Prince flat out produced. It wasn't always impressive, but his play was key to the victory on Monday and set the tone for the following two games. It's time for this guy to find his power stroke and carry the team for a few weeks because Corey Hart and Ryan Braun have done it for far too long this year. With the Cubs still streaking and facing miserable teams on the West Coast, Prince and the offense will need to continue to hit on all cylinders... especially because they didn't walk much this series.
Reynolds was really the only D'Back who had a reasonable series. Unfortunately, five hits really didn't produce all that much, and the D'Backs have fallin' into oblivion, having been swept by both the Cubs and the Brewers this year. Pitching can't carry you every where and with Byrnes and Jackson out for some time, the D'Backs need to do something to stop the bleeding.
What was the Difference?:
Power and ultimately offense. The D'Backs only had one home run this series, while the Brewers picked up six of them. In the end, the Brewers just exerted their will on AZ with incredible play from almost every position on the field. Even with Weeks and Cameron still not producing, the 3-4-5-6 spots in the lineup are not messing around. I can't imagine what would happen if Weeks and Cameron did their job.
While it wasn't really the difference in the series in my book, something is to be said for the Brewers pitching staff, who in this six game winning streak having only given up eight runs. And the important thing about this series sweep is that Ben Sheets was not a part of it. Furthermore, Sheets got an extra day of rest yesterday to give him a better shot at keeping this run going. The bullpen continues to be practically perfect, and Salomon Torres has established himself as the closer, no matter how much Attanasio is paying Eric Gagne.
Causes for Concern:
The Diamondbacks have to be utterly frightened. Their offense has fallen apart, their defense looked atrocious and to top it all off, the move to the bullpen for Max Scherzer has not really been a good one. I still don't think letting Davis right back in was a good move, but that's just me. The biggest concern is obviously on the offensive side of the field. Arizona only managed 20 hits in three games and really gave up at the plate during Wednesday's game. I know it's tough getting things going after losing two of your top offensive guys, but somebody needs to step up. Thus far, nobody truly has.
In the home team dugout, you can't help but think that everything is hunky dory. Truth be told, it's not, at least not for me. While the Brewers have scored a lot of runs the past week, they've relied far too much on the long ball and were essentially given the game on Monday by the errors committed by the Diamondbacks. The on-base percentage continues to be far too low to score this many runs and until those even out, I will have doubts about this team. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to be winning, and happy about this run out of the basement, but there is still a ton of work to be done.
Causes for Excitement:
The Diamondbacks really don't have much to be happy about, but for me, I can't help but say something about Doug Davis and Randy Johnson, who both pitched particularly well this week, despite the scoreboard. Davis was the victim of two really big errors and Randy Johnson simply ran out of gas in the 7th, but both look good, which could be a big plus when the offense gets back on their feet. Everything else was pretty much atrocious and a bit disappointing since I attended the two blow out games. The Brewers needed them, but competitive baseball games are much more fun for me to watch.
The Brewers continue to have faith in their bullpen and couldn't be happier about a strict platoon at third base. Branyan's power has been phenomenal, and his inability to ground into double plays is even better. The starting rotation has rolled through one more time without a hitch and the team is playing their next six games against teams they are clearly better than. This was a big homestand that sends them on the road with a ton of momentum that should carry them to nine straight after winning three against a really awful Colorado team. But you never know. You can only watch, enjoy and cheer.