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Off-Day Report: The Week Ahead

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[Yeah, so, this was supposed to be out a little earlier in the off-day (the, y'know, day part of it) but things came up and now it can be the... Off-Midnight Report? Anyway.]

I know nobody wants to relive the horror that was this weekend's series at Wrigley. Heck, all of May has been tough right now. We ended April with a win against Houston (taking 2 of 3) but things went awry as soon as May started. The Diamondbacks are 3-7 so far for the month, and are now 3-4 against the NL East and 3-6 against the NL Central.

I promise, we're not reliving the weekend! Because guess what, we are 17-5 against the NL West, and that is by far the best intra-divisional record in all of MLB (the Tampa Bay Rays are 15-11 vs the AL East, and Florida and New York have good records in the NL East). So how happy are we to be facing Colorado at home right about now? Pretty happy. For one, we are 5-1 against Colorado this season with a run differential of +20! And the one loss was by a score of 13-5 on what as a pretty bad day for entire pitching staff. The Rockies are only a slightly higher 4-6 so far for the month of May and they come in having just lost two in a row to San Diego, scoring only 3 runs in those two loses. 

The series looks to be shaping up like follows. Sorry if this is a bit stat-heavy. ;)

Tuesday: Jeff Francis (0-3, 5.27 ERA) vs Randy Johnson (2-1, 5.06 ERA)

Francis is winless in his first seven starts, and only three of those starts have been "quality starts". (We'll let Gracie and Sutton squabble over the value of this...) His one terrible start was his second, lasting only 5 innings against Arizona and giving up 7 earned runs. A repeat of that would be nice, right? All starts have seen him throw 98 pitches or more, so the Diamondbacks need to be patient to get him out of there quickly. Francis has also been the victim of poor offense, with his team scoring less than 3 runs per game in his starts. Randy Johnson, meanwhile, has been the beneficiary of good offense, with more than 5.5 runs of support. Unfortunately, he hasn't lasted very long in his starts and his ERA has been climbing since his first win in San Diego a few weeks ago. We know what the deal with Randy is - when he's on, he's awesome, but the Diamondbacks need to keep up (revive?) the good run support. (Oh if it were only that simple.) This game is such a toss up... but, based on history and the teams, I'd have to say Advantage: Johnson.

Wednesday: Jorge De La Rosa (1-1, 10.24 ERA) vs Micah Owings (4-1, 4.33 ERA)

It's really not fair to judge De La Rosa on his two starts so far this season. The first was horrid, 9 ER in 4 IP, and his second one was pretty good, only 2 ER in 5.2 IP (that outing nearly halved his ERA). He did not face Arizona as a full-time starter last season with Kansas City (maybe he can give a scouting report on the upcoming Tigers?) but in three relief appearances and one start in his career, he has given up 6 runs to the Diamondbacks (1 earned) in just fewer than 10 innings. That looks favorable! I can't find anything else interesting about him (what, you mean that wasn't interesting?), but the MLB.com series projection notes say he looked good last week against St. Louis. Micah Owings won his first four starts of the year, including his first of the year in Colorado (6.2 IP, 1 ER) and looked to be a real solid #4 ace (possibly even #3) early on. Since the ankle injury (and including that game), he has a loss (6 ER) and two no-decisions (5 ER, 3 ER). But we all know he was solid last week against Philly and deserved the win for that quality start. Let's hope he continues the trend onwards and upwards (and downwards for that ERA). Advantage: Owings.

Thursday: Aaron Cook (6-1, 2.26 ERA) vs Brandon Webb (8-0, 2.41 ERA)

Since this is the ace vs ace matchup of the week, let's do a little side-by-side comparison. Believe me, the similarities are a little eerie. Cook is 6-1 (Rockies 7-1 in his starts), Webb is 8-0 (Dbacks 8-0 in his starts). Cook has 55.2 innings pitched, Webb has 56. Cook has allowed 14 earned runs (17 total), Webb has allowed 15 (18 total). Cook has 107 ground ball outs, Webb has 109. Webb has about twice the strikeouts and a better WHIP, but seriously folks, this would almost be too close to call if not for the disparities between the bullpens and the offense. Advantage: Webb. To sum it up: DO NOT miss this game! (Ah crap, I'm gonna miss the game.)

 

Then this weekend we begin... dun dun dun.... inter-league play. Though it looks like it's just... a weekend of inter-league play, which makes no sense to me, but that's why there are more enlightened people writing much more about baseball. Since I know hardly anything about this year's Tigers (and don't have time to do justice to research :(), I will point you to the Tim Brown column  on the Indians and Tigers. Later this week Jim can lead us in a debate of the merits and pitfalls of inter-league play. 

With that... good night! See you tomorrow for Email the Booth Night!