Off-day Open Panic Thread

Justin Edmonds

No D-backs game today, but at least they won yesterday, so we don't have to spend it staring at a 1-8 record. Not that 2-7 is much better, of course. So, is it time to panic?

Overview

The D-backs finish the first week of the season with a 2-7 record, and in last place for the National League West, already four games behind the division-leading Dodg... Hang on, it's the Giants? How did that happen? I was assured that the Dodgers would cake-walk their way to the title, wire to wire! Must be some kind of glitch in the matrix, I'm sure it'll be addressed before long. It has certainly been disappointing, and the team needs to play much better in the coming weeks: keep the goals small and manageable, I think. Start by winning a series. Then, look at getting back to .500. Once we're there, re-survey the landscape.

Is it too soon to panic? If not, when would you consider an appropriate time to panic? If so, what can the team actually do positively, to address the situation? Actually, that question largely applies whether or not you think it's time to panic. I'm pretty sure no-one is happy with the current record, but is it just a case of needing to wait for the players to come round and perform to expectations?

Offense

The offense hasn't been great, but the situation has been helped both by the strong starts to the season from Trumbo and Goldschmidt, and the generally decreased scoring around baseball. Whether it's the cold weather keeping hitters in check, we'll find out as things warm up, but the current figure of 3.92 runs per game for the National League, is the lowest since 1992 - and the .240 batting average is the lowest in over a century. You've got to go all the way back to the dead-ball era and 1908 to find a lower number. This may be luck to some extent. The BABIP of .280 is a dozen points below what we saw in 2013.

But as far as we're concerned, it's interesting that so far, we've actually hit RHP overall, better than LHP, by a margin of almost 50 points of OPS (.688 vs. .642). This goes somewhat counter to expectations coming in, that we'd mash southpaws and struggle vs. right-handers. That's largely powered by Trumbo and Goldschmidt, who both have an OPS of over a thousand against their right-handed brethren. We have struggled with runners in scoring position thus far, our line being .188/.258/250, a paltry .508 OPS. Nor have we been getting those two-out hits, being worse still, at a mere 3-for-31 with RISP hits.

Pitching

  • ERA = 6.15 (15th in NL)
  • ERA+ = 61 (15th)
  • K/9 = 6.38 (14th)
  • BB/9 = 3.87 (3rd)
  • HR/9 = 1.37 (1st)
  • Opp. OPS = .857 (1st)
  • xFIP = 4.46 (15th)
  • fWAR = -0.6 (15th)
  • fWAR leaders = Wade Miley (0.2). He's the only one above zero.
  • fWAR trailers = Brandon McCarthy (-0.2); Josh Collmenter (-0.2); Brad Ziegler (-0.1)

If it wasn't already obvious, this is where our problem has been. You can't hope to win on a regular basis, when your opponents are averaging between six and seven runs a game. There has been a certain element of misfortuner here: Arizona is above the league average in HR/FB ratio (14.1% vs.10.2% ), and our BABIP allowed of .309 is also significantly higher than average too (.280). Both of those should regress going forward - but these are taken into account for the xFIP figure, and we're still dead-last there. The bottom line is, the Diamondbacks just haven't pitched very well this season. You may have noticed...

Breaking our numbers down, it hasn't particularly been starters or the bullpen: they've both sucked, more or less equally (ERAs of 6.18 vs. 6.11 respectively). But it has been left-handed hitters who have done an awful lot of the damage, they are collectively hitting .321 with an OPS of .963, 185 points higher than their right-handed colleagues have managed. Or LHRPs haven't been brilliant, but they've been a lot better than our righties: Will Harris, Brad Ziegler and Randall Delgado are currently 11-for-20 against LHB, with seven extra-base hits. We have three left-handers in the 'pen, so maybe we should use them more?

But this is more or less an open thread for an open day. What has stood out for you over the first nine games? What needs to be done to get the D-backs back on track? Have at it...

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