Resurgent Ahmed, Reed come through
Once struggling shortstop, reliever play key roles in win over Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- With the game tied and Nick Ahmed at the plate in the eighth inning of Friday night's 7-5 win over the Brewers at Miller Park, D-backs manager Chip Hale turned to reliever Addison Reed in the dugout and made a prediction.
"I told Reed, 'Be ready, because he's going to hit a home run and you're going to hit and stay in the game,'" Hale said. "So I for once in my life called one right."
Indeed he did as Ahmed hit a homer over the wall in left to give the D-backs a lead they would not relinquish.
Ahmed began the season in a horrible slump, hitting just .130 with an OPS of .364 in his first 27 games.
Recently, though, he's found his stroke and in his last 14 games heading into Friday he was hitting .356 with a pair of homers and an OPS of .961.
"My first two at-bats tonight were pretty bad," Ahmed said of his two strikeouts. "And I tried to make an adjustment, and luckily it worked and hopefully it can translate into tomorrow. I'm just trying to be consistent and I just feel like I've been a lot more consistent lately than I was the first month of the year. I'm going to keep that going."
That his manager would predict a home run for him is a sign of just how far Ahmed has come at the plate over the past few weeks.
"I think Archie Bradley called it as well," Ahmed said. "That's two guys to thank for that. When your teammates have that confidence in you, and your manager …"
Speaking of confidence, the D-backs seem to have regained their faith in Reed, who lost his job as closer two weeks ago after some early-season struggles.
The right-hander entered Friday's game in the seventh inning with the game tied, the bases loaded and one out, and proceeded to get Aramis Ramirez to pop out and strike out Jean Segura to end the inning.
"Obviously, I was trying to not let them score," Reed said. "That was a fastball in to Ramirez and I was fortunate enough to get him to pop up. Segura was next and I was trying to keep the ball down and if he hit it, it was on the ground. That's all I was trying to do and fortunately he swung and missed."
Reed has been working on mechanical changes, which seem to be paying off.
"It's felt better every time and right now it feels great," Reed said of the changes. "Each time I've progressively felt a little better."
Hale intimated after the game that Reed might be close to getting his closer's role back.
"There's no reason now if we get into a close situation that [we wouldn't] feel comfortable using him," Hale said.