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Preview: Game #63, Diamondbacks vs. Giants

Ah, remember those heady days when I wondered if, top to bottom, this could be the best rotation in D-backs history? How long ago that seems now: it was actually less than a month.

Sieg Baxter!
Sieg Baxter!


Chad Gaudin
RHP, 1-1, 2.21

Tyler Skaggs
LHP, 1-0, 3.86

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. Gerardo Parra, RF
  2. Didi Gregorius, SS
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Miguel Montero, C
  5. Martin Prado, 3B
  6. Jason Kubel, LF
  7. A.J. Pollock, CF
  8. Cliff Pennington, 2B
  9. Tyler Skaggs, P

You'll be forgiven for holding your breath when Tyler Skaggs takes the mound for the fourth this afternoon at Chase Field. We've allowed almost 50% more runs in that frame than any other: 46, with the next-highest being the sixth, at 31. Remarkably, just four of our 62 games are responsible for more than half that total, There have been a handful of occasions this season that the Diamondbacks have conceded five-plus runs in a frame: all but one have been in the fourth (the other was the third), with 24 runs scored during that four-pack of futile fourth frames. As yesterday showed, that has definitely been the Achilles' heel of our pitchers this year, as far as the big inning goes.

So far, however, those have been less of an issue than in 2012. All told last season, we allowed four runs in an inning on 30 occasions; this year, we've done so eight times, which is on pace for 21. The distribution this year is much less even: splitting the game into innings 1-3, 4-6 and 7+, in 2012, the big innings were allowed 10, 11 and 9 times. This year, seven of the eight have come in the fourth inning or earlier: it has definitely been a starter issue more than bullpen one. At the other end, last year we put up a zero in 72.5% of frames; this time around, the figure is slightly higher, at 74.2%.

Of course, big innings giveth too. We haven't had any really big frames - our most to date is six - but we've scored four in a frame 10 times already, not far short of the 16 managed in all of 2012. We scored in 27.4% of innings last year, and that figure has also dropped a little, to 26.2% in 2013. But I guess neither the tick down in runs scored or allowed should be too surprising, as pitching has continued to out-pace offense in the National League. The current figure for runs per game is 4.07, the lowest rate seen in the league since 1992. To match the current .314 OBP, you've got to go back further, to 1989. There are SnakePitters who weren't even born then...

Absolutely, definitely not going to Chase Field today. "Bark in the Park" and the celebrations for Baxter's birthday combine two of my less-favorite animals - about the only way the Diamondbacks could complete the Trifecta of Suck harder, would be if they had a Country and Western concert after the game, with mandatory attendance. Instead, I'm having brunch with the visiting Californian relatives - over/under on how long it'll take the Giants fan to mention last night's game = 3.7 seconds. azshadowwalker is scheduled to be your guest recapper this afternoon, so hopefully there'll be a series win to be written about.