LOS ANGELES – In acknowledging Martin Prado achieving the 1,000 hit plateau with a 3-for-4 game Satruday night, Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson said the achievement is significant.
Since brought to the desert in the Justin Upton trade before last season, Prado has had slow starts to each of the two seasons but dramatically increased numbers. Gibson constanty reminds reporters about Prado’s work ethic, preparation and durability.
Those characteristics have served well and Prado became the 26th player from Venezuela to reach the 1,000 hit mark.
“(Prado) still have a great career ahead of him,” Gibson said Sunday morning before the D-backs closed out their series with the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium. “I think first and foremost, he’s a great teammate.”
To compensate for a slow start last season, Prado proceeded to be named the National League player-of-the-month for August. In the process, the 30-year-old hit .374 with four home runs and 30 RBIs. He also established the team record for the most hits in the month of August with 43 hits. The hits were only second to Luis Gonzalez for a month when Gonzalez had 44 hits in May, 1999.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Prado was hitting .281 and third on the team in runs scored. His ability to hit for average and score is a testament to a change in his approach at the plate.
“We’ve asked him to be aggressive in the count,” Gibson added. “It’s paid off for him and you saw that (Saturday) against (Dodgers’ closer Kenley) Jensen.”
In the ninth inning Saturday, Prado reached the left field seats off of Jansen for his third home run of the season. True to the approach the Diamondbacks asked, Prado’s blast came on a 1-0 count and demonstrated his attention to detail.
SHARED PLAYING TIME
Despite leading National League rookies in seven offensive categories, Chris Owings was not in the lineup Sunday against the Dodgers.
That marked the second straight game manager Kirk Gibson penciled in Didi Gregorius at shortstop. Since his recall from Triple A-Reno June 3, Gregorius, prior to Sunday’s game, was hitting .296 (8-for-27) in eight games.
Prior to his recall from the minors, Gregorius was hitting .310 (70-for-226) for Reno and that included 14 doubles, three home runs, 25 RBIs, 42 runs scored on 57 games.
“Right now, I’m just juggling the position,” Gibson said before Sunday’s game. “I don’t want (Gregorius) to sit and he needs a chance to play. It’s an unique challenge we have but Owings will be fine.”
UP NEXT ..
The Diamondbacks now return to Chase Field for a nine game home stand against the Brewers, Giants and Indians.
In the home stand opener Monday night against Milwaukee, Brandon McCarthy 1-9, 5.29 ERA) gets the ball from Gibson and opposes right-hander Wily Peralta (6-3, 2.90). On Tuesday night, it’s Wade Miley (3-6, 4.71) going against Kyle Lohse (7-2, 300). Lohse is currently on the seven-game winning streak and that’s the best in the major leagues.
On Wednesday, Chase Anderson (5-1, 3.21) faces Matt Garza (4-4, 4.17) and on Thursday afternoon, Josh Collmenter (4-6, 4.05) takes on Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 3.31).
In the Brewers series, here are some numbers to consider.
For Monday’s game, Martin Prado (4-for-10) has the best career batting average against Peralta. In Tuesday’s game, Carlos Gomez has the Brewers’ best numbers against Miley, 4-for-12 with one home run.
Regarding Tuesday’s game, the Diamondbacks have put up some good numbers against Lohse.
Gerardo Parra has a .385 lifetime average (5-for-13, three doubles), Prado is hitting .368 (7-for-19) and Tony Campana is 4-for-7.
For Wednesday, Aaron Hill has a lifetime average of .389 (14-36) against Garza while both Miguel Montero and Parra are hitting .429 (each, 6-for-14).
On Thursday afternoon, Paul Goldschmidt is a perfect 4-for-4 off of Gallardo. Hill is hitting .300 (3-for-10) while Montero has a lifetime average of .308 (4-for-13).
Conversely, Gallardo has handled Prado (.167, 4-for-24) and Parra (.176, 3-for-17) fairly well.