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Series Preview #31: Diamondbacks vs Brewers

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The losing streak was painful. The Diamondbacks pushed themselves to play baseball the right way because that is what they do. The streak is over. Let's watch the team build character!

Photo taken 20 July 2015 - when De La Rosa helped break Diamondbacks losing streak
Photo taken 20 July 2015 - when De La Rosa helped break Diamondbacks losing streak
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Brewers (42-53)

@ Arizona Diamondbacks (43-50)

Last week I had laryngitis and my throat hurt. Several times I pushed myself to ride my bike, because that is what I do. After much pain, my laryngitis is over! I saw similarities between my illness and the Diamondbacks’ losing streak.

The losing streak was painful. The Diamondbacks pushed themselves to play baseball the right way because that is what they do. The streak is over. Let's watch the team build character!

Brewers trade rumors are plentiful – 7 of their 8 starting position players, and 3 of their starting pitchers have been mentioned as trade possibilities. Their GM, Doug Melvin has talked about trades. Have they packed their bags "just in case?" I predict the number of Brewers traded in July will exceed the number of Diamondbacks traded.

Offense

Brewers are scoring 4.1 runs per game. Their best two hitters are Gerardo Parra (OPS+ of 135) and Adam Lind (OPS+ of 142). Their under the radar hitter is Hernan Perez (OPS+ of 128)who starts for Scooter Gennett (OPS+ of 95)every few games. The better hitting is balanced by doubling the errors per inning played.

Diamondbacks are scoring 4.4 runs per game, and lead the National League in runs scored. Paul Goldschmidt has an unreal OPS+ of 188. Welington Castillo has a great OPS+ of 128. David Peralta has an OPS+ of 127. A.J Pollock has an OPS+ of 123.

Pitching

In the last two weeks, the Deserved Run Average (DRA) improved for Patrick Corbin. Robbie Ray retains the top spot. Although Zack Godley will pitch for Chase Anderson who is on the DL, I kept Anderson in the list anticipating his return.

Recently, Shoewizard proposed a new pitching statistic, AVG-WAR. Let's look at the current five starting pitchers’ DRAs, ERAs, and AVG-WAR

pitcher DRA ERA AVG WAR
Robbie Ray 2.78 2.72 1.4
Chase Anderson 3.92 4.37 0.9
Jeremy Hellickson 4.73 4.87 0.7
Rubby De La Rosa 4.73 4.83 0.3
Patrick Corbin 6.30 4.80 0.0

The Brewers pitchers rank 12th in the National League, while the Diamondbacks pitchers rank 13th. This near equality is encouraging! Let’s look at the pitching matchups.

Thursday. Zack Godley vs Mike Fiers(4.19 DRA, 3.79 ERA).

Both pitchers are late bloomers! Mike Fiers pitched 2 innings in the majors in 2011, and his rookie season was 2012 at age 27. He had 3 hits and 2 RBIs his rookie season.

Zack Godley is jumping from pitching 3 games at the AA level to the majors at age 25! Even more remarkable is that in 2015 he changed to a starting pitcher. He has started 15 games in the minors - enough to start blooming and crack the majors! Which late bloomer will smell the victory?

Friday. Patrick Corbin (6.30 DRA, 4.80 ERA) vs Jimmy Nelson(3.98 DRA, 4.29 ERA).

The Diamondbacks won on 29 May with Jimmy Nelson pitching. It was an unusual game – Goldschmidt got 3 hits without an RBI, the Diamondbacks were 1 for 13 with RISP, and the winning pitcher was Addison Reed.

Patrick Corbin’s latest game was the best of the three he has pitched this year (5 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 strike outs). Win or lose, this game will not be boring.

Saturday. Rubby De La Rosa (4.73 DRA, 4.83 ERA) vs Taylor Jungmann(2.52 DRA, 2.04 ERA).

Taylor Jungmann was called up to the majors on June 9th. This is his rookie season at age 25. He is pitching well - his ERA is 2.04.

De La Rosa, is fresh off his win on Monday, which broke the Diamondbacks six game streak. De La Rosa, age 26, has pitched in the majors since 2011. Experience is worth a lot, so I predict the Diamondbacks win this game.

Sunday. Jeremy Hellickson(4.73 DRA, 4.87 ERA) vs Matt Garza(5.37 DRA, 5.23 ERA).

Before hitting the DL, Matt Garza allowed between 4 and 7 earned runs in 4 games. Tuesday was his first game after the DL. He did well – 6 innings with zero earned runs allowed.

In Jeremy Hellickson’s last game, he allowed 2 earned runs in 7 innings. Hellickson will keep the game close and give the Diamondback offense a chance to win the game.

Recent Impact Players

On 20 July, Rubby De La Rosa pitched 7 innings with one earned run allowed, AND Rubby hit an RBI! Wow! Nevertheless, that win was a team effort. David Peralta hit 2 RBIs. Brad Ziegler pitched 1.2 innings without allowing 2 inherited runners to score, while allowing zero earned runs, and earned his 15th save.

Pythagorean Projection

Based on wins so far, and projecting future games based on runs scored and allowed the Diamondbacks are on pace for 76.8 wins this season. This projection is less upbeat than two weeks ago.

In two weeks I will relook at this projection. Meanwhile, the upcoming series against the Brewers will be well worth watching, and I predict our Diamondbacks will win 2 games in this series.

Food of the Series

Thursday is National Hot Dog Day! Hot dogs are an American food! Hot dogs are different than frankfurters, wieners, and dachshund dogs because they are spiced differently. And, most importantly, they are different because of the name "hot dog." An NPR article said that a Coney Island vendor named Thomas Francis Xavier Morris first coined "hot dog" in 1892. His nick name was "Hot Dog Morris." Morris was a black man who came to the United States from the Caribbean.

In 1893, hot dogs (without buns which were introduced in 1904) were first served in baseball games for the St. Louis Browns(which became the St. Louis Cardinals) at the "New" Sportsman Park. The stadium was unique because distant right field was an open beer garden, in which balls remained in play when they were hit that far. Like drinking beer, eating hot dogs is part of the traditional baseball experience.

Many interesting versions of hot dogs are served at baseball stadiums. At Chase field, the varieties include D-bat dog, Sonoran dog and Venom dog. And for dessert, the churro dog is amazing. Like the Diamondbacks, they are doggone good!