With all due respect to Kevin Jarvis, he is probably not quite what you want to see taking the mound for a spot start, when you've lost ten of the last eleven games. It makes me wonder why they didn't keep Ortiz around so he could start this one, before canning him for good. Hell, might as well squeeze some value out for the $20m+ we'll be paying him for the next two years and more. It's a sad indication of how bad they thought he'd be, that'd they prefer Jarvis, whose last start in the majors came on September 12th, 2003. Since then, he has thrown 24.2 big-league innings, with an ERA of 10.95.
Enthusiasm for this contest is thus best described as "muted". We have won unexpected pitching matching before this season though, and Koronka is not exactly a dominating force on the mound. He only has sixteen career starts to his name, and has allowed five or more hits every outing this season. His WHIP thus far is 1.47, so we should get men on base against him, at at least that clip. Eight or more over five innings is the target I'm setting.
I just want to see us getting back to what served us so well earlier in the season: taking pitches, working deep into the plate appearance, drawing walks. Because, at the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, you won't get free passes, swinging on a two-ball count. Just for interest, here's a quick-and-dirty look at the Diamondbacks' walk rate and pitches per PA for the season, by month thus far:
- Mar/Apr: 9.53 AB/BB, 3.79 P/PA
- May: 10.57, 3.60
- June: 12.87, 3.59
The trend is clear, though odd to note how we're seeing almost the same number of pitches in May and June, but drawing far fewer walks. That's especially important, when we're just not hitting either. Our OPS for June of .688 is dead last in the National League - and it's not even close, the next worst is Atlanta's .702 (sweeping them in a four-game set to start the month looks much less impressive now, the Braves having gone 2-14 in June, including today's loss). If this keeps up, then the rumblings about Melvin's job security can be expected to grow ever-louder.