D-backs pleased with success early in season
Offense, defense shine as pitching settles in during winning road trip
SAN FRANCISCO -- It is early yet and they are just one game over the .500 mark, but there is some confidence beginning to build in the Arizona Diamondbacks' clubhouse.
With Sunday's 5-1 win over the Giants at AT&T Park, the D-backs took three of four from the defending World Series champs, and they finished the first road trip of the season, which also included a stop in San Diego, with a winning record at 4-3.
"I think it's really indicative of the way we were hoping we'd come out and play," outfielder Mark Trumbo said. "I'm very pleased with all aspects of it, especially on the defensive side. For me, our infield defense has been exceptional. We've had some really timely double plays and that's what stands out for me."
The D-backs scored 33 runs in the seven games in a pair of ballparks not known for being necessarily kind to hitters.
Meanwhile the pitching, particularly the starters, have settled in after a rough first trip through the rotation.
Sunday, it was right-hander Jeremy Hellickson who turned in a nice outing, allowing just one run over 6 2/3 innings.
"I said this before my last start -- it's contagious," Hellickson said. "A guy throws six, seven [innings] and does well, you don't want to be that guy that goes out and throws four or five. Everyone was down on us that first time around, but like I said, we're going to be really good here soon and we're starting to show signs of that."
The D-backs' 7-6 start to the season stands in stark contrast to 2014 when they were 4-9 through their first 13 games en route to an 8-22 start and a Majors-worst record of 64-98.
"It seems night and day to me, to be honest," Trumbo said when asked to compare it to last season. "It's not like we could have tried any harder last year but it didn't come together like it has so far."
Every team hopes to get off to a good start, but for the D-backs, it is even more important given last year's beginning as well as the fact the team has so many young players.
"Just the fact that we're playing well and competitive in a lot of games helps," said Josh Collmenter, who tossed a four-hit shutout Friday night. "Every team has a different feel, a different characterization to it. We're starting to put that together. It's exciting. Everybody is playing loose, playing relaxed and that's the vibe you want to have in the clubhouse. It lends itself to fostering a good aura of winning as opposed to last year when we got so down and could never turn it around."
Rather than digging out of a deep hole like last year, the task now for the D-backs is keeping it going.