clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Not THESE guys again? Previewing the Diamondbacks-Giants series

Scherzer vs. Johnson. Lincecum vs. Davis. Haven't we been here before? Like, last weekend? Remember? The series where our starters had an ERA of 0.95 (allowing two runs in 19 innings), struck out almost a batter per frame, and yet still got tagged with two losses, because the offense managed exactly one run-scoring play over the entire weekend. Yeah, I'd just about written that one off as a bad dream too - until an orange-and-black tentacle languidly breaks the surface, and suddenly, we know where this is all going to end. Oh, yes: in Nazi werewolves with Uzis. NSFW. As if you couldn't guess. But still probably easier to watch than our hitting by the bay.

At the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, you've won't win many series batting .126 and slugging .172. Frankly, it's more remarkable we managed not to get swept, and that took Doug Davis pitching eight shutout innings, not exactly something you can rely on every time. That was only the eighth such occasion it had happened in 238 career starts for DD, and the first since August 2007. Mind you, it was against the Giants: Tuesday night's 8-3 win over the Padres ended a streak of nine consecutive games scoring four runs or less. That's the longest such run in the NL since...oh, crap... since the Diamondbacks went 13 straight in September last year. Still, after that momentary aberration, normal service was resumed for the Giants last night as they beat San Diego 1-0 - in extra innings.

That said, they swept the Padres, taking the mighty juggernaut [hey, I get to use that word two days out of three!] which was the San Diego season, leaving it propped up on bricks while their northern cousins absconded with the wheels. The Giants starters appear finally to have got on track, after a flaky start: last turn around the rotation, only one allowed any runs, resulting in an ERA all the way down at 0.52, with a K:BB ratio of 34:6. It's much more like the results we expected to see from their pitching staff, and Arizona's batters will have to be at their best.  That's something we haven't seen much of lately, though our team BABIP in the past week is still stuck at .252, compared to a league-average of .305 [Over at Purple Row there's a nice piece on BABIP, explaining why it matters, and in the comments I see that the AZ figure is basically at the 95th percentile of extreme]. This weekend would be a nice point for some strong regression to the mean.

We should have Stephen Drew back and available this series, though Augie Ojeda has been by no means a waste of space, going 6-for-17 in the past week, tied for the team lead in hits (with Mark Reynolds and Felipe Lopez), both 6-for-19. In contrast, Conor Jackson (2-for-15) has continued to struggle, and Chad Tracy (2-for-13) has cooled off after his hot start. Overall, the pitching has been impeccable in the past couple of series with a team ERA of 2.45 - and five of the 12 earned runs they allowed, came in the 1.2 innings thrown by Bobby Korecky and Jon Rauch. Here's to seeing neither of them in the next three days.

Hope you enjoyed the day off, as there won't be another one for three weeks - and that'll be the only one we get in May. At least we should have some fresh arms coming back in the next few days, in the shape of Tom Gordon and, especially, Brandon Webb. Losing our ace was about the worst possible start to the season imaginable for Arizona, and the sooner he returns, fully-healthy, the happier we will be. He's scheduled to throw another bullpen session today, and that may then give us a better idea of when to expect him to come off the DL. Gordon will have one more rehab start for the Reno Aces, so I'm thinking we'll probably see him during the Cubs series.

Arizona really needs to build on the first series win against the Rockies [who face the Dodgers and now need a sweep if the claim that they're "greatly under-rated" is to retain any credibility], and take two of three from the Giants. It's not going to be easy: facing some tough pitchers, they need to do the little things well, such as the pitchers getting down sacrifice bunts and the hitters putting the ball in play and moving runners over when necessary. Sound defense would also help, and it goes without saying that our pitching - both starters and relievers - need to keep the team in the game. While we still haven't won two in a row this season, Arizona being 0-5 in contests after a victory. the division is still tight enough that a good week is all it'd take to put us right back up there. But let's start by heading towards .500: one step at a time.