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Series Preview #35: Diamondbacks vs Reds

Will the Diamondbacks sizzle and sweep the series with the Reds?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

C’est baseball avec Reds, partie un!

Cincinati Reds (48-58)

@ Arizona Diamondbacks (52-55)

Bonjour! I am cheered by improvement of our pitchers that reflect my positive view of the Diamondbacks’ future. So I say, "Joie de vivre Diamondbacks!" Robbie Ray pitches very well. Rubby De La Rosa has a high ceiling, albeit with inconsistency. Patrick Corbin improves every two weeks. When Chase Anderson, who pitches well, went on the DL, Zack Godley pitched 3 great games which showed he is ready to be in the Diamondbacks’ rotation! And the bullpen is great – Zeigler, Perez, Chafin, Hernandez, Hudson, Collmenter. And Addison Reed returned from the minors with the right stuff! That improvement, although I expected it, has strengthened the bullpen. The Diamondbacks have greatly strengthened their pitching weaknesses to the point that, in my opinion they are only one starting ace away from competing for the post season in 2016.

Diamondback pitching improvement contrasts with the Reds, who recently traded away their best two pitchers, Johnnny Cueto and Mike Leake. In August, the D’Backs play the Reds twice – a 3-game series at home, followed in two weeks by a 4-game series away. Let’s look at the first series.


We’ve talked about pitching, so what about offense? Diamondback offense is high energy! In the National League, they rank second in stolen bases and first in sacrifice flies.The Diamondbacks average 4.4 runs per game, while the Reds average 4.0 runs per game. That advantage is balanced out by a few Red hitters who have been blazing hot in the last seven days.

In the last 7 days, the Reds had three blazing hitters: Brandon Phillips(7RBIs, .625 BA), Marlin Byrd (5 RBIs, .633 BA), and Jay Bruce (5 RBIs, .400 BA).

In the last 7 days, the D’Backs had three blazing hitters: Welington Castillo(5 RBIs, .440 BA), Jarrod Saltalamacchia(4 RBIs, .429 BA), and Jake Lamb(4RBIs, .348 BA). Paul Goldschmidt’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. Pollock, Venom Strikes hitter of the month in July, is back after his hamstring tightness.


In the last two weeks, the Deserved Run Average (DRA) improved for Patrick Corbin and Rubby De La Rosa. Robbie Ray retains the top spot. Zack Godley joins the list for a one-time appearance. I am confident he will return in September or next season.

Let's look at the current five starting pitchers’ DRAs, ERAs, and Shoewizard’s AVG-WAR.

Robbie Ray 3.09 3.01 1.5
Chase Anderson 3.92 4.37 0.9
Zack Godley TBD 1.5 0.6
Rubby De La Rosa 4.61 4.56 0.5
Jeremy Hellickson 5.15 5.06 0.5
Patrick Corbin 5.27 3.99 0.3

Let’s look at the pitching matchups.

Friday. Chase Anderson (3.92 DRA, 4.37 ERA) vs Raisal Iglesias (4.85 DRA, 5.13 ERA).

This season is Raisal Iglesias’s first in the majors. On Saturday, he pitched 6.2 innings and allowed 2 earned runs. His DRA/ERA makes me think bottom of rotation pitcher.

This would have been Zack Godley’s fourth start in the majors, except it was decided to limit his season pitch count and option him to AA Mobile. I look forward to his return because he very much impressed me in his first three starts. Chase Anderson returns from the DL to start this game. Although Chase Anderson may not complete more than 5 innings, I predict he will pitch well.

Saturday. Robbie Ray (3.09 DRA, 3.01 ERA) vs Keyvius Sampson (TBD DRA, 4.50 ERA).

In Keyvius Sampson’s first start in the majors, he allowed 3 earned runs in 5 innings. This game will be his second start. Will he improve or suffer a setback against the Diamondback hitters?

Robbie Ray struggled in his last game on Sunday (4 earned runs in 5 innings). It was the third time he has allowed 4 earned runs in his 12 starts this season. Because he will pitch with an extra day rest I feel confident he will bounce back. This matchup favors the Diamondbacks.

Sunday. Patrick Corbin (5.27 DRA, 3.99 ERA) vs Anthony Sclafani (3.91 DRA, 3.71 ERA).

This season is Anthony Sclafani’s second in the majors. Tuesday, he pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 earned runs. In nine out of his 21 games this season, he has allowed 3 earned runs or more. I am confident that the Diamondbacks hitters can make that ten games.

Patrick Corbin is stronger and better every game. His DRA has shown steady improvement every two weeks. Although he had a difficult inning after a rain delay, he will get back on track this game. I predict this game will be high scoring and the Diamondbacks will win.

Recent Impact Players

The Diamondbacks continue to win close games! Batters with 2 or more RBIs in close games were Chris Owings, Jake Lamb, Yasmany Tomas, and David Peralta. Zack Godley pitched 6 innings with zero earned runs against the Brewers and again against the Nationals. Rubby De La Rosa pitched 8 innings with zero earned runs against the Brewers. Jeremy Hellickson pitched 6 innings with zero earned runs against the Brewers. Robbie Ray pitched 7 innings with two earned runs against the Mariners. Daniel Hudson and Addison Reed each pitched 2 innings in relief with zero earned runs.

Special recognition is given to Oliver Perez for making 23 appearances after 1 June, facing 55 batters, without allowing an earned run, an extra-base hit, or a stolen base. Another plus is only 3 of 24 inherited runners scored. I tip my hat to Jim McLennan for bringing Oliver Perez to my attention.

Pythagorean Projection

Based on wins so far, and projecting future games based on runs scored and allowed the Diamondbacks are on pace for 79.8 wins this season. This is more upbeat than two weeks ago (76.8 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 sweep this series.

Food of the Series

In 1860, Cincinnati was known as Porkopolis because of its pig processing industry. If history had been different, the Diamondbacks would be playing the Porkopolis Reds! In my imagination, their mascot would be a hog, with plenty of squeaking and oinking!

Pigs provide us with a most savory meat - bacon!! Bacon complements almost any food. You can start the day with bacon and eggs, savor a BLT sandwich for lunch, and enjoy a cobb salad with extra crispy bacon for dinner! With enthusiasm, the food of the series is bacon!

An early literary reference to bacon was in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Falstaff said, "…bacon-fed knaves! they hate us youth: down with them: fleece them…" Do Cincinnati baseball players eat bacon? Yes! I say to the Diamondbacks, "Bacon-fed Reds doth destain our developing debut players. Steal their sizzle! Seize the series!"