Ketel Marte

Ketel Marte bats at Chase Field in 2018. He's become the Diamondbacks' top slugger this year. As of early July, he already had 20 home runs.

I’m looking forward to July 20, when I’ll be joining friends and heading to Phoenix for Town of Parker Night at Chase Field. I understand it will be Nick Ahmed bobble-head night. I’m concerned about how well I’ll be able to hold on to the bobble-head. I hear Ahmed is a slick fielder.

I should be ashamed of myself for starting a column with a joke like that.

What can Parker fans expect to see? Well, the Arizona Diamondbacks are still in contention for second place in the NL West. They have a decent chance at making the post-season. It won’t be easy, though. As of July 7, they were 45-45.

The D-Backs have been putting a lot of runs on the board. The Arizona Lumber Co. recently added a new member to the double-digit home run club:  catcher Carson Kelly. As of July 7, he’s at 10-.276-28 in 68 games. When the D-Backs got him from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt deal, they knew he was an outstanding fielder. However, in three years in St. Louis, he showed no indication he could hit like this.

Maybe the change of scenery was what Kelly needed. When the Chicago Cubs traded Lou Brock to the Cardinals in 1964, he was batting .240. Once he got to St. Louis, he became an incredible hitter and led the Cards to three pennants.

I should add that back-up catcher Alex Avila is no slouch, either. He’s at 5-.246-13 in limited appearances.

The other members of the Arizona Lumber Co. include Ketel Marte (20-.311-53), Eduardo Escobar (18-.291-66), Christian Walker (17-.263-43) and Adam Jones (13-.264-44).

I should mention pitcher Zack Greinke’s hitting abilities. In just 42 at-bats, he’s 3-.262-6 with 11 hits, seven runs scored, two doubles and a triple. Were he a position player, that would translate into 20 to 25 home runs and 40 to 50 RBI.

Greinke is a rare commodity:  a pitcher who’s also an offensive threat. The San Diego Padres learned that earlier this year when he hit two shots into the seats in San Diego.

As for pitching, Greinke is looking more and more like the pitcher we thought we were getting when the D-Backs signed him to that mega bucks contract a while back. He’s gone 10-3, 2.73 with 108 strikeouts in 122 innings.

Among the starters, Merrill Kelly is 7-8, 4.03 while Robbie Ray is 6-6, 3.96. Greg Holland has become the closer at 1-1, 3.10 and 13 saves.

The real problem for the D-Backs this year has been the injury bug. The most notable injured player is local favorite David Peralta. He’s out indefinitely with soreness in his right shoulder. He had been batting 9-.289-44, and he is still leading the team with 24 doubles.

Two of the five starting pitchers are out with injuries as well. Luke Weaver is dealing with a pair of sprains, while Taylor Clarke has inflammation in his back. Weaver had been an effective starter. He was 4-3, 3.03 when he went on the disabled list. His ERA was second of the starters after Greinke. I understand he may be back in August.

So that’s how the D-Backs are shaping up as I get ready for Town of Parker Community Night. I know it will be a lot fun, whether the D-Backs win or lose.

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