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.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.