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Series Preview: Diamondbacks vs Phillies

The D-Backs welcome the Phillies to Chase Field to begin a nice, long homestand

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks (36-42) vs Philadelphia Phillies (32-45)

After going 7-3 on their road trip, the Diamondbacks are bringing some good vibes back to Chase Field with them. After some dominant pitching in the first 5 games led the team to 5 straight wins, it was the offense that came alive over the weekend. The team scored 29 runs in a 4 game series at Coors Field, which I’d imagine is one of the largest run totals they’ve put up in a 4 game stretch. The D-Backs have a good chance to keep the momentum going here, playing a Phillies team that they just outscored 22-5 in a 4 game sweep. The games probably won’t be so lopsided this time around, though I don’t see Philadelphia putting up much of a fight. Remember though, the D-Backs do have a reputation of coming out flat and losing very winnable games.

State of the Phillies

The Phillies are 6-19 in June. That is equal to a .240 winning percentage, which would result in a 39 win season if a team had that winning percentage over an entire season. That’s kind of a problem. 5 of the Phillies 8 leaders in plate appearances have an OPS+ lower than 75, so more than half of the starting lineup are way below league average hitters. If you really want to get an idea of how badly things are going though, well, you might want to brace yourself for this one. Jeremy Hellickson is 4th on the team in WAR. Yes, Hellickson is a better pitcher this season, but still. It’s not good when he cracks your top 5 in WAR. Anyways, let’s take a look at some individual players.

The two guys on offense you have to look out for are Odubel Herrera and to a lesser extent Cameron Rupp. Herrera has an on base percentage of almost .400, but the good news is he’s not much of a power threat. Cameron Rupp is nothing special, but is the only other starter above league average on the team. Everyone else on the team... meh. Nothing to fear.

Good News
  • The D-Backs have actually been fun to watch lately. The offense has been fantastic, the pitching had been good for a while up until the Coors Field buzzsaw, and they have a lot of momentum heading into the homestand. They’re also playing a team which they just destroyed, so this should be a fun series to watch.
Bad News
  • For as much as I’ve been bagging on the Phillies, the offense has actually been pretty good lately. The team has a triple slash of .294/.347/.514 in the last 7 days.
  • The D-Backs bullpen has been completely terrible over the past week, with a 5.93 ERA in that time span.
Injury Report.

Nobody looks to be coming back for this series on the Arizona side. Socrates Brito has a week and a half left on his DL stint, Chris Owings had his rehab delayed a little when experiencing some soreness in his foot on Sunday, and David Peralta is yet to resume baseball activities.

Phillies starting pitcher Vincent Velasquez is set to make his first start since early June after going on the DL with a biceps injury

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Robbie Ray LHP (4-6, 4.59 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) vs Vincent Velasquez RHP (5-2, 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)

By now, you know as well as I do what Robbie Ray is. 5 or 6 innings of very okay pitching. One stat that surprised me is where he ranks in K/9. He has always been a strikeout guy, but this year has the 8th highest K/9 among qualified pitchers at 10.42. His problem is the walks. His 3.92 BB/9 rate is 12th highest in the majors.

This game will be Velasquez’s first start since June 8, when he went on the DL with a biceps injury. The injury may have been lingering before the DL stint, since in his last 4 starts he never went more than 5 innings. One thing that will probably hurt him pitching in Chase Field is that he gets fly balls at a very high rate, 43% of the time. Slight advantage to the Phillies in this one.

Game 2: Zack Greinke RHP (10-3, 3.61 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) vs Jerad Eickhoff RHP (5-9, 3.36 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)

Greinke hit a bit of a rough patch in his last outing, when he went 5.2 innings and allowed 3 runs in Colorado. Sounds kinda like a Robbie Ray start, eh? laughtrack plays Don’t worry about that game. It was in Coors Field, so more runs are to be expected, and in his 4 starts before that game, he had pitched 31 innings and allowed just 3 runs. I expect another dominant outing, especially against the lowly Phillies.

First thing that jumps out at me about Jerad Eickhoff is his name. Jerad? Isn’t that supposed to be spelled Jared? Whatever. Anyways, Eickhoff has been a glimmer of hope for the Phillies this season. In his first full big league season, he has been solid, with 10 of his 15 starts counting as quality starts. He’s no flamethrower, with an average fastball velocity of 91, but relies more on his slow curveball and slider to keep hitters guessing. He struggles with the long ball, allowing a little over 2 homers per 9 innings. When the D-Backs faced him 2 weeks ago, he went 5.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 9 hits. Huge advantage D-Backs.

Game 3: Archie Bradley RHP (3-3, 4.50 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs Zach Eflin RHP (0-2, 6.28 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)

If Archie would just walk batters at a normal rate, he could be sooooooo good. Unfortunately, he still hasn’t been able to consistently find the zone, walking 4 batters in 5 innings in his last start. When he faced Philadelphia on June 19, he went 6 innings and allowed only one run, unearned. Hopefully he is able to create similar results on Wednesday.

Eflin will be making his 4th career start on Wednesday, and has received very mixed results up to this point in his MLB life. In his debut he was lit up for 9 runs, then was okay against the D-Backs, and in his last outing against the Giants threw 6 innings and gave up just one run. I am not knowledgeable on young Phillies prospects, so here is a good article with a few quick thoughts on Eflin. Advantage D-Backs.

Keys to the Series

The Phillies Offense- their starting pitching has been decent this year, so if the offense can put something together the Phillies should be able to steal a game or two.

The D-Backs Bullpen- the bullpen has been both bad, costing the D-Backs a shot at a win the last two games, and used a ton. It is generally not a good thing to go into a series with a struggling, tired bullpen, and I predict that the D-Backs lose at least one game due to a reliever.


D-Backs win 2 of 3.