D-backs get back on track with offensive outburst

June 27th, 2022

PHOENIX -- After struggling the past few weeks, Sunday afternoon at Chase Field was the exact kind of game the D-backs needed.

They got a much-needed positive start from the No. 5 spot in the rotation, and the offense, which has had trouble scoring runs of late, busted out in a big way in an 11-7 win over the Tigers, snapping a five-game losing streak.

During the losing streak, the D-backs had scored a total of 11 runs and were 1-for-36 with runners in scoring position. They matched that output in one game, going 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position Sunday.

More importantly, they got some of their key contributors going again. Let's take a look at some of them:

Dallas Keuchel
The veteran left-hander signed a Minor League contract with the D-backs after the White Sox released him. He made a pair of starts in the Arizona Complex League and worked between starts with D-backs pitching coach Brent Strom, who helped mentor him during his great seasons with the Astros.

Keuchel was the latest to get a chance at claiming the fifth spot in the Arizona rotation and he might end up being the one who sticks.

He permitted four runs (one of which scored after he left the game) over 4 1/3 innings. It wasn't a thing of beauty, but for his first big league outing in exactly a month, it was something to build on.

"We're going to talk about it," said manager Torey Lovullo, when asked whether Keuchel would get another start. "We're going to evaluate a little bit deeper, take a deep dive. Of course I'm very pleased with what I saw -- the preparation, the ability to command the baseball and throw it where he wants to. He went out there and started executing after the first couple of innings, so I thought it was very good outing but we were going to talk about it."

Carson Kelly
Kelly was 1-for-3 with a walk and he hit a solo homer in the third. It was just one game, but it was one that Kelly desperately needed.

Coming into the game, Kelly was hitting just .115 with a .299 OPS, and to have some success after all the extra work he has put in recently was definitely a confidence boost.

"I mean, obviously you want to see some results, but at the end of the day, you've got to trust what you're doing, trust your work," Kelly said. "And today was a good day to see some of the results."

Pavin Smith
For the better part of a week now, Lovullo has been saying that he thought Smith was close to breaking out. After a good start to the season, Smith has hit just .108 (8-for-74) with a .426 OPS since May 27.

Lovullo had given Smith the past two days off before reinserting him in the lineup in the No. 2 spot Sunday and he responded with four hits and three RBIs.

"We have a few guys that are grinding and Pavin is one of them," Lovullo explained. "I just don't want him to be one dimensional to the pull side. When he hits like this and uses the entire field, he has days like this. He's a good hitter, he's got unbelievable bat-to-ball skills, he knows balls from strikes. The hitting coaches have been telling me it's coming and he just needs an opportunity. My plan was to get him off his feet, let him regroup the troops a little bit and come out and see what he could do."

Daulton Varsho
Varsho was hit by a pitch on the right shoulder blade on May 27 and since that period he has gone 15-for-86 (.174) with a .482 OPS.

Over that period of time, Varsho has also dealt with a bruised heel that affected his mechanics at the plate.

Sunday, he had a pair of hits, including a big three-run homer in the sixth to go along with a walk. Varsho's home run to right-center was projected to travel 435 feet with a 106.6 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast, clearing the pool at Chase Field.

"That was nice," Varsho said. "A lot of work has been put into it to try to get back to what I'm trying to feel and it was a good feeling to kind of do that. Sometimes you go through a funk during the year and, hopefully, I can get myself out of this one."