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Off-day Open Cautious Optimism Thread

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A week since last off-day, and things went quite well for the Diamondbacks, going 4-2 and taking two series on the road. Might the worst of 2014 be over with April?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly, taking two of three against both the Padres and the Brewers in their parks, probably makes this the best week in the Diamondbacks' season to date. The Milwaukee series was particularly impressive, considering they came into it with the best record in baseball. I was especially pleased with the second game, where it would have been very easy for Arizona to fold up their interest after Milwaukee scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning [I have to confess, my interest certainly was folded up at that point, and only returned due to a fortunate cock-up on the movie front, with the Swedish crime film we were watching, becoming subtitle-free in the middle]

It has been the pitching - and the starting pitching, in particular - which has driven things in this positive direction. In the 52.1 innings of work for our hurlers, they have allowed only 17 earned runs, which is a 2.92 ERA. The rotation has given up eight earned runs in 39 innings, a 1.85 ERA, while averaging 6.5 innings per start. That's stellar, considering the corresponding figures overall through the end of April were a 6.29 ERA and less than 5.4 innings. Now, clearly a sub-two ERA is not sustainable forever, and we're not going to get two scoreless outings from Bronson Arroyo every week. But it's a lot easier to stay in a game when you're not bleeding runs at an epic rate.

On the offense, things have been driven largely by the twin engines of Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill, who combined to hit .,400 in San Diego and Milwaukee (20-for-50), with four home-runs and 11 RBI over the six games. The continued success of Miguel Montero in the clean-up spot is also good to see, However, Martin Prado had a poor week, going 4-for-26 with no walks or extra-base hits, and Cody Ross apparently continues to struggle from the after-effects of his hip injury.

One other area which continues to give cause for concern is the team's defense. We continue to rack up errors at a horrendous pace, leading to five unearned runs this week. Prado is now up to seven on the season, across all positions - he made only 10 in the entirety of last season - which trails only the Nationals' Ian Desmond among National League players. Our defense of the running game is almost non-existent - we've thrown out three base-stealers to date - and generally, what was a big plus last season, has turned into a liability.

More on that later though, as I crunch the overall defensive metrics so far, to see where the issues have been. For now, here are the pitching and hitting stats to this point, along with the numbers the last time we checked.

Offense

  • BA =  ,252 (5th in NL) - was .245 (9th)
  • OBP = .305 (10th) - was .300 (10th)
  • SLG = ..382 (8th) - was 379 (9th)
  • OPS =  .687 (8th) - was.679 (11th)
  • OPS+ =  90 (8th)  - was 89 (10th)
  • wRC+ = 87 (12th) - was 85 (11th)
  • Runs per game = 3.79 (11th) - was 3.77 (11th)
  • fWAR = 1.9 (12th)  - was 1.0 (11th)
  • fWAR leaders = Paul Goldschmidt (1.6); Miguel Montero (1.0), Chris Owings (0.8)
  • fWAR trailers = Cody Ross (-0.8), Ender Inciarte (-0.4), Tony Campana (-0.3)

Pitching

  • ERA = 4.85 (15th in NL) - was 5.20 (15th)
  • ERA+ = 75 (15th) - was 70 (15th)
  • K/9 = 8.06 (7th) - was 8.19 (7th)
  • BB/9 = 3.22 (3rd) - was 3.38 (2nd)
  • HR/9 = 1.09 (2nd) - was 1.17 (1st)
  • Opp. OPS = .753 (3rd) - was .773 (2nd)
  • xFIP = 3.68 (6th) - was 3.76 (6th)
  • fWAR = 1.5 (11th) - was 0.8 (10th)
  • fWAR leaders = Josh Collmenter (0.3), Brandon McCarthy (0.3), Brad Ziegler (0.2)
  • fWAR trailers = Addison Reed (-0.1), Randall Delgado (0.0), Joe Thatcher (0.0)