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Preview: Game #93, Diamondbacks vs. Brewers

Another come-from-behind victory for the D-backs last night, and another nailbiting ninth. Still, the win's the thing, and staff ace Corbin on the mound, makes me hopeful there'll be more this evening at Chase.



Tom Gorzelanny
LHP, 1-2, 2.12

Patrick Corbin
LHP, 10-1, 2.40

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. Adam Eaton, LF
  2. A.J. Pollock, CF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Aaron Hill, 2B
  5. Cody Ross, RF
  6. Martin Prado, 3B
  7. Miguel Montero, C
  8. Cliff Pennington, SS
  9. Patrick Corbin, P

Good job by the team to come back from an early three-run deficit last night. I do like this team's resilience: they are on pace for 44 comeback wins this season, which would be a sharp uptick on the 37 posted in 2011, and would be not far short of the 48 comebacks by the division-winning team from 2011. Of course, the other side of that are the blown leads: we have 24 losses already where we did have a lead at some point, which is already getting close to the 28 suffered by the 2011 outfit. It's hardly a secret that it's probably the key to the second-half: being better at locking down the lead when we get it.

But you might be surprised at when the blown leads occur. The problem is not limited to the later innings of game. The chart below shows our win percentage when leading at the start of each inning from the first through the ninth, the NL win percentage for the same, and the number of runs scored and allowed by the Diamondbacks in each inning.

AZ W% NL W% Scored Allowed
1st N/A N/A 0.52 0.46
2nd .522 .646 0.43 0.20
3rd .625 .692 0.34 0.46
4th .583 .703 0.41 0.71
5th .686 .750 0.48 0.58
6th .743 .793 0.48 0.43
7th .833 .862 0.51 0.42
8th .853 .890 0.43 0.41
9th .897 .949 0.53 0.43

It's interesting to note the team has outscored the opposition every inning after the fifth - not necessarily by much, but again, perhaps suggesting the problem is more when the bullpen allows runs, rather than the overall number of them. The real problem appears to be that dreaded fourth inning this year: we are less likely to win a game we're leading after four innings, than one we're leading after three! That's largely because we've been outscored 65-38 in the fourth: as a result, more leads have been "blown" there (8) than any other inning, even the ninth (7). This may be connected to the fact that our starting pitchers are much less effective the second and third times through the order.

1st PA in G 869 777 58 185 13 57 188 3.30 .238 .297 .347 .644
2nd PA in G 805 735 93 198 24 50 136 2.72 .269 .317 .444 .761
3rd PA in G 642 568 95 167 28 58 92 1.59 .294 .366 .512 .879
4th+ PA in G 72 68 6 15 1 4 13 3.25 .221 .264 .324 .587

Now, there's some drop-off to be expected, but the NL overall numbers are 17 points higher the second time through, and an additional 75 points the third, not the 117 and 118 point increases experienced by Arizona. It appears that hitters are doing a better job of adjusting to our pitchers, than our pitchers are to the hitters. Maybe this is on Montero and Nieves, needing to mix it up more? It also suggests Gibson could be better off going to the bullpen a little sooner, because it does seem the D-backs' rotation struggles terribly, the third time hitters get to see them, with the K:BB rate half what it is earlier in the game.