D-backs go for season-best sixth straight win
While Justin Upton's name had been popping up in recent trade rumors, Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers says the club is highly unlikely to move its franchise player this season.
The Diamondbacks' recent play is a big reason why.
Surging Arizona tries for a season-best sixth consecutive victory and a three-game sweep of the visiting Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
The Diamondbacks (49-48) have picked up the pace after a lackluster start - with much of their recent success coming at home. Arizona has outscored opponents 164-97 in winning 18 of 23 games at Chase Field, batting .319 overall and .351 with runners in scoring position in that span.
The Diamondbacks continued their recent tear Tuesday, prevailing 6-2 behind seven strong innings from Joe Saunders and a two-run homer by Chris Young. Arizona has won a season-high eight in a row at home - including all five contests since the All-Star break.
"It's been amazing for the team," said Young, who's gone 8 for 20 with two homers and seven RBIs during a modest six-game hitting streak. "The pitchers are doing a great job and the guys have been swinging the bats well every day since we got home."
Upton has also delivered of late, going 10 for 25 with one homer and eight runs scored in his last eight games. He matched a career high with three walks Tuesday, scored twice and stole his 12th base.
While the Diamondbacks sent struggling infielder Ryan Roberts to Tampa Bay in exchange for Double-A infielder Tyler Bortnick on Tuesday, Towers appears to have no intention of dealing Upton before the July 31 trade deadline.
"I think what people need to know, specifically in Justin's case, is I didn't throw his name out there and say `Hey, he's available,'" Towers said. "It was clubs called about him and asked about him based on where our club was at at the time and him struggling a little bit earlier in the year.
"We think we've still got a chance to win right now. I haven't seen anything out there that makes us a better ball club in 2012 that's better than Justin Upton."
The Diamondbacks now turn to Trevor Cahill (8-8, 3.77 ERA), who is 6-3 with a 3.57 ERA over his last nine starts. The right-hander, though, wasn't very sharp Friday, yielding four runs and a season high-tying nine hits over 5 1-3 innings of a 13-8 win over Houston.
Cahill has gone 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA over two matchups against the Rockies (36-60) this season - both of which came at Coors Field. He gave up four runs over five innings but didn't factor in the decision of a 9-7 win May 17.
Michael Cuddyer, who provided Colorado's offense Tuesday with two solo homers, is 1 for 11 lifetime versus Cahill.
Colorado, looking to win for the second time in eight games, gives the ball to Jeff Francis (2-2, 5.24). The left-hander had gone 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA over a six-start stretch June 21-July 16 but was reached for five runs and eight hits in five innings Saturday in an 8-6, 12-inning road win over San Diego.
Things won't get any easier for Francis, who's gone 0-6 with a 7.68 ERA over his last seven starts against the Diamondbacks. He has, however, only faced them once since the start of last season, yielding three runs over seven innings in a 3-2 loss June 22, 2011, while with Kansas City.
Upton and Young have both taken Francis deep twice, going 6 for 15 and 8 for 24, respectively, against him. Stephen Drew is 9 for 26 with one home run.