I have to admit... This past week has me a little worried - just a little though. After opening the season with somewhat big expectations, the Dbacks find themselves 2-7 after the first week of baseball, and with the worst run differential in the majors. This is somewhat surprising considering that Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings and Mark Trumbo have started the season absolutely mashing the baseball. It still seems apparent though that some of the problems that haunted us last year carried over into this season.
The bullpen has, without a doubt, struggled, blowing late leads leads in numerous games, most specifically on Chase Opening Day when they blew a 7-2 lead to the Giants. However, it's important to be patient with the bullpen - this could be a by-product of being rushed through Spring Training for the Australia series.
With the way Goldschmidt, Trumbo and Owings have played, you would think the offense should be clicking on all cylinders as well. But a few key players have struggled early, so if they can turn it around, you will see the offense really come into it's zone. The biggest is Miguel Montero, who disappointed big time last year. On Sunday we saw something similar from in Montero as last year. Twice in the game, Trumbo was intentionally walked or pitched around to get to Montero, and Montero didn't come through. Miggy is perhaps the main left-handed power bat in the lineup, so the Dbacks really need him to have a productive offensive year, if they want to turn it around.
Following a series against the Colorado Rockies in which they were only able to manage one win, they head to San Francisco, the hottest team in the division right now. The Dbacks are playing them for the second time in a week, dropping three out of four games to them last week to open up the season. The Giants now find themselves in first place of the division after building off that successful opening series to take a series against the Dodgers.
Tuesday, April 8th: Trevor Cahill vs Tim Hudson
Diamondbacks fans hope for more of the Cahill we saw last week, as the year goes on. It's always a shame when the offense wastes a good start like last time. Since coming over to the Dbacks, he is 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA in nine starts against San Francisco. This is the same matchup as Wednesday, Hudson coming out victorious, 2-0. Both pitchers looked dominant, but Tim only gave up three hits over 7.2 innings, along with 7 strikeouts. He had been pretty good against the Dbacks, save a 2013 where he gave up 9 runs in two starts over 10 innings pitched. However, that was not the case Wednesday, in Hudson's Giants debut after coming over from Atlanta in the offseason. For the SF home opener, he will look to build off that success.
Maybe Hot: Buster Posey (1.064 OPS, HR, 17 PA), Gerardo Parra (1.117 OPS, 11 PA)
Maybe Not: Brandon Crawford (.570 OPS, 18 PA), Miguel Montero (.485 OPS, 16 PA)
Wednesday, April 9th: Bronson Arroyo vs Tim Lincecum
I know I can't be the only here who loves when Lincecum pitches against the Dbacks. That's because it's well known the Paul Goldschmidt absolutely owns Timmeh, having gone 12-23 with 6 HRs line against him. Lincecum doesn't just struggle against Goldschmidt though, over the past three years Lincecum has a 1-6 record against the Dbacks to go along with a 5.16 ERA (yikes). His last start didn't look too different, as Lincecum gave up for runs over six innings pitched, all of the damage coming on Goldschmidt and Trumbo home runs. However, the Giants were still able to come away with a victory in that game as the bullpen blew a late lead.
On the other side of the slate, Arroyo will be making his second start for the Dbacks after giving up 2 runs in 4.1 innings pitched in his debut. His start was cut short due to his pitch count climbing up there early, but for the most part, Bronson did not look too bad. I'm sure Arroyo doesn't mind taking the ball against the Giants again though, as he has owned them over his career: in the last three years he has a 1.26 ERA over 26 innings pitched against San Francisco.
Maybe Hot: Brandon Belt (1.822 OPS, 2 HR, 9 PA), Paul Goldschmidt (1.886 OPS, 6 HR, 23 PA)
Maybe Not: Pablo Sandoval (.550 OPS, 20 PA), Miguel Montero (.479 OPS, 15 Ks, 55 PA)
Thursday, April 10th: Randall Delgado v Ryan Vogelsong
The third and final game of this series will feature the only new matchup. For the Giants, Ryan Vogelsong will be taking the bump. Vogelsong didn't have a very spectacular debut to the 2014 season against the Dodgers last Friday, giving up 4 runs over 4 innings pitched, but San Francisco still won, scoring 8 runs off Ryu. Vogelsong is now a wily veteran - perhaps a theme for the Giants pitching staff - and seems to keep on pitching effectively year after year for them. However, he might be nearing an end to that effectiveness, as last season he went 4-6 with a 5.63 ERA in 19 starts, giving him the shortest leash among all Giants pitchers heading into 2014.
Taking the ball for Arizona is Randall Delgado, whom the Dbacks really need to pitch well in the wake of Patrick Corbins season ending Tommy John surgery. But last week's start against Colorado was not encouraging, getting knocked around for 6 runs over 4.2 innings pitched. While we'll cut Delgado some slack considering it was Coors Field, Delgado is going to have to pitch better than that going forward, if he wants to keep his spot in the rotation - especially with top prospect Archie Bradley not far off from reaching the majors. Delgado does pitch well against the Giants, only giving up 1 run in 12.1 innings pitched against them last year.
Maybe Hot: Aaron Hill (1.424 OPS, 1 HR, 16 PA)
Maybe Not: Hunter Pence (.450 OPS, 10 PA), Cliff Pennington (.000 OPS, 4 Ks, 8 PA)