Arizona Diamondbacks (7-6) vs Texas Rangers (5-8)
The Rangers have not been very good this year, currently 5th in the AL West. They are coming off of a 3-game series in Seattle where they lost 2 out of 3 to the Mariners. Their pitching has been what has killed them so far, with their opponents scoring an average of 5.08 runs per game. The offense has not been doing a whole lot to pick them up either, scoring 3.92 runs per game, right around league average. It has been lead primarily by Prince Fielder, who is batting .385 this year. Surprisingly, he still has not provided the power he is known for, without a homer up to this point. The Rangers have a lot of guys slumping to start the year, with notable names Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo, and Adrian Beltre all batting below the Uecker line so far. It would be great for the D-backs if this continued.
The D-backs are coming off a great series win, where they won 3 out of 4 against the Giants. They have been very competitive so far, which is all you can really ask for from these guys. The offense has been anchored (surprise surprise) by Paul Goldschmidt, who is tied for the NL lead in homers with 5, and leads the NL in RBIs with 15. Currently their leader in batting average is, you guessed it, Josh Collmenter. If you wanted to go with a guy who has more than 7 ABs though, it would be Jake Lamb who is at a .414 batting average, not too shabby. Another guy who has really been on a tear in the last week is A.J. Pollock, who has an OBP just under .500 with 1 homer and 2 RBIs over that stretch.
The Rangers are loaded with injuries. Obviously, the most notable guy on the list of injured players is Yu Darvish, who won't be back until next year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. Starting pitcher Derek Holland is also on the DL after exiting their game on April 10 in the first inning. Also of note is 1B Mitch Moreland, who was out of the starting lineup April 17-19. He pinch hit in Sunday's game though, so he should be good to go against the D-Backs. If you want to check out all 10 injured Rangers, click on this red text which you are reading right now.
The Diamondbacks still have managed to avoid the injury bug, with no new injuries to report on. A more detailed injury report is right over here.
Rangers long reliever Anthony Bass threw 58 pitches Sunday, so they may want to give him a day of rest on Tuesday. Closer Neftali Feliz might also rest after throwing 46 pitches in Sunday's loss.
Everyone should be good to go for the Dbacks, with nobody throwing more than 12 pitches Sunday and an off day on Monday.
Game 1: Chase Anderson (0-0, 4.09 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) vs Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Chase Anderson is coming off another solid start against the Padres where he allowed 2 runs, 8 hits, and struck out 5 in 6 innings. He's not too special, but he'll go out and get you 6 innings and allow 3 runs, which is all you expect from a #4 guy. Against a Rangers team which is struggling like they are, another start like that should get the job done.
Nick Martinez has been phenomenal this year for Texas. After making 24 starts in his rookie season last year, he has been lights out in 2015, not allowing a single run. It appears that some of this may be due to a very low BABIP which is currently at .214, so let's hope for some regression to the mean. One thing which could be exploited by the Dbacks is that he is an extremely heavy fly ball pitcher, with 47% of batted balls being fly balls. Players like Mark Trumbo should be able to make use of this in the hitter-friendly Chase Field. I'm predicting a lot of runs to be put on the board in this one.
Game 2: Archie Bradley (1-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.87 WHIP) vs Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 3.45 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
Archie Bradley. Wow. The kid has been exceeding all the hype surrounding his rookie season in the MLB, outdueling both Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. Welcome to the show. He has looked dominant over his first two starts, allowing a total of just 5 hits in 12.2 innings. A potential reason for this success is his 74%(!) groundball percentage. In case you're wondering, last year that would have put him at the highest percentage of all qualifiers by 10%, so that is bound to come down eventually. Now for the bad news. Against him, guys have a BABIP of .161. That is INSANE, and that number will rise. We just need to hope this game is not the one it rises in.
Yovani Gallardo has completely destroyed the Dbacks over his career, 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 10 starts. That's pretty scary. Now you may be thinking, alright, this is where he tells me that everything is going to be okay and Gallardo will suck this time around. Nope. In his two starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA. In his last game, he threw 6 shutout innings. And you know what's even scarier? He has a BABIP this year of .375, which is 78 points higher than his career average. If we stick with the regression to the mean theme of this article, well this will be a long day offensively.
Chris Owings earns the title of X-factor this series for the Dbacks. Why? Because after a terrible start to the year, he has been slowly turning it around. On Sunday, he went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and a double. The D-backs need someone to hit in the black hole of offense which are the 6-9 hitters. I have a feeling he will be the guy.
For the Rangers, I'm going with Adrian Beltre. After batting .324 with 19 homers last year, he has done absolutely nothing this year. The Rangers' star third baseman will need to turn around his .151 batting average this series if the Rangers want to get anything going offensively.
D-backs sweep. Score 5 runs or more in each game. The chicken finger gets mentioned a total of 30 times including pre- and post-game stuff in these 2 games. Trumbo hits 2 homers. The more predictions I have the better my chances are of getting one right, right?