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‘Babybacks’ come up big for Arizona in first road series win since April

Derek Montilla Avatar
September 14, 2021

For the first time since winning a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on April 25th, the Arizona Diamondbacks won a series on the road on Sunday, taking two out of three in Seattle against the Mariners.

Since remakes are all the rage in Hollywood, it seems like the ‘Babybacks” might also be making a comeback.

Manager Torey Lovullo’s squad has very little to play for aside from pride at this point in the season being 46 games back in the NL West. His decision to focus on the D-backs younger players that make up the future of the franchise paid dividends over the course of the weekend against a team still fighting for a playoff spot.

First baseman Seth Beer — the best name in baseball — made his MLB debut during the first game of the series, pinch hitting late in the game and making a splash by taking reliever Diego Castillo deep for his first major league home run in his very first major league at-bat. He also has the dubious distinction of being the  D-backs franchise-record 63rd player used this season and their 27th rookie to be called up. 

Beer stayed hot — which I know is something you don’t normally want —  as their designated hitter in the series, going 1-for-3 with an RBI, a walk, and two runs scored on Saturday and going 2-for-4 on Sunday with an RBI and a run scored helping the D-backs complete the series win. 

Another player who recently made his debut is Henry Ramos, a 29-year-old minor league journeyman who is  best known for his viral video where he tried to fight an entire team rather than his baseball acumen.

But Ramos has been quietly doing a good job for the big league club, hitting .286 with a .857 OPS since being called up. He started on Friday and Sunday, going 3-for-8 with four RBI and two runs scored. He may not be considered the future given his age, but he’s another player who made his debut this season and seized the opportunity. 

Despite being in some slumps earlier this season, Daulton Varsho has been locked in over his last 40 games, hitting .311 with a 1.018 OPS, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 9 home runs, 23 RBI and 15 walks dating back to July 17.

On Saturday, Varsho was unstoppable at the dish, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, and four RBI, leading the way in a 7-3 victory. He went 1-for-4 on Sunday.

More importantly, he played both games behind the plate as catcher and has finally been seeing consistent time at what should be considered his natural position, a position where he recently caught a no-hitter thrown by Tyler Gilbert.

Speaking of Gilbert, he and fellow starting pitcher Humberto Castellanos are two guys that shouldn’t even be a part of the starting rotation and yet have stepped up for the D-backs and have earned the right to stay there.

Castellanos made his fourth career start, all this season, and notched his second win on Saturday. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk. He has remained consistent with a 3.90 ERA in 30 innings pitched and has credited his success to changing his approach from getting strikeouts to just getting outs.

Gilbert, much like Beer, couldn’t have hoped for a better debut by tossing a no-hitter. Since that magical night, he’s come back down to Earth a bit but still has proven to be an effective hurler.

On Sunday, he also went 5.1 innings in a win for the D-backs, matching Castellanos’ outing. He gave up just two earned runs on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk issued, lowering his ERA this season to 3.15.

It may be a small sample size, but considering where this team is at and how far they have to go to be competitive again, this past weekend was an encouraging sign for the future of this franchise. None of these names are household names and, aside from Beer and Varsho, rarely get brought up in the conversation about being impact players within the organization. 

However, as Lovullo has said, the opportunity is wide open with the current state of this team for young players to continue to try to grab the brass ring.  Over the last few weeks of the season, Lovullo and the D-backs will get to see if these same names continue to impress as well as if any other young players emerge as potential stars of the future. Their time may be coming up sooner than any of us think.

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