While still technically an above-average run creator (105 wRC+) this season, Paul Goldschmidt is suffering through an uncharacteristically long slump, hitting just .216/.347/.388 with four homers over his first 167 plate appearances. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes, Goldschmidt’s soft-contact rate is much higher than his career average, as is his percentage of swinging-and-missing fastballs in the strike zone. The latter statistic has led to Goldschmidt’s 30.5% strikeout rate, which is far above his 22.4% career mark. The Diamondbacks first baseman didn’t share any details about his slump to reporters, except to say that he feels physically fine, so an injury doesn’t appear to be the cause of the problem. Remarkably, the D’Backs are still tied for the NL’s best record despite not having their star slugger hitting at his usual standard, though obviously the team hopes Goldschmidt gets on track soon.
Some more items from around the NL West…
- Speaking of slumping first basemen, Ian Desmond’s struggles continued today with an 0-for-4 day, dropping his slash line to an ugly .170/.213/.355 over 150 PA. The Rockies are lacking in viable alternatives at first base, The Athletic’s Nick Groke writes (subscription required), with Ryan McMahon recently demoted due to his own lack of production, Daniel Castro and Josh Fuentes both lacking experience at first base, and prospect Jordan Patterson hitting well but carrying a high strikeout rate at Triple-A. It isn’t probable that Gerardo Parra returns to first base, as “his defense lacked and he disliked the idea” of the position change in limited action at first last season. It stands to reason that first base could be a target area for the Rockies at the trade deadline should they remain the pennant race — like the D’Backs, the Rockies have also been competitive (22-19 after today’s loss to the Brewers) despite a lack of production at first base. A new addition, however, wouldn’t help solve the bigger-picture problem of Desmond, who has been a sub-replacement level player since signing a five-year, $70MM free agent deal with Colorado in December 2016.
- Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill was removed during the sixth inning of today’s start due to a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand, manager Dave Roberts told Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times (Twitter link) and other reporters. Roberts is still hopeful Hill can make his next start, though another blister is an ominous sign given Hill’s long history of similar issues. Hill has already spent time on the DL this season due to a cracked fingernail and infection on that same finger. Though Hill has just a 6.20 ERA over 24 2/3 IP this season, the Dodgers can ill-afford yet another notable injury, especially with the rotation already missing Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
- For more from the division, Connor Byrne published another set of NL West Notes earlier today on MLBTR