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Game #33 Preview: 5/13, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals

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After 32 runs in the first two games, it's probably not going to be a pitching duel this afternoon at Chase Field...

D-backs fandom reacts to the news it's a Hellickson start.
D-backs fandom reacts to the news it's a Hellickson start.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Gio Gonzalez
LHP, 3-2, 3.62
Jeremy Hellickson
RHP, 1-3, 5.85
Denard Span - CF Ender Inciarte - LF
Yunel Escobar - 3B Mark Trumbo - RF
Jayson Werth - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Bryce Harper - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Aaron Hill - 3B
Ian Desmond - SS Chris Owings - 2B
Jose Lobaton - C Jordan Pacheco - C
Danny Espinosa - 2B Nick Ahmed - SS
Gio Gonzalez - LHP Jeremy Hellickson - RHP

Yeah, calling Chase Field "hitter friendly" hasn't quite done it justice the past couple of days, with Arizona scoring 15 times, and the Nationals 17. The overall ERA at Chase has risen to 4.60 as a result, which trails only - and this is your unsurprised face - Coors Field's 5.12 in the National League. However, there is an element of over-production going on, in that the OPS here is .757, which seems relatively sane. It's lower than both Turner Field and Dodger Stadium, for example, although both those parks have ERA lower than Chase (4.40 and 3.94 respectively). Maybe Chase is particularly hitter-friendly with RISP?

It has also been fairly even-handed in its treatment of pitchers, with not much of an obvious split between left-handed and right-handed pitchers: .755 and .763 OPSs respectively. In our division, Coors and AT&T Park also exhibit little or no preference, but that's less the case in San Diego, where lefties have an OPS 32 points higher, and certainly not in Los Angeles. There, right-handed pitchers have a .796 OPS, but its much more friendly to left-handed pitchers, with a .660 OPS. You may thing it's because those pitching there include Clayton Kershaw, who will tend to make any park look pitcher friendly, but Kershaw's OPS at home is an underwhelming .754 so far.

With Hellickson starting for the Diamondbacks this afternoon at Chase, it seems quite possible the ERA - at least on the home team's side - will continue to climb. I've been thoroughly underwhelmed by his appearances since joining Arizona, and I think it's likely only a matter of time before younger, cheaper and better alternatives are moved into the rotation. I suppose there's always hope, but Gonzalez has been solid more often than not of late, and you can't say that about Hellickson. He has cracked a Game Score of 50 once this season; Gonzalez has four such outings. That's why we're 1-5 when Hellickson starts; 14-12 when he doesn't.