprisingly, Goldschmidt has been the man in the middle of it.
Still, Mets left-hander Steven Matz (3-4) managed to stop the Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Chase Field, limiting them to a run over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-1 New York victory. It was an anomaly of sorts because Arizona had won the first two games of the four-game series and the Mets had dropped four in a row and 12 of their previous 13.
However, Goldschmidt drove in the only Arizona run, giving him four RBIs in the series and 15 in his last 10 games http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-durham-smythe-jersey , a stretch in which he’s hit six homers and raised his average to .261.
“It was a little bit of a slow night for us offensively,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We did have some opportunities, but we couldn’t get a big hit.”
Or the kind of hits Goldschmidt has been giving them almost nightly.
Michael Conforto had a couple of big hits for the Mets, most importantly a three-run homer in the second inning off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin (6-3), the third of Conforto’s career off the left-hander. Conforto also added an RBI double for a Mets offense that had scored three runs or fewer in 11 consecutive games.
“They need to take some confidence out of tonight. They did a really good job,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’ve been getting on base more and more the last few games. We got the big hits to get the runners in and we need to keep building that momentum.”
Still, the Diamondbacks will go for the series win Sunday when they send right-hander Clay Buchholz (1-1) to the mound to oppose Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-5).
“We’ve got to make a quick turnaround. (Sunday) is a day game we’ve got to digest this one and get it out of our system and be ready to play some baseball,” Lovullo said.
Buchholz sat out most of last season with the Philadelphia Phillies due to an elbow injury, then was released from his minor league contract by the Kansas City Royals in May. He hooked on with the Diamondbacks franchise shortly after that and has been a pleasant surprise by posting a 3.21 ERA in five starts, including allowing only five earned runs in 24 innings in his first four starts.
Buchholz’s last start was his roughest with Arizona, as he lasted only four innings Tuesday in a 13-8 Diamondbacks win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed seven hits and six runs, five earned, in four innings.
Buchholz faced the Mets in his first start for Arizona, giving up one run on two hits in five innings of what became a 4-1 Mets victory at Citi Field on May 20. He is 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA in two career starts against the Mets, yielding 10 hits and seven runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera gives him the most trouble, going 8-for-16 (.500) with two homers and two RBIs against him.
Wheeler last pitched Tuesday http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jason-sanders-jersey , giving up six runs and eight hits while walking four in 5 2/3 innings of an 8-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
“It’s not like they were killing him all over the park,” Callaway said. “It was a bloop here and a bloop there. Our starters have been so good, you want them to try to get out of their own jams.”
Wheeler is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in four career games against Arizona, giving up 25 hits but only six earned runs while striking out 20 and walking five in 25 1/3 innings.
Goldschmidt is 3-for-12 (.250) against him, while Chris Owings is 4-for-9 (.444).
Wheeler last faced the Diamondbacks on May 15, 2017 but didn’t figure in the decision of what became a 7-3 Arizona win after permitting only one run in six innings.
Hue Jackson wasn’t going to turn the Browns offense over to just anyone.
Todd Haley met his high standards.
After operating for two seasons as both Cleveland’s coach and offensive coordinator, Jackson hired Haley to take over his offense following the assistant’s six successful seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Haley wasn’t on Jackson’s radar after the Browns went 0-16 this season. But after Haley was fired by the Steelers following an opening-round loss to Jacksonville in the AFC playoffs, Jackson didn’t waste a moment and swooped in to nab the 50-year-old, who previously coached in Kansas City and is regarded as one of the league’s elite coordinators.
”He has been a guy that has adjusted his offense to successfully complement and taken advantage of the skillset of his personnel,” Jackson said.
”I’ve witnessed firsthand how prolific his offenses have been in the AFC North over the last six seasons. If I was going to turn over the play calling duties to someone else, it had to be to someone that was experienced and had a long history of success in this league. We were going to be patient about it because there is always a lot of movement in the early part of the offseason.
”When Todd became available, I jumped at the opportunity to meet with him. Once we sat down and talked, it became quickly evident that Todd would be a great fit.”
The Browns made Haley’s hiring official on Wednesday. The Associated Press and other media outlets reported the move earlier this week.
With Pittsburgh, Haley oversaw the Steelers’ talented offense featuring Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. He won’t have as much to work with in Cleveland, but the Browns are expected to take a quarterback with No. 1 overall draft pick.
”This is a great opportunity http://www.vikingsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-remmers-jersey ,” said Haley, who went 19-26 with the Chiefs and led them to a division title in 2010. ”The Browns have a great history, great fans and deserve to have some fun and experience some winning. I want to help be part of that process.
”There is obviously a lot of work to do in order to get there, but I’ve always been excited about facing a challenge. There is no better feeling than when you can be a part of turning an organization around.
”Hue and I have had some good battles in competing against each other as coordinators and even as a head coach.”
The Browns announced the additions of Freddie Kitchens as running backs coach/associate head coach and Amos Jones special teams coordinator. Those moves were also previously reported.
Haley’s arrival is a much-needed infusion for the Browns, who have gone 1-31 in two seasons under Jackson. He knows his way around the league and especially the AFC North after 21 years as a pro coach.
Granted, the Steelers had some elite players, but Haley got the most out of them. With Roethlisberger running the show, Pittsburgh’s offense ranked in the top 10 in scoring and yards in each of the past four seasons.
Brown has developed into perhaps the league’s top playmaker with five straight 100-catch seasons and Bell is a dual threat as runner and receiver.
Jackson was reluctant to give up play-calling duties. He was Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator for two seasons before joining the Browns, and was confident he would continue to have success as the play caller. But Cleveland’s offense has sputtered and finished last in the league in scoring this past season.
Haley knows Jackson’s thirst to succeed.
”He’s so competitive and winning is the only thing that’s important to him,” he said. ”You want to work with a coach like that. Hue and I share a lot of similar beliefs on how to be successful on offense. We have to score points, protect the ball, protect the quarterback and develop players. It’s not too complicated, but at the same time, it is a great challenge. We are really looking forward to getting to work on it.”
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