Game #20: Diamondbacks @ Giants

Ezra Shaw

Yeah. it sucks to be walked off. But that's the first time this year, we were leading after seven innings and didn't win. It's gonna happen. Let's just hope it's not often.

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Patrick Corbin
LHP, 2-0, 1.42

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Matt Cain
RHP, 0-2, 7.15

D-backs line-up:

  1. Gerardo Parra, LF
  2. Martin Prado, 2B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Miguel Montero, C
  5. Cody Ross, RF
  6. Eric Chavez, 3B
  7. A.J. Pollock, CF
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Patrick Corbin, P

Even after last night, the Diamondbacks' bullpen still has the third-best ERA in the National League: at 2.47, it trails only the Braves and Pirates. Now, there is some cause for concern, in that the team's performance when pitching in late and close situations has been a bit wobbly: .276/.343/.421 for a .764 OPS, which is 47 points worse than league average. But the concept of "clutch pitching" seems likely to be as difficult to pin down as the rainbow unicorn which is clutch hitting, so I think that'll likely head down, in part because our BABIP there is .346, more than fifty points above the mean.

As for tonight we go up against Cain, who has been far from able thus far.. Actually, that's an exaggeration, but I'm refusing to let facts get in the way of a good pun. He has alternated awful outings with quality starts: and when I say "awful," I mean 16 earned runs in less than ten innings terrible. The bad news is, if that keeps up, we'll be in for one of the other kind, which have resulted in just two earned runs over 13 innings. He certainly did well against Arizona last season: in his four starts, he went 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA. No shortage of experience here: both Montero and Parra have more than 40 PAs against Cain, though the .235 average doesn't suggest it has helped much.

Corbin faced the Giants four times last year, but the results there were rather mixed: his two starts at Chase were pretty good, but the ones in AT&T Park were a good deal less successful, resulting in ten runs over a mere eight innings, on 14 hits. No question about Corbin's control - he has walked exactly one San Francisco batter in 23 innings against them. But the hits have come rather too easily. That was 2012 Corbin, however, and the 2013 version seems to have taken a big step forward, going by his first three outings of the year: and he has posted a better Game Score each time out, so the improvement seems ongoing.

The offense still seems to need a kick-start, with half of tonight's starting line-up having an OPS+ of 81 or lower. The biggest disappointments so far have been Montero and Prado, I think: if those two can get going, we should be in a much better place, especially once we get Hill back. The outfield, I'm less concerned about: Pollock has hit well above expectations, and Parra has been holding his own more than adequately too. Tacos tonight? That may well depend on which Cain shows up, but I would certainly like to see them.

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