Results tagged ‘ David Hernandez ’

NLDS Preview: Brewers vs. D-backs

Photo by Jonathan Willey

By Greg Dillard

The past two seasons had been forgettable ones for the D-backs, with Arizona sputtering to consecutive last places finishes in 2009 and ‘10. They fell victim to high strikeout totals and a lackluster bullpen, with the postseason being a distant thought.

Things have taken a drastic change in 2011.

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Hernandez excelling as D-backs closer

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

When J.J. Putz went down with an elbow injury earlier this season, the D-backs’ bullpen was suddenly without its reliable closer. Before the injury, Putz locked down 21 saves with a 3.12 ERA in 34 appearances.

Someone was immediately needed to fill the role of closer, and David Hernandez has done just that. In his first season with the D-backs, Hernandez has been nearly unhittable in the late innings. He previously served primarily as the eighth inning setup man ahead of Putz.

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Ninth Inning Execution was Key in D-backs Win

By Greg Dillard

In 2011, the D-backs have proven time and time again that they can never be counted out in a ballgame. And as they’ve proven this season, it’s the execution of the little things that makes all the difference.

During the team’s surge to the top of the National League West, they have continually found ways to win with a new hero every single game.

In Wednesday night’s series finale against the Marlins, the D-backs pulled off another miraculous comeback to seal the 6-5 win and the series victory. It was the team’s third walk-off win of the season, and the D-backs now have a 16-3 record in their past 19 games.

“We just try to weather the storm, just stay calm about it, and don’t get too frustrated,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “When you get in games like that they can frustrate you.”

After the Marlins came back to tie the score at 5-5 in the top of the inning, it was time for the D-backs to rally once again.

Upton delivered the striking blow with a two-out, broken-bat single to left, but Willie Bloomquist and Ryan Roberts deserve a ton of credit for the way the game ended.

Bloomquist singled to start the inning. When Roberts was up with a 2-1 count and one out, Bloomquist took off running. Roberts made contact, chopping the ball to third. When third baseman Greg Dobbs fielded it and threw Roberts out, Bloomquist was able to advance to third, taking two bases on a ground out.

Upton’s hit then plated Bloomquist and sealed the walk-off win.

“We just kept battling,” Upton said. “Huddy gave up some runs early, but he kept us in it. He gave us a chance to battle back, and we just fought.”

Hernandez continues 8th inning excellence

After rallying to tie knot the score at 4-4 in the seventh, Gibson called on David Hernandez to pitch the eighth, as he has so many times this year. The right-hander did his job, and then some in his lone inning of work.

Hernandez fanned the first batter, Gaby Sanchez, to start the inning and then froze Gregg Dobbs on strike three. Mike Stanton then strode to the plate in need of just a double for the cycle. Instead, Hernandez struck out Stanton to fan the side and end the inning.

“I was feeling good,” Hernandez said. “It’s actually funny, Gibby came up to me yesterday during batting practice and was like ‘Hey we need to work on getting your pitch count down’. He told me he wanted to get down to about 15 an inning so it was 13 tonight so that’s a start.”

A Look This Weekend’s D-backs Pitching

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David Hernandez – Photography: Jordan Megehardt
By Greg Salvatore
Ian Kennedy is making his second start of the Spring today against the San Diego Padres (this is the last time the D-backs will see their San Diego rivals until the regular season).
We haven’t given you a pitching update in a few days, so here’s a look at the pitchers who will be toeing the rubber over the next four days.
Friday vs Padres at Salt River Fields
Ian Kennedy
Mike Hampton
Juan Gutierrez
Daniel Stange
Joe Paterson 
Leyson Septimo
Yonata Ortega
Jordan Norberto
Josh Collmenter
Saturday vs. Rangers at Salt River Fields
Barry Enright
Armando Galarraga
Micah Owings
Rafael Rodriguez
Jordan Norberto
Sam Demel
Kevin Mulvey
Sunday vs Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium
Joe Saunders
Wade Miley
Brian Sweeney
David Hernandez
Kam Mickolio
Esmerling Vasquez
Monday vs. Royals at Surprise Stadium
Aaron Heilman
J.J. Putz
Josh Collmenter
Zach Kroenke
Monday vs. White Sox at Kino Stadium in Tucson
Zach Duke
Kevin Mulvey
Carlos Rosa
Jarrod Parker
The highlight of this list, to me, appears to be J.J. Putz’s inning against the Royals on Monday. Putz has been throwing plenty of side sessions in Spring Training so far, but this will be his first game inning.  
David Hernandez has looked excellent, throwing three scoreless innings in his first three outings, with two strikeouts. He’s one of the best options for the eighth inning this year, a guy who can throw strikes, miss bats and performed at a high level in the AL East, the most vicious division in the league. 
Aaron Heilman has looked fantastic in both of his starts, giving up only one hit and no runs in five innings. When he signed as a free agent, he wanted an opportunity to start. He has taken that opportunity and run with it. While he has proven he’s a reliable bullpen arm in the past, any default thought that he’d go to the bullpen because of the starting depth on this team has now flown out the window. So far, he looks like he’s going to force the front office to make some tough decisions on the roster, which is exactly the kind of competition Kirk Gibson has been promoting this year.

