Arizona Diamondbacks (37-47) vs San Diego Padres (35-47)
I remember last week, writing the Phillies series preview, just bubbling with optimism. The D-Backs are hitting, pitching, winning! Woohoo! Oh, those were the thoughts of a young, naive Nate who had forgotten about what this D-Backs team does. Arizona has lost 7 of their last 8, squandering any ground gained in the 2 weeks prior. The D-Backs are on pace to win 71 games, are 15 games out of first in the West, are 16 games below .500 at home, are 1 game away from dropping to last in the West... I could go on and on. We will find out this week if the D-Backs can gain a bit of dignity back before heading to the All-Star break.
State of the Padres
The Diamondbacks are not the only team in a state of despair in the division. The Padres are also very bad, but at least everyone expected that coming into the year. The Padres are 17th in the majors in runs per game (4.28), not horrible. Their problem is run prevention, allowing 4.96 runs per game. That is 27th in the majors, one spot worse than the D-Backs. On the offensive side, there are 2 guys you have to look out for: Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte. Myers’ OPS+ of 139 is the best on the team, and his 19 homers are tied for 7th in the NL. Solarte has been dealing with injuries, but is the best contact hitter on the Padres when healthy.
B.J. Melvin Upton is also having a solid year, with 13 homers and an OPS right around league average. Beyond these three, the line-up is made up of a bunch of okay to bad hitters. Nothing to be too scared about.
- The good news is that the Padres are also really bad. They’re a good team to face when in the midst of a slump.
- Padres pitchers have an ERA of 5.10 in the last 2 weeks.
- Padres’ third baseman Yangervis Solarte has been on fire the last two weeks, with a batting average of .415 and an OBP just below .500.
- Goldy is in a bit of a rut, hitting .192 with no walks in the last week.
- The Peter O’Brien experiment is probably coming to an end soon. His batting average is barely over .100.
The Padres have been without two of their top starting pitchers, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner. Cashner made his first start since coming off the DL on Sunday, while Ross is still in the rehab process. They will also be without starting centerfielder Jon Jay, second baseman Jemile Weeks, and infielder Cory Spangenberg.
Zack Greinke will not make his scheduled start against the Padres, landing on the disabled list with an oblique injury. The other player of note, Nick Ahmed, is not out with injury, but instead on paternal leave. He should return at some point during the Padres’ series, which is funny since he just became a padre last week.
Game 1: Archie Bradley RHP (3-3, 4.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) vs Luis Perdomo RHP (2-3, 8.49 ERA, 2.06 WHIP)
Archie has been alright this year, his ERA just a tad above league average. Like I’ve said every time I’ve previewed Archie, he’s gotta get those walks down if he wants to have success. Another area of concern when you look at his splits is his performance against lefties. He has dominated right handed hitters, who have a slash of .178/.256/.371 against him this year. Lefties, on the other hand, have owned him, hitting .301/.393/.522.
Perdomo began the year as a reliever, but has had to step in to make a few spot starts due to injuries. This game will be his 6th start. He is not making a very good case to remain in the rotation once everyone gets healthy, with a 7.71 ERA as a starter. He walks a lot of batters (4.43 walks per 9) and gives up a lot of homers (1.7 HR/9), which makes it a bit difficult to get solid results. For his pitch repertoire, he throws a mid-90s fastball, a sinking 2-seamer, a slider, and occasional change-up. The D-Backs should be able to light him up, so advantage Arizona.
Game 2: Zack Godley RHP (1-0, 4.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) vs Christian Friedrich LHP (4-3, 3.96 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
Godley is filling in for the injured Zack Greinke, who just went on the DL with an oblique injury. It’s never good to lose your ace 200+ million dollar pitcher to injury, but the good news is that it’s not too serious. The other positive side is that of the 3 D-Backs starters in this series, Godley is the one I have most confidence in. In his 7 big league starts dating back to last season, only one of them has been truly bad. As a starter, he has a career ERA of 3.03. I also enjoy watching him sprint off the mound every inning. Expect a quality start from the other Zack G. in this one.
After spending 2014 and 2015 as a reliever in Colorado, Friedrich has found moderate success this season starting for the Padres. His best start of the season came against, who else, the Diamondbacks. Freidrich went 7 innings and allowed 0 runs and 3 hits at Chase Field back in late May. He’ll be pleased to be pitching away from Petco Park, where he holds a 5.88 ERA. Advantage D-Backs.
Game 3: Shelby Miller RHP (2-8, 6.85 ERA, 1.76 WHIP) vs Colin Rea RHP (5-3, 4.79 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
I don’t feel like writing a bunch of negative statistics about Shelby, because there’s no need at this point. He’s been bad, really bad, and I have no idea why. I will instead share a brief story about his outing a week and a half ago in Coors Field. After giving up a lead-off home run to Charlie Blackmon, Shelby looked solid. Heading into the 4th inning I sent a text to a friend about how nicely he had recovered from that first inning. How foolish of me. Shelby allowed 3 runs that inning, and would allow 3 more in the 5th and 6th innings. Feel free to share your sad Shelby Miller story in the comments. We can grieve together.
Rea made his debut late last season, where he was was very okay. This year has been similar, with most of his starts being 5-6 innings, 2-3 runs allowed. He doesn’t have one standout pitch, instead throwing a variety of average pitches. If Rea can just be okay, he should be good enough to get the win, considering his opponent. Advantage Padres.
Keys to the Series
Bouncing Back- It’s not going to be easy for the D-Backs to come back from the low they reached last week. If they’re able to recover quickly and win this series, I will be very impressed at their mental toughness.
Whose Starting Pitching Will Be Less Bad?- The best starter ERA in this series is 3.96. A lot of runs will be scored, and it’s gonna come down to who can limit the damage the best.
D-Backs’ struggles continue, only win 1 of 3.