D-backs explode for Weaver, 6th straight win

3 takeaways as Arizona wraps up a crisp 5-0 homestand

August 19th, 2020

Behind a strong outing from and plenty of runs from the offense, the D-backs completed a perfect five-game homestand on Tuesday afternoon with a 10-1 win over the A’s.

Arizona came into the homestand three games under .500, but the club now heads out on the road for two games in Oakland and three in San Francisco with the wind at its backs riding a six-game winning streak.

Weaver, who could not make it through the fourth inning in his first four starts this year, changed the trend by holding the A’s to just one run on three hits and one walk over five innings, striking out six.

Meanwhile, every member of Arizona’s offense batted twice in the first two innings, jumping on A’s starter Frankie Montas for five runs in the first and another four in the second. ’s three-run homer -- part of a five-RBI night -- and ’s solo shot jolted the outburst.

Here are three things that we learned from the 5-0 homestand:

1. Weaver took a big step forward
Weaver is a good-natured person, quick with a smile or a one-liner, but he pitched with an edge in this one.

When Weaver pitched out of a jam in the second, he slammed his hand into his glove as he walked off the field, smile replaced by a scowl.

After each inning, he had the same look on his face as he headed back to the dugout.

“That emotion, I feel like I just pitch better,” Weaver said. “I feel like the game flows more to what I’m trying to do when there’s a little emotion flowing, a little more edge, I guess. So today, instead of trying to contain it -- as pitchers, we try to minimize our emotions and try to keep an even-keel demeanor -- but for me, there’s got to be a little bit of a show of it. I was kind of building off of those adrenaline rushes, those feelings of dominance and trying to roll off of that.”

And why wouldn’t Weaver have a little bit of an edge these days? Expected to be a key part of the rotation, he struggled in the fourth inning of his first two starts this year and then had his next two not last past 3 1/3 innings while the club was saying it wanted to build him up.

While Weaver may have said all the right things about the situation, he wouldn’t be human if it didn’t bother him.

“We pulled back on him a little bit, and I'm sure that was frustrating to him,” manager Terry Lovullo said. “But he understood why we were doing it.”

Weaver pitching well leads into ...

2. The rotation has picked up the pace
The D-backs, as Lovullo and general manager Mike Hazen like to say, are built around the starting rotation. So when the unit opened the year struggling, it should be no surprise that the team did as well.

The last time through, though, the rotation has looked like what the team was counting on it being.

Combined, Weaver, , and have a 1.17 ERA in their last starts.

“It's what we expected that group to do,” Lovullo said. “We want to have them go deep into games by controlling the zone and winning the first three pitches. Your starting pitching sets the tone and makes games look clean or it makes games look very sloppy. So when we weren't getting good games out of our starting pitchers, you could see the bullpen was kind of disorganized. But since they’ve been doing their job, it's allowed things fall into place very, very easily.”

3. The offense is for real
When the D-backs scored 32 runs in their three-game series against the Rockies just prior to the homestand, it was tempting to chalk it up to the Coors Field effect.

But Arizona followed that up by scoring 30 runs over the ensuing five-game homestand, and everyone seemingly got into the act, with snapping out of his season-long funk and picking up a couple of hits on Tuesday.

“To start the season, a lot of guys struggled individually, myself included,” said Ahmed, whose three-run homer and two-run single tied a career RBI mark. “Guys were maybe just trying a little bit too hard early on, and you know, we just found a way for all of us to relax and make the adjustments that we needed to make.”

The increased offense means that the pitchers are not having to be absolutely perfect with no margin for mistakes.

Whether the offense has played a role in the recent success of the pitching staff is unknowable. But it certainly can’t hurt.