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Series Preview #32: Diamondbacks @ Mariners

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The Diamondbacks head to Seattle for 3 games against the disappointing Mariners.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks (46-51) @ Seattle Mariners (46-53)

Could the Diamondbacks be getting back on track? Eh, who knows, this team is so inconsistent. After winning 3 out of 4 against Milwaukee, outscoring them 14-5, the D-Backs trail the Dodgers by 8.5 games for the NL West lead, and are 7.5 out of a wild card spot. The offense has been poor lately, scoring just 3 runs a game over their last 10. A big factor in this lack of offense is the fact that Jake Lamb, Yasmany Tomas, Welington Castillo, and Nick Ahmed are all batting .225 or worse since returning from the all-star break. Unlike the offense, the pitching staff has tore it up, allowing just 16 runs in the last 7 games.

Here's what sbnation's Mariners site, Lookout Landing, had to say about the Mariners entering the season.

Entering year seven of the Jack Zduriencik regime, the Seattle Mariners appear poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. With national expectations through the roof, for once the idea of the Mariners playing for all the marbles doesn't seem like a dream, but a reality.

The Mariners have come nowhere near meeting those national expectations, as they sit in 4th in the AL West, 9.5 games out of the lead. The Mariners have been very okay in their last 10 games, with a 5-5 record over that time span. Seattle is coming off a series win against Toronto, where they scored 5+ runs in each of the 3 games. The offense has been led by offseason acquisition Nelson Cruz, who has been crushing the ball with 24 homers this season. Third baseman Kyle Seager has also been solid for Seattle, holding an OPS of .788. He is also 3rd on the team. What has been a bigger storyline this year is the guy who hasn't performed, Robinson Cano. After a very slow start to the year, he finally appears to be turning things around. Let's hope he can return to that early season form in this series.

Good News
  • The Mariners starting pitching has really struggled lately, with a 5.50 ERA since the all-star break.
  • On the flip side, D-Backs starting pitching has been very good. They have a 3.63 ERA in that same time period.
  • Ender Inciarte has returned strong from injury, batting .389 since his return. It is good to see him out there playing well, giving rest to the other 3 outfielders.

Bad News

  • Robinson Cano has decided to start playing well again. Since the all star break, he has hit 4 homers and has an OPS of 1.163, 10th in the majors over that period.
  • Mark Trumbo has suddenly stopped striking ou- nah who am I kidding he's still a strikeout machine, getting K'd up 1/3 of the time in his last 10 games. I guess this belongs in the good news section, but oh well I had to fit in a Trumbo joke somewhere.
Injury Report

After being hit in the elbow by a pitch in Saturday's game, catcher Welington Castillo did not start on Sunday. He should be good to go for Monday though. Jarrod Saltalamachia is expected to return from the DL on Tuesday, July 28, the earliest he can return. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Oscar Hernandez sent back down to the minors to make room for Salty.

The Mariners just have 2 guys showing up on the injury report, pitchers Charlie Furbush and James Paxton. Both will not be back to play in this series.

Bullpen Status

The Diamondbacks would probably like to avoid using Brad Ziegler on Monday, who has thrown 10+ pitches 3 days in a row. Other than that, everyone should be good to go.

I'd be surprised if the Mariners use Mark Lowe on Monday, who threw 28 pitches Sunday. Everyone else should be available, although most of the 'pen will be tired. 3 guys threw more than 20 pitches on Sunday, and 5 relievers were used Saturday.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Robbie Ray LHP (3-5, 2.72 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) vs Mike Montgomery LHP (4-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)

Ray has been struggling in his last 2 starts, with a 5.59 ERA in those games. He definitely hasn't been helped by BABIP, with that number at .533 and .333 in his last 2 outings. I'd expect a turnaround game from Robbie in this one

Since being called up to replace James Paxton in the rotation, Montgomery has performed very well in his rookie season. Montgomery started off the season with 3 straight quality starts, and after a slight hiccup threw 2 consecutive complete game shutouts. Not bad. His last start was a rough one, where he went just 2.2 innings and allowed 8 runs, 2 of them unearned. Montgomery features 4 pitches, a fastball, cutter, curve, and change. It doesn't look like there's anything too special about him, and the D-Backs should be able to find success against him.

Game 2: Zack Godley RHP (1-0 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP) vs Hisashi Iwakuma RHP (2-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Zack Godley was phenomenal in his first big league start, throwing 6 scoreless innings against the Brewers and striking out 7. Not too shabby for a guy who has just pitched a few games above A-Ball. I have absolutely no idea if he will be able to replicate the success he had in his first start. You're welcome for that expert analysis.

After a rough start to the year followed by injury, Iwakuma has turned his season around with a 3.15 ERA in his 4 starts since returning from injury, very close to his career number. Iwakuma throws 3 different fastballs, a 4-seamer, splitter, and sinker, and will also mix in a slider and curve from time to time. Gotta give the advantage to the Mariners in this one mostly due to the unknown of Godley.

Game 3: Patrick Corbin LHP (1-3, 3.68 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) vs Felix Hernandez RHP (12-5, 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)

After taking a couple starts to get used to pitching in the big leagues again, Corbin returned to his early-2014 form in his last outing, going 7 innings while allowing 1 run and striking out 10. While his pitch limit (which I believe is 90) will limit his ability to go deep into games, he seems to found that dominant form once again. If he wants a chance against King Felix though, he will need to bring stuff like he did last week against Milwaukee.

Felix Hernandez is still Felix Hernandez, which is problematic for anyone facing the Mariners. It feels unnecessary for me to tell you how good he is, so I will just leave you with this video of Hernandez striking out Mike Trout. LOOK AT THE MOVEMENT ON THAT PITCH!!!


X-Factors

For both teams, I'm going with their stars: Paul Goldschmidt and Robinson Cano. Both of these guys are monsters at the plate, and have the ability to completely turn the tide in favor of their team.

Series Prediction

I think the Diamondbacks struggle with the Mariners pitching, and only win one game in this 3 game series.