Arroyo gets 6th win as D-backs beat Astros
JUN 10, 2014 6:43p ET
Arroyo showed off his defensive ability on Tuesday, picking a ball in the dirt while covering first base on a play the D-backs would challenge and win for an inning-ending double play.
"How many guys get over and square that up and pick that like that?" D-backs manager Kirk Gibson asked. "He just does so many things well. That's why he's survived so long, and it's why he wins games."
The heads-up glovework helped Arroyo escape the sixth inning Tuesday with just one run allowed, and his pitching helped him collect his team leading sixth win of the season in a 4-1 D-backs win over the Houston Astros.
"He's hit a pretty good stride right here, and he's on a pretty good roll for us," Gibson said. "He throws the ball well and knows how to get guys out."
Tuesday's win was Arroyo's second in a row, and while his numbers over his previous four starts -- 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA -- don't really show it, Arroyo (6-4 4.22) seems to have settled in and found a groove. The D-backs have won six of Arroyo's last eight starts.
Arroyo has provided the consistency that has been his calling card over the course of a 15-year major league career. After a rocky start, Arroyo has pitched into the seventh inning in nine consecutive starts. Over the last month (six starts), he has averaged 94.3 pitches and just more than seven innings per game.
"I feel pretty good out there," Arroyo said. "Physically I don't feel so good, but my ball's moving and I'm keeping hitters off balance. We've just got a better flow as a team right now."
No need to panic about Arroyo's physical state: He says he's always banged up in one way or another. Lately, he's noticed his velocity is down -- not that it's ever particularly high -- but he's been able to make due with what he's got by painting corners and fooling hitters.
"I've just been banged up, my arm's just been banged up," Arroyo said. "That's the way it is, man. I'm grinding."
Arroyo had to grind Tuesday, and he did it well. In seven innings of work, Arroyo allowed one run on six hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Three of those hits came off the bat of Astros rookie Jon Singleton.
Arroyo's numbers in a greater context display the consistent workhorse the D-backs believed they were getting when they signed the veteran early in spring training. Since an ugly five-run outing on April 21, Arroyo is 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA.
The slow start in which Arroyo went 1-2 with 9.50 ERA likely had something to do with his abbreviated spring training. Due to a bulging disc in his back, Arroyo made only two spring starts.
"We knew he was behind," Gibson said. "It's hard to play catch-up but he's a veteran guy, he knows how to do it. We kind of gave him extra days and watched his pitch count early on. His spring training was a little bit later than most."
Now, after working into form, Arroyo is looking like the pitcher who has fallen short (by one inning) of 200 innings only once over the last nine seasons.
"I think he's been Bronson Arroyo, what you've seen in the past," Gibson said. "He's been very consistent, he knows what to do."
As for knowing what to do on the ball hit to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth, forcing Arroyo to cover first and make the pick Gibson called "the huge play of the game?"
"It's kind of a lucky play, to be honest with you," Arroyo said. "The ball's in the air, you don't see it perfectly clear, but I just knew it was down so I had to pick it. Luckily I found the bag."
DID YOU NOTICE?
D-backs catcher Miguel Montero was easily caught stealing second base in the fourth inning -- so easily that it suggested a missed sign somewhere. Considering Montero's lack of speed, it seems likely the D-backs were trying to execute a hit and run but the batter, Martin Prado, missed the signal.
STAT OF THE GAME
37 -- Home runs at Chase Field by Paul Goldschmidt before one landed in the pool. His 38th at the park (including two postseason homers) landed in the water in the first inning off Brad Peacock.
-- After only throwing out 4 of 36 base runners stealing previously, Montero was 2 for 2 throwing out would-be base stealers on Tuesday.
-- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he's still mulling his options at designated hitter for the team's next two games in Houston. He wouldn't tip his hand but suggested he'll probably use two different players to match up with left-hander Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday and righty Scott Feldman on Thursday.
-- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson reiterated Chris Owings as the team's starting shortstop Tuesday and gave no indication he intends to platoon Owings with Didi Gregorius. Gibson does want to keep Gregorius involved with some regularity. "Chris is our shortstop, but it doesn't mean he won't sit and let Didi play too," Gibson said.
Both Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds -- one half of the D-backs recovering Tommy John contingent -- threw bullpen sessions at Chase Field on Tuesday. Hudson has been throwing bullpens for a while, but it was Reynolds' first since the surgery.
"He's pretty pumped up about it I think," Gibson said. "It's a big step for those guys that have that surgery."
As big of a step as it was, Reynolds is still a ways away from returning. If he returns this season, it likely wouldn't be until the second half of September. Hudson could be back in the same range, given he's recovering from a second torn ulnar collateral ligament, but Gibson did not want to put a timetable on either's return.