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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #24: Pitching into problems

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Earlier in the series, we looked at how the D-backs offense was performing so far, compared to previous years. Let's now turn the same lens on our pitching. It's not a pretty sight.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Wacha
RHP, 2-0, 2.82
Rubby De La Rosa
RHP, 2-3, 5.94
Matt Carpenter - 3B Jean Segura - 2B
Stephen Piscotty - CF Jake Lamb - 3B
Matt Holliday - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Brandon Moss - RF David Peralta - RF
Yadier Molina - C Brandon Drury - LF
Matt Adams - 1B Chris Herrmann - C
Jedd Gyorko - 2B Chris Owings - CF
Aledmys Diaz - SS Nick Ahmed - SS
Michael Wacha - RHP Rubby De La Rosa - RHP

Here are the stats for the Diamondbacks pitching staff through 23 games, compared to this point of the season for every year since 1998. As last time, the table is sortable by clicking on the column headers, once for ascending, twice for descending order.

Year W L ERA CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1998 6 17 5.58 2 1 4 196.2 201 122 35 75 120 1.40
1999 12 11 4.23 1 0 4 212.2 194 100 31 98 164 1.37
2000 14 9 4.13 3 2 6 209.1 204 96 29 73 157 1.32
2001 12 11 5.19 3 2 4 204.2 212 118 37 59 168 1.32
2002 15 8 3.99 3 3 6 203.0 189 90 21 56 204 1.21
2003 8 15 4.29 1 1 3 203.1 193 97 23 87 158 1.38
2004 10 13 5.19 1 2 4 208.0 205 120 28 101 193 1.47
2005 14 9 4.30 0 1 12 213.1 225 102 23 80 142 1.43
2006 11 12 4.51 0 2 5 203.2 204 102 21 81 168 1.40
2007 12 11 3.80 0 0 8 208.2 206 88 21 92 167 1.43
2008 17 6 3.00 0 1 7 204.0 168 68 16 75 164 1.19
2009 10 13 4.41 1 3 5 208.0 206 102 24 73 169 1.34
2010 11 12 5.62 0 0 6 205.0 227 128 37 75 163 1.47
2011 10 13 5.05 1 1 5 205.0 221 115 32 77 180 1.45
2012 12 11 4.10 1 1 7 206.1 202 94 26 69 166 1.31
2013 13 10 3.48 0 2 7 217.1 203 84 19 64 194 1.23
2014 5 18 5.69 0 0 5 204.0 221 129 28 87 183 1.51
2015 10 13 4.19 1 2 1 206.0 214 96 20 64 156 1.35
2016 11 12 4.92 0 1 5 215.2 227 118 26 91 176 1.47

That certainly shows the difference between this season and last year, with team ERA being 0.73 runs higher this year That's mostly the result of a 30% increase in the number of home-runs allowed, though the walk-rate is also up significantly, going from 2.80 per nine innings last season, to 3.80 this year. I was a little surprised to see strikeout rate up a bit, to 7.34 per 9IP from 6.82 at this point in 2015. I also note that we are actually posting a lower ERA and have more wins than the Diamondbacks did during the last season they made the playoffs, in 2011. I can't remember if we were as concerned about our pitching at that point.

Of course, the overall number does conceal a significant split. We are ranked 10th overall by ERA, but that position is buoyed considerably by our sixth-place position for bullpen ERA, which at 3.63 is the best in the NL West. If we look at the starting pitching ERA, it's a grim 5.93, which is ahead only of the Colorado Rockies, with the Brewers and Braves the only other teams currently to be above five. If this series against the Cardinals pitted the top two home-run hitting teams in the major leagues, the upcoming one in Coors Field may be even more explosive. The visiting and home pitching staffs there have allowed 36 and 38 runs respectively in their past four games.

And so, we spin the Wheel or shake the Magic 8-Ball of De La Rosa, who was the last Diamondbacks pitcher to give us a quality start. I'll take "Sentences I didn't expect to be saying in April" for $200, please, Alex. The shift of Peralta to center field appears to have been a one-night experiment, with Owings back out there again. No Welington Castillo either behind the plate - this might be a reaction to Herrmann having also caught De La Rosa's last outing, which was easily the best of his season. Fingers crossed we can win, return to .500 and then kick the Rockies while they're down, to escape the month which has lived up its hellish billing.