After a quick look at the National League All-Star voting, there is no Arizona player on the list.
Well, one and that’s Paul Goldschmidt. That’s pretty much postulated because Goldschmidt, now considered one of the elite players in the game, should get the recognition.
One conspicuously missing is outfielder A. J. Pollock.
Before breaking his right hand last May 31 when struck by a pitch from the Reds Johnny Cueto, Pollock was having an All-Star season. Named twice during May as the National League player-of-the-week, Pollock’s stature rose as did his production.
Fast forward to this this season. Again, Pollock is hitting well above .300, but buried among NL outfielders in the fan’s voting. Coming into Tuesday’s game, Pollock hit .396 (21-for-53) in his previous 13 games, including 12 runs scored.
While Pollock may be off the national radar screen, he continues to put up significant numbers and play an all-star caliber center field.
Pollock again displayed his value to the Arizona organization when his two-run, two out home run in the seventh inning carried the Diamondbacks to a 7-6 victor over the Atlanta Braves before 17,101 Tuesday night in Chase Field.
The win snapped a modest two-game Arizona losing streak and kept the Diamondbacks six and one-half games behind the National League West Division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I come to the park every day with a good mind set,” explained Pollock. “This is a great line-up and we have guys who produce up and down the batting order. My goal is to be as consistent as I can be every night.”
If Pollock supplied the knock-out punch Tuesday night, he had assistance from Ender Inciarte.
Drawing a two-out walk in the seventh, Inciarte, with eight stolen bases this season, clearly disrupted the rhythm of Braves’ reliever Brandon Cunniff. With Inciarte doing his best to disturb the pitcher, Pollock then drove a 1-0 pitch into the swimming pool in right center and the Diamondbacks picked up their major league-best 105th RBI with two-out.
“I think Ender dancing around there upset the pitcher,” Pollock added. “I wanted to try and put the ball in the gap and give Ender a chance to score the tying run.”
In the end, Pollock’s blast proved to be the game-winner and now gives the Diamondbacks an opportunity to take the series from Atlanta with a win the series finale Wednesday afternoon.
“(Pollock) is an All-Star caliber player,” said Paul Goldschmidt, who tied a club record with four walks Tuesday night. “”He’s really overlooked, and he definitely a five-tool player. He makes my job easier.”
At things began Tuesday night, the near-last inning heroics seem furthest from the minds of the participants.
After yielding a first inning run, starter Josh Collmenter settled down and pitched effectively through the middle innings. Lasting into the sixth, Collmenter left holding a 4-1 lead but the Braves put runners on second and third with one out. At that point, J. C. Ramirez came in relief but gave up two-run single to A. J. Pierzynski with the bases loaded and a run-tying double to Jonny Gomes.
“You pride yourself to go deep in game, and that’s my goal with every start,” Collmenter said afterward. “You want to command the game but in recent starts, I’ve not been able to do that.”
Collmenter is now winless in his last five starts and has not picked up a victroy since he defeated the Rockies on May 6.
Coming from behind, the Diamondbacks touched Braves’ starter Shelby Miller for four runs and an early exit.
Lasting only 4.1 innings, his shortest outing of the season, Miller surrendered four earned runs and remained winless in his last four starts. Plus, he walked six Arizona hitters, and that tied a career mark set against San Diego on Aug. 16 of last season.
The four earned runs was the most earned run Miller allowed in any game this season. Previously, the 24-year-old out of Brownwood, Tex. surrendered two earned runs in a game only four times this season. Coming into Tuesday’s start, Miller won five of his seven decisions and sported a 1.48 ERA.
By the time Miller reached the 100 pitch mark with one out in the fifth, manager Freddie Gonzalez saw enough, and pulled the plug.
Registering a three-spot in the second, the key hit in the frame was a bases-loaded single to right off the bat of Inciarte. After an infield single by Pollock, Goldschmidt walked with the bases re-loaded. Later in the fourth, Pollock’s grounder to short scored Nick Ahmed with the Diamondbacks fourth run off of Miller.
The walk to Goldschmidt was the first Miller allowed with the bases loaded in his career.
Following a five-run, sixth inning by Atlanta, the Diamondbacks recovered. A two-out single from Yasmany Tomas in the sixth brought Arizona to within one, and Pollock’s blast into the pool in the seventh send the crowd home happy.
“Pollock has such quick hands that he was able to turn on that pitch and send it into the pool,” said manager Chip Hale. “No, (Pollock) does not fly under the radar screen here and we know what he can do. He has all the tools, a five-tool player, and he’s still learning. He’s having an All-Star year. Like Goldschmidt, he may not get the recognition because we’re not winning enough games to get these guys notoriety.”
The series concludes Wednesday afternoon, a 12:40 p.m. start
The Diamondbacks send righty Rubby De La Rosa (4-2, 4.50 ERA) to the hill against Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (3-2, 3.96).