This is our third match up with Diamondbacks but much has changed for one team since the last meeting. The Last Diamondback preview was a battle for last place, twenty one days later the Diamondbacks are still in last place, while we are fighting for 1st place.
If you think the Diamondback bullpen has been bad it is because it has been bad. Not just bad but beyond bad. They are dead-last in ERA (7.62), FIP (6.41), and xFIP (5.31). Home runs have been the bug a boo as they have given up 31 home runs. By contrast the Dodgers have only given up 13 home runs.
As bad as the bullpen has been the rotation is not much better. They have also given up a league leading 54 home runs but at least they are not dead - last in ERA (5.22), FIP (4.81), and xFIP (4.11). Brandon Webb is still out, Dan Haren is not having his usual first half all-star stuff. Their hottest pitcher has been Ian Kennedy but we miss him again.
1st Base- Nothing has changed much for Adam LaRoche since we last wrote him up. His TSL of .272/.363/.506 is still in the upper tier of first baseman this year.
2nd Base- Kelly Johnson has slowed down from his lofty levels, and has seen his wOBA fall from .442 to .396. Tony Abreu had his wrist sprained when he was spiked at 2nd base and hit the DL last week.
SS -Stephen Drew has continued his solid start, keeping his TSL at .299/.365/.483 and a wOBA of .376.
3rd Base - Mark Reynolds continues to strike out at a prodigious rate moving it from 34% to 38% with a 40% rate in May. Would love to see him crack the 40% barrier. Even with all the strike outs, Reynolds continues to be productive when he makes contact. TSL of .230/.337/.496 is big drop from 21 days ago as he has struggled in May.
C - Chris Snyder has had a miserable May, and the Diamondbacks can't wait for Montero to get back. Snyder hit .150/.346/.283 in May. Other then taking a walk he was a big zero. Pretty big guy to be carrying a slug% of .283 for a months worth of work.
CF - Chris Young continues his comeback with a solid May giving him two solid months in a row. Not sure when the last time was that Chris Young had two good months in a row. The BABIP has fallen from .356 to .331 but he's kept the TSL of .281/.348/.461.
He continues to match Matt Kemp. ( hard to believe Matt Kemp has an OPS below .800) Editor Note: Kemp has an OPS of .804 in May, my mistake and overall is .840. Thanks to MartinGreen for pointing out the error which makes the previous sentence moot.
RF -Justin Upton had a better May then April but an OPS of .812 is still far from what the Diamondbacks were expecting for the future HOF. For the season he still has a K rate of 36%.
LF - Conor Jackson has been back but he's terrible. Not sure if he's in danger of losing his job but a TSL of .191/.291/.309 is not going to get it done from left field. Or any field for that matter. The only thing Conor Jackson can be happy about is that ECR won the City Championship this past Saturday.
Bench - With Abreu on the DL, Montero on the DL, the bench is weak.
Starting Pitching for our Series:
The exact same three pitchers who faced us last time, face us again.
Game One -Rodrigo Lopez -has seen his xFIP rise from 3.74 to 5.23 in a matter of 21 days. I'd say he's on the trajectory predicted back on April 12th.
Much traveled Rodrigo Lopez will go in game two. Lopez has not pitched more then 14 games in the majors since 2006 but here he is in the Diamondback rotation. His skills are gone, and he may not be here the next time I do one of these.
Game Two - Diamondback ace Dan Haren is not pitching like an ace. This is what he had to say about how he's been pitching:
"I think taking a step back and thinking about what's gone on," Haren said. "It's been 11 starts. I've thrown plenty of innings, gotten plenty of strikeouts, I'm not walking anybody. I mean, really it's simple. I'm giving up too many homers and a few too many hits, but really it's just too many homers. The homer is killing me. There's no excuse for that."
Game Three - Ex Dodger Edwin Jackson is also getting killed by the long ball. His ERA is 6.03 but his xFIP is only 3.89.
Bullpen: Everyone sucks. Everyone. Actually that is not true. Aaron Heilman has been solid. So no matter what the score, don't lose hope, this is a team we can score late against.