|Mark Reynolds: Welcome to the 40-homer club.|
With their lineup back at full-strength, the Arizona Diamondbacks looked -- for a weekend, at least -- like a team that could be dangerous in September. Against the reeling Houston Astros, the hitters hit well and the pitchers pitched well and everyone went home happy (except for closer Chad Qualls, who dislocated his knee Sunday on a weird game-ending play). In Sunday's 4-3 win, starting pitcher Dan Haren wasn't dominant but he was good, going seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, and striking out seven. After some so-so starts in early August, Haren appears to have nearly recovered the Cy Young-candidate form that he displayed so often before the All-Star break.
On Saturday, another D-Backs starter tossed a true gem. Jon Garland, who's been up and down all year long and hasn't been really impressive overall, silenced the Astros' bats by pitching seven shutout innings and giving up only five hits as the D-Backs smoked the Astros 9-0. The only D-Backs starter who didn't fit the bill this weekend was Friday's starter, Max Scherzer. Oh, Max won the game, but that's only because the D-Backs hitters went crazy, pounding out 16 hits en route to a 14-7 win.
Offensively, the lineup clicked. Justin Upton hit two home runs over the weekend, Miguel Montero continued his onslaught and is quickly becoming one of the National League's best-hitting catchers (here's hoping he's not a one-season wonder), Alex Romero hit his first big-league homer, and Mark Reynolds hit the 40th homer of his otherworldly season. Reynolds became only the second D-Back in franchise history to achieve the feat. Of course, Luis Gonzalez hit 57 in 2001, the year the D-Backs won the World Series. With 85 career homers already (in only his second full season), Reynolds is fifth on the D-Backs' all-time homer list, behind Gonzo, Steve Finley, Matt Williams, and Jay Bell, who had 91.
Now, the D-Backs go into full-on spoiler mode as they spend the next week in enemy territory, L.A. and Denver. With Reynolds, Upton, and Montero knocking the ball out of the park, the D-Backs appear dangerous as they head into baseball's final month of the regular season. Here are the match-ups for the four-game set against the Dodgers.
Tonight: Doug Davis (7-11, 3.75) vs. Randy Wolf (9-6, 3.25), 7:10 p.m.
Tuesday: Yusmeiro Petit (3-8, 5.59) vs. Vicente Padilla (9-6, 4.86), 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: Max Scherzer (8-8, 4.26, 150 strikeouts in 139.1 innings pitched) vs. Chad Billingsley (12-8, 3.83), 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: Jon Garland (8-11, 4.29) vs. Charlie Haeger (1-1, 3.86), 7:10 p.m.
TV: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are Fox Sports Net-Arizona; Wednesday is on ESPN. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. More info: www.dbacks.com