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Arizona Diamondback Preview: Gibby's Gamers Come To Town

Manager: Kirk Gibson (49- 69)

Current: (15 - 21) Scored 159, Given up 169

Outlook:  Playing the veterans while waiting for the reinforcements in the way of Paul Goldschmidt and Jarrod Parker. Still waiting for Justin Upton to earn that number one overall pick in 2005 as players like Ryan Zimmerman(4), Ryan Braun(5) and Tulo(7) have all already made huge impacts on their respective franchises. They have two very good starting pitchers and not much else in the rotation. The bullpen finally has a closer. 

Disabled List:  Willie Bloomquist, Zach Duke, Geoff Blum

Old Friends:  Not a one with Tony Abreu in AAA.


1st Base: Three-headed monster of Juan Miranda, Russell Branyan, and Xavier Nady and none of them are hitting, but all of them are hitting better then Loney. Even Nady with his .611 OPS.  Not a .400 slug% to be found among them. They have better players in the minors in Brandon Allen and the home run monster king Paul Goldschmidt who has hit 13 jacks to lead the Southern League. 

2nd Base: Kelly Johnson was the belle of the ball last summer but things be a bit different this summer. Would you believe a .596 OPS? a 30% K rate? 

Shortstop: Steven Drew is one of the vaunted kiddie crop who grew up into a productive Diamondback.  Problem is, Drew is already 28 his .787 OPS is about it. 

3rd Base: Power man Mark Reynolds was replaced with Melvin Mora............Luckily for them he got hurt and his replacement, utilityman Ryan Roberts, has been the best offensive 3rd baseman in the NL. HIs wOBA is .404, the only 3rd baseman better then that are on the DL. Ryan Roberts performance to date might be one of the biggest surprises in the NL. 

Catcher: Miguel Montero is a solid catcher who boasts an .806 OPS. For 20 TBLA points which NL catcher has the highest wOBA and wRC while hitting below .250? Michael White may not play.

Right Fielder: Justin Upton is starting to follow his brother. Meaning the superstardom we predicted just ain't happening. His .822 OPS is nothing to sneeze at but it is about 100 points below what one would have expected of him by now. This performance is a far cry from the man I expected to follow in the foot steps of the Great Griffey.  For another 20 TBLA points which right fielder has the highest WAR so far, helped by his plus fielding numbers?

Center Fielder: Chris Young is still hitting home runs but he's having a hell of a time getting on base. His .256 OBP is dead last in qualified NL center fielders.

Left Fielder: Gerardo Parra is holding his own in LF offensively, and defensively according to fangraphs, he's the best LF in the NL with a rating of 4.2.  His OPS is only .746  but among the sad group of left fielders in the NL that is good for 7th best. 

Bench: Super utility player Willie Bloomquist might come off the DL this weekend; he's been their Jamey Carroll so we might muffle the laughter. The rest of the bench are two of the three-headed first baseman not playing and a backup catcher.

Starting Pitching:

Xeifrank Dodger Simulation Matchup
Game# Matchup Fave Win% Total Runs
1 Saunders versus Clayton Kershaw LA 63.3 7.34
2 Joshua Collmenter versus Chad Billingsley LA
3 Ian Kennedy versus Ted Lilly LA


Joe Saunders is awful. If we can't win Friday Night's match up the season is lost.  Jerry Sands better damn well get some hits.

Joshua Collmenter will be making his first major league start in game two which is too bad because the guys we could have been facing were Armando "one hit" Gallarraga or Barry Enright and they were just a tad better then Joe Saunders. However Collmenter can pitch and in a few months Jarrod Parker should be joining him.  The scouting report on Collmenter from Bernie Pleskoff:

Has ice water in his veins and he has a full repertoire. He can pitch.

He's done great in the bullpen but coming into the season was not a highly ranked prospect.

Ian Kennedy will toe the mound on Sunday giving the Diamondback their best chance to win. You know who is 8th / 9th in the NL in WAR? It is not Kershaw / Billingsley, it is Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy.  These boys are pitching well, and right now are the best one two punch in the NL West and nobody else is close.


Setup: David Hernandez seems to get the most work, he's been wildly effective so far, Sam Dremel, Juan Gutierrez , and lefty Joe Patterson fill out the bullpen.  Aaron Heilman, back off the DL, is also available for your consideration.

Closer: JJ Putz is doing something that the Diamondbacks have not had since they moved Valverde to Houston, a closer who actually collects saves and doesn't give them away.

Matchup Notes: 

If things go according to plan, lots of runs get scored on Friday/Saturday followed by a pitching duel on Sunday. Clayton needs to lay down the law Friday night, while Kemp and company need to unload on Saunders. The kid on Saturday is not stretched out so he's not going long even if he's good, Chad should be able to hold up his end of the bargain. 

Per Baseball HQ:

Both Dodgers LHPs should make good starts this weekend. Clayton Kershaw has been dominant against ARI batters in his career, holding them to a collective .132 BA. Stephen Drew (1-for-11, .091 BA) and Chris Young (2-for-14, .143 BA) have particularly anemic numbers against Kershaw. Ted Lilly has also been very good against the current ARI roster, holding the ARI hitters to a .231 BA. Don't start Melvin Mora against Lilly, as Mora is a career three-for-31 (.097 BA) against the LA LHP ... For ARI, both Saunders and new rotation member Collmenter are iffy starts, but Ian Kennedy has been pitching extremely well with four PQS-DOM outings in his last five starts and looks to continue his run against an LA team that has struggled hitting at home (.633 OPS at home vs. .733 OPS on the road this year).