This is our fourth matchup with the Diamondbacks and while the roster looks pretty much the same, everything is different. In our last preview the focus was on the lack of relief but they have solved the back end of the bullpen with Aaron Heilman.
Boy manager AJ Hinch is out, and Dodger Legend Kirk Gibson is in. Not knowing how this will effect the emotional makeup of the team as they get ready to battle the Dodgers, we will have to focus on what the players have been doing.
Pitching is still the problem, the Diamondbacks still have the worst pitching in baseball. The TSL (ERA/FIP/xFIP) for them is 5.33/4.92/4.64. The bullpen continues to be the worst in baseball but things have been improving. While the June ERA still is dead last the FIP in June was a solid 3.81 putting them right smack in the middle. The rotation in June had an ERA of 3.80 and a FIP of 4.42.
The new quad stat line will consist of AVG/OBP/SLG/wOBA
1st Base- Adam LaRoche - .260/.347/.473./.358
2nd Base- Kelly Johnson - .257/360.482/.369
3rd Base - Mark Reynolds - 213/.328/.473/.349
C - Miguel Montero - .375/.444/.536/.427 - Best offensive catcher in the NL that no one knows about? Or simply the best offensive catcher in the NL?
CF - Chris Young .261/.325/.470/.354 - Matt Kemp has a ways to go this year to catch him in wOBA.
RF -Justin Upton .266/.351/.462/.356 - Had a .922 OPS in June. The kid is coming on.
LF - Gerardo Parra has replaced the traded Connor Jackson as the Diamondbacks said good-bye to another of their highly touted youngsters that just never panned out. Parra would not appear to be the future answer but who knows. For now he's doing the job .281/.304/.446/.326.
Bench - Snyder, Ryal, Abreu, Gillespie.
Starting Pitching for our Series:
The exact same three pitchers who faced us last time, face us again for the third time. The only difference is that we see Edwin first instead of last.
Game One - Ex-Dodger Edwin Jackson is coming off one of the stranger no hitters in baseball. He walked eight during his electric no hitter throwing a gazillion pitches to get it done. Since he's not Nolan Ryan I expect his arm is not going to bounce back for this game. Edwin had a great June with a TSL of 2.11/3.47/4.83 as he did not allow a home in June. This is the exact opposite of what was happening with Edwin earlier in the year when his ERA was high but his xFIP was 3.89. On June 1st Edwin had allowed ten home runs, and on July 1st it is still at 10. Tonight would be a good time to make that 11 or 12.
Game Two - Rodrigo Lopez - Man I'm sick of this guy. I can't believe he's still here which ticks me off because I predicted we would never see him again after his first start against us.
Game Three - Diamondback ace Dan Haren pitched like an ace in June, with TSL of 3.19/2.78/3.60. He is supposed to be on the trading block and we shall see how the new GM handles this situation. It could make or break their future depending on the haul they get for him. Byrnes shot his wad when he traded his prized prospects for Haren and while it looked like a worthwhile gamble, it did not pay off. Not yet anyway.
Bullpen: Aaron Heilman has been become the closer and for the first time all year someone is getting the job done. Actually in June the bullpen is doing the job. They added Samuel Demel, Esmerling Vasquez has a high ERA but his FIP suggests he's been unlucky in June. Vasquez has a K rate of 11.57 in June.
The Dodgers just swept the Giants. The Dodgers own the NL West. The DBacks just fired their manager. Their pitcher is coming off of a massive pitch count. Their 2nd pitcher is Rodrigo Lopez. We are sending our three best pitchers at them. Things look good for this weekend.