Arizona Diamondbacks (15-18)
@ Philadelphia Phillies(12-23)
In 1946, Edith Grace Houghton was hired as the first female scout in Major League baseball. Over the next four years, her team’s record improved from 69 wins to 91 wins, and her team became National League champs. Jumping to the present, it is likely that same team needs more scouts like her. That team is the Phillies.
The Phillies are in a rebuilding year. They are worst in the National League in hitting and near-worst in pitching. They have the worst run differential (-65) in both National League and American League. This contrasts with the Diamondback run differential of +13. I’m getting my broom out of the garage and putting it where I can see it.
How bad is it to be a Philly fan? When players do well (Cole Hamels), the fans talk about trading them. When players do poorly (Chase Utley with BABIP of .115, OPS of .417), the fans despair. This snarky fanpost shows a depth of despair the Diamondbacks left behind last year. This is an opportunity for the Diamondback fans to show some class! Star players of the Diamondback future are playing and developing this year!
The Phillies rank last in the National League in runs per game, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and homeruns per game. On the positive side, Ryan Howard leads the team with 6 home runs and 15 RBIs.
The Diamondbacks offense has recovered from being swept by the Dodgers. The leaders are Paul Goldschmidt with 9 home runs and 28 RBIs, Mark Trumbo with 6 home runs and 19 RBIs, and David Peralta with 4 home runs and 14 RBIs.
Baseball Prospectus has introduced a new pitching metric, Deserved Run Average(DRA). Let’s look at DRA and ERA for the Diamondback starting pitchers.
DIAMONDBACK STARTING PITCHERS
|De La Rosa||4.11||4.50|
While the Phillies pitching ranks near the bottom of the National league, the Diamondback pitching has ranked near the middle. Let’s see if that advantage is reflected in the pitching matchups.
Friday. Chase Anderson (3.55 DRA, 2.97 ERA) vs Chad Billingsly (unknown DRA, 9.0 ERA).
This season, Chad Billingsly has allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings pitched. This game is a Diamondback opportunity! Against San Diego, Chase Anderson only allowed 1 run in seven innings. If he can do that again against the Phillies, Diamondbacks will likely win with a very safe margin.
Saturday. Archie Bradley (3.52 DRA, 1.8 ERA) vs Jerome Williams (5.49 DRA, 5.21 ERA).
Archie Bradley! I am looking forward to Archie Bradley's return! Will he be at his best? He will pitch against Jerome Williams. Jerome Williams pitched in the majors for five years, and then pitched in the minors for 3 years. In 2011, he celebrated his comeback to the majors! This matchup looks favorable for the Diamondbacks.
Sunday. Josh Collmenter (5.17 DRA, 5.27 ERA) vs Sean O'Sullivan (4.56 DRA, 5.06 ERA).
This season, Sean O'Sullivan has allowed 9 earned runs in 16 innings pitched. Although the official Diamondback website showed Josh Collmenter, another reliable website showed Rubby De La Rosa as probable starter. This pitching matchup is closer than the first two games of this series. On 11 May against the Nationals, Josh Collmenter allowed 9 earned runs in 1.1 innings pitched, so a win in this game would be a confidence builder.
When the Diamondbacks win a close game, I subjectively identify the players who made the biggest impact. After two weeks of no close wins, the Diamondbacks won a close game on 10 May against San Diego. Daniel Hudson started that game. In the first three innings his stuff was "electric." He set the tone for a game that the Diamondbacks won 2-1. Although he loaded the bases in the fourth, no damage was done. Daniel Hudson is the most recent impact player.
Based on wins so far, and projecting future games based on runs scored and allowed, the Diamondbacks are on pace for 84.5 wins this season. That is a very satisfactory number! All things considered, I’m sticking with my optimistic prediction of 78 wins this season.
In two weeks I will relook at this projection. Meanwhile, the upcoming series against the Phillies will be well worth watching, and I predict our Diamondbacks will sweep the Phillies.
Food of the Series
Soft pretzels date back to 7th-century France. The Pennsylvania Dutch introduced them to Philadelphia. Philadelphia vendors sold them on street corners. Who can resist the alluring curves, salty exterior, and soft inside? Even more appetizing is a pretzel topped with Philadelphia cream cheese! This exciting series is your opportunity to invite that mysterious woman, or your girlfriend, or your wife to share a soft pretzel with you. In French, you could whisper, "Je suis bon, nous sommes bons." Who knows what could happen when you tell her how much you are in awe of a curvy soft pretzel!