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Series Preview #30: Diamondbacks vs Marlins

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It would be nice if we could go back to the beginning of the Mets series before the All-Star Break when times were simpler. Sadly, time travel doesn't exist. Lucky for the Diamondbacks, the Marlins are coming to town who I'm sure will be happy to help Arizona turn things around.

We won't be seeing him this series
We won't be seeing him this series
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks (42-48) vs Miami Marlins (38-54)

If you want to sugarcoat things, the Diamondbacks have not been playing their best baseball as of late. If you want to be blunt, the Diamondbacks have completely crapped the bed in the last 2 series. After finally getting to sit at the .500 table, somebody said "hey, you don't belong here", and sent Arizona crashing back to earth. The Diamondbacks have lost 6 in a row, dropping them to 9.5 games behind the Dodgers, and 7 back of a wild card spot. The D-Backs have not been able to combine both pitching and offense in the same game, and are 6 games below .500 because of it. The Diamondbacks haven't had a big problem with putting guys in scoring position, as they had 29 at bats with RISP. Only getting 6 hits in those situations, however, is a problem.

If you thought being swept by the Giants was bad, imagine being swept by the Phillies (wait a second...). Miami cannot be feeling good after this result against the worst team in the majors, though I can't say I'm shocked it happened. Not including Stanton and Gordon-both of whom are out for the series-the Marlins have only one regular starter, Justin Bour, with an OPS+ at or above league average. That is not good. The Marlins are wayyyyyyy out of contention for a playoff spot, and they need to just start looking ahead to next year's draft.

Good News

  • The Diamondbacks are about to play against the Marlins, which is always a good pick-me-up. Other than that, the D-Backs don't deserve any good news. Dwell in your sorrow from the last couple weeks.
Bad News

  • The Marlins actually have average pitching. Their staff has a 3.77 ERA, 14th best in the Majors.
  • The Diamondbacks were outscored 29-17, an average of 2 runs a game in the last 6 games.
Injury Report

Chase Anderson was put on the 15-day DL on Sunday with inflammation in his right tricep. This might explain his poor performances lately, but he's been struggling for so long I doubt that's the problem. As for his replacement, it probably will not be Archie Bradley, who just began playing catch again on Friday. I wouldn't be surprised if Collmenter comes in to take Anderson's next start.

The Marlins will be without their two main offensive threats in this series, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and second baseman Dee Gordon. Stanton is recovering from a hand injury after being hit by a pitch, and Gordon is recovering from a dislocated left thumb. Without these two guys, the Marlins offense is even weaker than it already was, and D-Backs pitchers SHOULD not have any problems with Miami. When it comes to the D-Backs though, this is much easier said than done. Also worth noting is that pitcher Mat Latos was scratched from his July 11 start after being hit in the right foot by a foul ball. This is his driving foot off the rubber, and we may see his power affected.

Bullpen Status

The Diamondbacks bullpen is going to be gassed, after pitching a total of 17.1 innings in the Giants series. Randall Delgado probably won't pitch Monday after throwing 28 pitches on Sunday. Everybody else should be available, but nobody other than the recently recalled Matt Stites will be very fresh.

Everyone in the Marlins bullpen should be available for Monday's game.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Rubby de la Rosa RHP (6-5, 5.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) vs David Phelps RHP (4-5, 3.86 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Mr. Inconsistency continues his run, with a 7.53 ERA in his last 3 starts. The 3 starts before that, he had a 0.82 ERA. The three starts before that... well you get the picture. The key factor seems to be home runs. In the three horrible starts, he allowed a total of 6 starts. In the three great ones, he allowed one total homer. If you want somebody to tell you which de la Rosa will appear, I don't know go ask your magic 8-ball.

Phelps has gone back and forth between the bullpen and rotation, and has done pretty well in both roles. We saw him once earlier this year, where he gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings, picking up the loss. He has been good at avoiding both the longball (7 allowed all year) and walks (no more than 3 allowed in a game). I'd expect 5-6 inning, 2-3 run outing from him.

Game 2: Jeremy Hellickson RHP (6-5, 5.04 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs Mat Latos RHP (3-6, 4.90 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

Hellickson has been very okay this season going out and eating innings for the Diamondbacks. Whether or not this is satisfactory is for you to decide. In this game, the offense will definitely need to do their part for Arizona to have a chance.

Latos has been pretty good this year, despite what his ERA would tell you. That number is slightly inflated by a couple of terrible starts this year. He's been on a pretty good run lately, with a 2.08 ERA in his last 2 starts. He throws all sorts of pitches, including 3 fastballs, a slider, curve, and changeup. I'd give the pitching advantage to Miami in this game.

Game 3: Robbie Ray LHP (3-4, 2.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) vs Jose Fernandez RHP (2-0, 2.37 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)

The only problem (a small one) I've had with Robbie Ray is how deep he goes into games, having entered the 8th just one time. Other than that, he's been the best pitcher in the Diamondbacks rotation. In his last start, he pitched ok ay, going 5 innings and giving up 2 runs. I'd expect his longest start of the year against a weak Miami offense in this one.

Jose Fernandez is without a doubt back. He has been fantastic, doing basically everything right. 10 Ks per 9, half a walk per 9, and just 1 home run allowed makes him look good in the eyes of the sabermetrician, the 2.37 ERA makes him look good to your old-school guy, and the 95 MPH fastball along with a sweet curve and change make him look good to anyone watching. Advantage Marlins.

Series Prediction

Even though I actually like the Marlins pitching over Arizona in 2 games, their offense is just so bad that Arizona's pitching should be able to do enough to get the job done. Arizona wins 2 out of 3.