Arizona Diamondbacks (12-15) @ Miami Marlins (12-12)
Getting swept by a team is never good. Being swept by the Rockies is even worse. Being outscored 20-5 while getting swept by the Rockies is even... well you get the picture. Twas not a fun weekend, and judging by the Dbacks' Twitter mentions (or any comments section on this website), many have given up on the team. A trip to Miami to play the Marlins is generally a good opportunity for a bounce-back, but they have been hot lately, winning 7 of their last 8.
State of the Marlins
Like mentioned above, the Marlins have been tearing it up, with a 7 game winning streak heading into Sunday's loss against the Brewers. They have not been blowing anybody out, with an average margin of victory of 2 on the winning streak, but a winning streak is a winning streak. The key to that stretch was pitching: their opponent was able to put up more than 3 runs only twice during the 7 games. The last game they played was a doozy though, a 14-5 loss against Milwaukee. Hopefully that continues into the week.
When you look at the line-up, Giancarlo Stanton is obviously the name that sticks out at you. He's done his usual thing, with 8 home runs and a slugging percentage of .582. I see no reason to give him anything good to hit this series: first baseman Justin Bour generally bats behind Stanton, and he has a triple slash of .268/.329/.465. He's pretty good, but I'd much rather pitch to him than Stanton. Other guys leading the offense include young outfielder Christian Yelich (.471 OBP) and former Diamondback Martin Prado (.395 AVG). Apparently he has figured out how not to hit into double plays every other at-bat.
- Brandon Drury is really coming around, with a batting average of .350 and 5 home runs in his last 12 games. He can play 4 different positions, so expect to continue seeing him in the line-up a lot.
- In the last two weeks, every starting position player has a wRC+ above league average, except for Ahmed and Peralta.
- Nick Ahmed is batting .066 with no extra base hits in his last 14 games. I don't care if he fields every ball on the left side of the field, he has to do better than 3-for-45 at the plate.
- In the last 7 days, D-Backs pitchers have an ERA of 6.85. The Marlins, on the other hand, have an ERA of 2.71 in that span.
This isn't an injury, but Dee Gordon was suspended a couple days ago for PED use. Interesting read about that whole situation here. Apparently reliever Carter Capps had Tommy John surgery this offseason, which makes me really sad that we won't get to see his crazy delivery. In case you've forgotten:
Josh Collmenter is supposed to come back this week, and boy do we need him to.
Game 1: Patrick Corbin LHP (1-3, 4.88 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) vs Justin Nicolino LHP (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP in one start this year)
Corbin has been very hit or miss this year, with two dominant starts and 3 mediocre ones. After being very good in 2013 and 2015, what's going on this year? The number that jumps out is the percentage of pitches swung at outside the strike zone. His career O-Swing % is 34%, but this year it is way down to 25%. He has struggled to get guys to chase pitches outside the zone, and has gotten himself into more hitters' count this year than in the past.
Nicolino's first start of the year came last week against the Dodgers, where he threw 7.1 innings of shutout baseball. Not bad for a season debut. This is his second year in the majors, after coming in at a 4.01 ERA in 12 starts during his big league time last year. One odd stat with Nicolino is his home/away splits: he has a career ERA of 2.70 on the road, but has a 4.93 ERA in the pitcher friendly Marlins Park. Advantage D-Backs.
Game 2: Rubby de la Rosa RHP (3-3, 4.18 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) vs Jose Fernandez RHP (2-2, 4.08 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Rubby has dominated in his last 2 starts, pitching a total of 13 innings, allowing 1 run, 5 hits, and striking out 16. I like the idea of matching him up against Fernandez. Other than Greinke, he is the most likely guy in the rotation to go out and give you that dominant performance needed to beat Fernandez.
Despite having an astounding 12.56 K/9 rate, Fernandez is yet go have the success he has usually had early on in his career. In 5 starts, he still has not gotten an out in the 7th inning or later. According to his FIP of 2.30, 7th in the majors, Fernandez has just been getting unlucky on balls put in play. He should return to top form soon. Advantage Marlins
Game 3: Robbie Ray LHP (1-1, 4.97 ERA, 1.70 WHIP) vs Adam Conley LHP (1-1, 3.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
After being the most consistent D-Backs pitcher in his first two starts, Ray has been lit up in his last two outings. He has given up a total of 10 runs in 7 innings, including 4 homers in his last start. A potential problem for him is throwing first pitch strikes. In his first 3 starts, he went up 0-1 on the batter about 55% of the time. In his last two starts, he's thrown a first pitch strike only 39% of the time. He can't continue getting into these hitters' counts so early in the at-bat.
Conley's last start saw him pitch a no-hitter through 7.2 innings before getting pulled due to pitch count. Up until that point though, he had been pretty mediocre. Weird stat on Conley: during his career, lefties have batted .310 against him, while righties have batted .229. Pretty big reverse split there.
Keys to the Series
- Starting pitching: the D-Backs starters have not given the offense much of a chance to win games lately
- Brad Ziegler: can he bounce back from his rough outing on Saturday?
- Paul Goldschmidt: he still hasn't looked like the player we've come to know
D-Backs win 2 out of 3.