The Dodgers remade their lineup Wednesday to fit in new arrival Shane Victorino, but it led to just two hits — one off the bat of starter Stephen Fife — as the Diamondbacks won 4-0 to complete a three-game sweep in Los Angeles.
Manager Don Mattingly, too often limited to one or two quality hitters in his lineup early on this season, decided to frontload his lineup today. Not only did Victorino lead off, but Andre Ethier was moved up to the two hole, allowing Hanley Ramirez to bat cleanup behind Matt Kemp.
Mattingly’s plan seems like a good one, but Patrick Corbin completely shut down the Dodgers today. Kemp had the only hit from a Dodgers position player. Diamondbacks pitchers were perfect after a Jerry Hairston Jr. walk to lead off the fourth, facing 17 batters and getting 18 outs (A.J. Ellis hit into a double play to end the fourth).
Corbin, who was removed after six innings, was just added to Arizona’s roster before the game. When he was scratched from his Triple-A start Monday, some thought it might signal a trade. The Diamondbacks, though, just wanted Corbin up to replace Josh Collmenter in the rotation. He was stellar today and now 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances over all.
Also worth mentioning: third baseman Chris Johnson had a stellar series for his new team. He was already hot before the trade from Houston, but he’s gone 6-for-11 with two homers and seven RBI in three games for Arizona. He even has two walks versus no strikeouts. In Houston, he had a 92/23 K/BB ratio in 92 games.
The Diamondbacks have gone 10-3 in their last 13 games to move three games over .500 on the season. They’re three games back of the Giants in the NL West and 1 1/2 back of the Dodgers.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.