D-backs Add Pitching to Counter Giants


Posted Aug 1, 2011


After the San Francisco Giants added slugging outfielder Carlos Beltran to their pitching-rich team, the Arizona Diamondbacks could not stand pat and expect to compete in the NL West. So in response, the D-backs deftly added pitchers Jason Marquis and Brad Ziegler to their prodigious offense without mortgaging their future.

The Diamondbacks added two quality veterans in starter Jason Marquis and setup man Brad Ziegler over the weekend of the non-waiver trade deadline, opting to attack NL West leader San Francisco in kind with pitching.

Marquis, 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 20 starts this season, was obtained from Washington forLow-A shortstop Zach Walters, who was blocked behind top prospect Chris Owings in the D-backs' minor league system. Marquis is a groundball pitcher, which makes him a good fit at Chase Field, and has six double-victory seasons.

"He's an innings-eater and a sinkerball pitcher, which we think plays in our ballpark," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "A strike-thrower, a competitor, an athlete - he swings the bat, and he is someone who is having a good year."

"There's no secret to what I'm trying to do," said Marquis, who will join the team Monday. "I'm trying to get ahead with my sinker, attack the bottom of the strike zone, get strike one and everything will feed off my sinker.  Get a lot of contact, use my defense and try not to give any free passes or free outs, just compete."

Ziegler will fit into a setup role in front of David Hernandez and closer J.J. Putz, lengthening a bullpen that has been without a reliable bridge for portions of the season. Ziegler, a submarining right-hander, is an extreme groundball pitcher. He has had much more success against right-handed hitters in his career, holding them to a .198 batting average this season and .224 in his career. Lefties have hit .396 against him this year, .325 in his career.

"I've always said I like bullpens with different looks," beamed Towers. "I don't like bullpens with cookie-cutter guys who are all the same. With Joe Pa (left-hander Paterson), we have a side-winding lefty and a side-winding righty." 

SNAKE BYTES

--1B Paul Goldschmidt is expected to join the D-backs on Monday for the start of a three-game series in San Francisco, but the D-backs made no official announcement Sunday after Goldschmidt was held out of the BayBears' lineup. Goldschmidt leads the Southern League in home runs (30), RBI (94), total bases (229), slugging percentage (.626), and OPS (1.061). Since the All-Star break, the D-backs had been using a platoon of Brandon Allen and Xavier Nady at first base, but Allen was traded to Oakland for RHP Brad Ziegler on Sunday.

--RHP Brad Ziegler was acquired from Oakland for 1B Brandon Allen and LHP Jordan Norberto as the Diamondbacks added a setup man after earlier picking up starter Jason Marquis. Ziegler was 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 43 games for the A's this season.

--1B Brandon Allen and LHP Jordan Norberto were traded to Oakland for RHP Brad Ziegler. Allen, who had been platooning at first base with Xavier Nady, was hitting .172 in 11 games with the D-backs. Norberto was 6-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 41 appearances for Triple-A Reno. Allen was headed for Triple-A Sacramento, while Norberto was set to join Oakland.

--OF Gerardo Parra had the first two-home run game of his career Sunday, hitting a bases-empty shot in the second inning and a two-run shot in the seventh, both to right-center field. "It was a big day for him," manager Kirk Gibson said. Parra set a new career after hitting five his rookie year, 2009. He had three homers last season.

--LHP Joe Saunders has won five of his last six decisions and has made nine consecutive quality starts beginning against San Francisco on June 15. Saunders, bidding for his second straight complete game, was removed with two outs in the top of the eighth after throwing 102 pitches. He did not walk a batter and induced 11 ground-ball outs, including two double plays while throwing 7.2 innings of two-run ball in Sunday's 6-3 win. "When he's good, that's what he does," manager Kirk Gibson said. Saunders threw a complete game to beat San Diego, 6-1, with 99 pitches on July 26.

--CF Chris Young missed making an appearance in a game for the first time this season Sunday, when he was held out of the starting lineup for the second time this year and was not needed as either a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement. Young had made 71 straight starts and was the only D-back to have played in all of their first 107 games. "He bugged me the whole game," manager Kirk Gibson said. Young played in 156 games in 2010.

--OF Collin Cowgill started in center field after making his two previous starts in left, the first two of his career after being promoted from Triple-A Reno last Tuesday. Cowgill had his first major league stolen base Wednesday, his first hit Saturday and his first RBI Sunday. "Cowgill, it's important that he plays," manager Kirk Gibson said.

DIAMOND STAT: 10 -- Consecutive games with an extra-base hit by RF Justin Upton before the streak ended Sunday. Only eight players have had streaks of 11 games since 1900, according to Elias.

QUOTABLE: "We all thought K.T. (Kevin Towers) was a guy that is aggressive and aggressively smart, and he just proved that." -- D-backs RHP J.J. Putz, after general manager Towers' acquisitions of RHP Jason Marquis and RHP Brad Ziegler.


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1B Paul Goldschmidt (profile)
SP Jason Marquis (profile)
SS Chris Owings (profile)
P Joe Saunders (profile)
RF Justin Upton (profile)
RP Brad Ziegler (profile)
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