New Pitchers Impress In Spring Debut

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Kam Mickolio — Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
In front of a packed crowd at Scottsdale Stadium, the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants took to the field for the first Spring Training game of 2011.
While the D-backs were handed a 7-6 loss from the Giants, the full story of Friday’s ball game extends far beyond the box score.
Spring Training is always a time for pitchers to compete and prove themselves on the mound. The D-backs have several new faces fighting for spots this spring, and three of them toed the rubber in the team’s opening game.
Southpaw Wade Miley and newly acquired right-handed relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio all saw action against the Giants.  
Miley — a young starting pitcher who isn’t in the mix for a bullpen spot but can use this Spring to make an impression on the coaching staff — took over on the mound for the D-backs in the bottom of the third. 
One of the team’s most highly regarded prospects lived up to his hype in his first inning of work. 
After walking the leadoff batter, Miley responded by inducing two groundouts and striking out Aaron Rowand to end an impressive inning. 
“I felt good, a little nervous, a little amped up,” Miley said. “I felt fine pitching-wise, I thought everything was coming out great.”
Miley returned for a second inning of work, but had to battle a little bit. The left-hander issued a pair of walks to Andres Torres and Mark DeRosa. 
“Just kind of got rushing a little bit,” he said, “a little too excited I guess.”
Other than the walks, Miley looked as good as advertised on the mound. 
“I just got to get ahead of guys, finish guys,” Miley said. “I got 0-2 on a guy and then walked him on four pitches. I’ve got to stick with it and stay focused and pitch. I was so amped up, I wanted to blow it by somebody.” 
Miley also said that while he was not completely happy with the outcome, it was good to get the first game out of the way. 
Fans got a look at Hernandez in the bottom of the fifth. In his first outing in Sedona red, Hernandez looked sharp as he quickly got Pat Burrell to fly out to start the inning.
Hernandez walked Pablo Sandoval before rebounding and getting Aaron Rowand to fly to left field and striking out Travis Ishikawa to end the inning. 
“Anytime you’re a reliever you don’t want to come in and walk batters,” Hernandez said. “The key for me today was trying to throw strikes. I threw enough of them. It was a fairly short inning so I can’t complain.” 
Following Hernandez, it was Mickolio who entered the game in the bottom of the sixth. 
Mickolio hit the first batter he faced, but quickly quelled any hopes of a Giants rally. The tall reliever then got Emmanuel Burris to hit a weak pop out to third base. 
Mickolio ended his first spring outing with two groundouts, and ultimately, the new D-back was happy with what he accomplished in his debut. 
“I felt a little anxious, first game back,” Mickolio said. “Everything was decent, had good life on my fastball and my sinker was moving. I just let a slider get ahead of me, hit him with it. Other than that, I felt alright. Overall, I think it went well.”
Friday’s game was the first of the spring season for the D-backs, and like many of his teammates, Mickolio enjoyed taking the mound and competing against another team. 
“It kind of gets monotonous,” Mickolio said. “You don’t throw a few pitches to your own teammates because you don’t want to hit them or hurt them before the season. It’s a nice change to see another team up there and you can let it go.” 
Images from the D-backs/Giants game from team photographer Jordan Megenhardt:

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Blum, Hernandez Settling in for D-backs

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David Hernandez – Photography: Jordan Megenhardt

 

By Greg Dillard

 

With all position players now in camp, Spring Training workouts are in full swing for the D-backs.

 

The third day of full squad workouts took place on Monday morning, and pitchers faced off against live hitters for the first time this spring.

 

While pitchers get acclimated to the game environment, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was unsure of who will pitch in Friday’s opening game against the defending world champion San Francisco Giants.

 

“All the pitchers have now thrown,” Gibson said. “They’ve had their sides on and off, on and off. They all have thrown live today, see how everybody comes out of that. Want to make sure there’s no soreness in shoulders, or forearms, or elbows and stuff like that.”

