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Series Preview #39: Diamondbacks vs Reds

Will the Diamondbacks snare a series win?

Relief pitcher Andrew Chafin on the mound
Relief pitcher Andrew Chafin on the mound
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

C’est baseball avec Reds, partie deux!

Arizona Diamondbacks (58-61)

@ Cincinnati Reds (51-67)

Bonjour! Let’s refresh our memory of the first series with the Reds. The Reds were lucky to avoid being swept for two reasons. First, the Diamondbacks would normally score twice as many runs per game. Second the Reds hit three home runs in one game which is mighty unusual for any team. Home runs were hit by Phillips and Byrd, who have cooled off in the last two weeks. I refuse to believe the Reds have any luck left. I am confident the Diamondbacks will win this four game series in Cincinnati!

Offense

Monday was black cat appreciation day. I very much appreciate our Diamondback rally cats, be they black or otherwise. In this series, the Reds send fur four rookie pitchers to the mound as starters. I see an opportunity to take advantage of our rally cats! The Diamondback offense (4.5 runs per game) is seriously better than the Reds offense (3.9 runs per game). That advantage will overcome a few hot Red hitters.

In the last 8 days, the Reds had three hot hitters: Joey Votto (8 RBIs, .387 BA), Eugenio Suarez (6 RBIs, .286 BA), and Todd Frazier(5 RBIs, .273 BA).

In the last 8 days, the Diamondbacks had three blazing hot hitters: David Peralta (9 RBI, .320 BA), Paul Goldschmidt(8 RBI, .267 BA), and Jeremy Hellickson (4 RBI, .600 BA).

Pitching

In the last two weeks, the Deserved Run Average (DRA) improved for Jeremy Hellickson and Patrick Corbin. Robbie Ray has not pitched as well in August. He allowed 3 or more earned runs each game, and increased his ERA with each game. Nevertheless, he retains the top spot. Let's look at the current five starting pitchers’ DRAs, ERAs, and Shoewizard’s AVG-WAR.

pitcher DRA ERA AVG WAR
Robbie Ray 4.18 3.38 1.5
Chase Anderson 4.44 4.51 1.0
Patrick Corbin 4.56 3.43 0.7
Rubby De La Rosa 4.84 4.40 0.8
Jeremy Hellickson 4.94 4.60 0.8

Let’s look at the pitching matchups.

Thursday. John Lamb (6.69 DRA, 7.50 ERA) vs Patrick Corbin (4.56 DRA, 3.43 ERA).

This game is John Lamb’s second game in the majors. In his first, he pitched 6 innings and allowed 5 earned runs. Will it feel like batting practice for the league-leading Diamondback hitters?

Against the Braves, Patrick Corbin pitched his best of the season – 6.2 innings zero earned runs, 8 strike outs. As he continues to get better and stronger each game, Diamondbacks should win this game.

Friday. David Holmberg (6.53 DRA, 5.95 ERA) vs Rubby De La Rosa (4.84 DRA, 4.40 ERA).

In December 2013, David Holmberg was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Reds, as part of a three way trade to dump Heath Bell. Although all the Reds’ starting pitchers are rookies, David Holmberg is the youngest. In his last appearance he pitched 2 innings with 7 earned runs allowed.

Much has been said about Rubby De La Rosa’s unpredictability. However, in his last six games, when he left the game the Diamondbacks were either ahead by 2 runs (thrice) or down by 1 run (thrice). Recently, he has consistently kept the Diamondbacks in the game with winning chances!

Saturday. Anthony DeSclafani (4.02 DRA, 3.72 ERA) vs Jeremy Hellickson (4.94 DRA, 4.60 ERA).

With Cueto and Leake traded away, Anthony DeSclafani is the Red’s "Ace" pitcher. Not bad for a 25 year old with rookie status.

Jeremy Hellickson’s last two games against the Phillis and the Pirates have been outstanding, with no earned runs allowed. Jeremy Hellickson is tough, too. Steve Gilbert reported that Jeremy Hellickson was sick when he started against the Pirates, and was so dehydrated after the game that he was hooked up to an IV to replenish his fluids.

Jeremy Hellickson has something in common with Matt Harvey, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Harvey, and Francisco Liriano – they are all pitchers who have 7 RBIs this season. That toughness and maybe another RBI may win this game.

Sunday. Raisel Iglesias (4.28 DRA, 4.21 ERA) vs TBD.

Raisel Iglesias has many arm angles and pitches. That variety can cause control problems. Wrong pitch locations could be just what the Diamondback hitters need to display their hitting talent.

The bad news is that the Rockies, Brewers, Giants, Phillis, and Pirates have figured out Chase Anderson. The good news is last series against the Reds, his stuff was Kryptonite. Nevertheless he was optioned to the minors, and the Reds will face a different starting pitcher.

Who will pitch this game? Will he show he is ready for next season? It would be exciting if Aaron Blair is promoted to the majors! It would be a nice surprise if Archie Bradley is ready to return! It would be thrilling if a trade is about to be announced. Looking at the 40-man roster, Allen Webster and A.J Shugel are possible starters. Looking at the bullpen, Josh Collmenter could start - the simplest possibility.

Recent Impact Players

The Diamondbacks won a couple close games against the Reds! Chase Anderson pitched 7 innings with zero earned runs. Chris Owings hit the unforgettable walk off single in the 10th.

Special recognition is given to Andrew Chafin for making 17 appearances after 9 July, facing 65 batters, without allowing an earned run, an extra-base hit, or a stolen base. Only 1 of 8 inherited runners scored. The multiple exposure photo was taken in April when Chafin pitched 2.1 hitless innings against the Pirates. On 18 August, Chafin again pitched 2 hitless innings against the Pirates.

Pythagorean Projection

Based on wins so far, and projecting future games based on runs scored and allowed the Diamondbacks are on pace for 80.6 wins this season. This is slightly better than two weeks ago (79.8 wins).

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

Food of the Series

In 1154, Al Idrisi wrote, "The Book of Roger," which was a description of the world for king Roger. It has the first written reference to spaghetti. The Sicilian town of Trabia made wheat pasta shaped in long strands (spaghetti!) and widely exported it.

In the 1800s, spaghetti with tomato sauces became popular in France and Italy. Italian tomato sauces evolved into bolognese, pomodoro, and puttanesca. The cook’s sauce is what makes spaghetti special!

Immigrants to Cincinnati from Greece created a truly memorable spaghetti sauce. It is called Cincinnati Chili! Just imagine spaghetti with a sauce including chocolate, cloves, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Cooking it "three-way" means adding grated cheddar cheese! Spaghetti with Cincinnati Chili, topped with grated cheddar cheese, is the food of the series!