 

Blum brings veteran presence, adds depth

 

One of Kevin Towers’ first moves as new General Manager of the D-backs was to sign infielder Geoff Blum.

 

Blum brings a strong veteran presence, and much needed experience to an Arizona roster that had a youthful look in recent years.

 

“I think the expectations are that you stick around long enough you garner hopefully a little more respect by the experiences you’ve been through,” Blum said. “I’ve been fortunate to be on some really good teams, really bad teams, and some interesting teams. I think coming here into this clubhouse and some of the rumors you hear about what had happened in the past. I think that’s exactly what it is, the past. We’re a whole new ball club.”

 

While Blum is highly regarded as a role player off the bench, he is also in the midst of a position battle at third base.

 

“So far so good,” Blum said. “Obviously I’m just happy to be here and have a job. To be put in a situation here in Arizona, is going to be a special thing for me. I’m just happy to be even mentioned in the competition at third base.”

 

Gibson said that the influx of veterans is already paying dividends.

 

“They’ve got great attitudes,” Gibson said. “They work hard. They go about their business. We’ve talked about Blanco; Blum is the same way, Mora, Bloomquist. They all have different aspects about them. It’s contagious. It’s what we were hoping for.”

 

Hernandez hopes to make impact in bullpen

 

David Hernandez is only a week into his D-backs career, but the right-handed hurler is excited to be a part of the new-look D-backs.

 

Hernandez and fellow reliever Kam Mickolio were shipped from Baltimore to Arizona in exchange for Mark Reynolds over the offseason.

 

Hernandez offered some insight on his longtime teammate Mickolio. 

 

“He’s really tall,” Hernandez said. “He throws from a wide angle that I couldn’t repeat. He’s got a good repertoire. He just deserves a chance. It was really tough for him over in Baltimore, but I think he’s got a little more opportunities over here.”

 

Last season, Hernandez sported a 4.31 ERA in 79 1/3 innings of work. He also collected two saves with the Orioles, and will most likely serve as a late inning reliever for the D-backs.

 

Towers added the two pitchers in hopes that they will revitalize a bullpen that was dreadful in 2010.

 

“It’s definitely complimentary when he goes out of his way and he trades somebody that is proven big leaguer that hits home runs,” Hernandez said. “I’m happy to be a part of that package, and I’m happy that Kam came along with me.  It’s definitely good to come in here knowing at least one person. It’s been really easy to get along with everybody in here.”

Bullpen Improves in Orioles Trade

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Photography: Greg Fiume/Getty Images

 

The D-backs’ most significant move so far this offseason was the trade that sent third Mark Reynolds to the Baltimore Orioles for a pair of right-handed pitchers.


Those pitchers — David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio — will add depth to an Arizona bullpen that is getting stronger by the day.

 

Hernandez is the key piece in the deal, as he experienced some real success after being moved from the rotation to the bullpen last year, which suits him in part because he is primarily a two-pitch guy (fastball/curve combo with an occasional changeup).

 

He made his last start of the year on May 21, and from then on was quite good. In his last 33 games, he threw 37 innings with a 3.16 ERA, with 45 strikeouts and 13 walks.

 

Hernandez’s opponent-hitting numbers were solid in that time, holding batters to a .236 average, .310 on-base percentage and a .371 slugging percentage. Hernandez should easily slide into the back of the bullpen for the D-backs this season, as his stuff should work in a late-inning role. He dials up his fastball in the low- to mid-90s (average fastball was 93.6 MPH in 2010).

 

Mickolio is a bit more of a mystery, as he has less big league experience. He’s pretty huge — 6-foot-9, 255 pounds, which I think makes him the third-tallest D-backs player ever, after Randy Johnson and Jon Rauch — and has made a handful of appearances for Baltimore over the last three years. In that time he’s posted a 4.32 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 14 walks in 25 innings.

 

His ERA has been high at Triple-A the last two years (5.80 in 2009 then 6.37 in 2010) although his strikeout and walk rates were essentially the same as when he was quite successful there (1.80 ERA) in 17 2008 games. He might well be an example of ERA being a poor way to judge a reliever.

 

Random note: Mickolio was born in Wolf Point, Mont. and went to high school in Bozeman, making him one of only three Montana natives playing in the big leagues right now (along with Taylor Tankersley, who was born in Montana but didn’t go to H.S. there, and Rob Johnson). There have only been 26 Montanans all time in the big leagues.

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