|Trea Turner - CF||Jean Segura - 2B|
|Jayson Werth - LF||Michael Bourn - CF|
|Bryce Harper - RF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Daniel Murphy - 2B||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Anthony Rendon - 3B||Welington Castillo - C|
|Wilson Ramos - C||David Peralta - RF|
|Clint Robinson - 1B||Chris Owings - SS|
|Danny Espinosa - SS||Brandon Drury - LF|
|Stephen Strasburg - RHP||Archie Bradley - RHP|
With July now in the rear-view mirror, the Diamondbacks will be grateful to turn the page to August. But the new month isn’t exactly greeting them with a gentle entrance, as they face an opposing starter, whose numbers suggest he set the difficulty level on his 2016 season to “Easy”. For Washington are 17-2 so far, when Strasburg takes the mound, having lost only to the Dodgers and Reds. The former gave Strasburg his sole defeat of the year, in his eighteenth start. The last National League pitcher to be unbeaten for so long at the start of the season? Rick Rhoden for the 1976 Dodgers, who went 9-0 in his first 19 games.
But, it has to be said, the D-backs have managed to beat more than their fair share of staff aces, especially for a team likely to end up with a top 5 draft pick next June. They’ve defeated both reigning Cy Young holders, in Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel, and other scalps they’ve taken include Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jose Fernandez. Admittedly, they’ve lost to their fair share as well - including Arrieta, Bumgarner, Cueto and Fernandez too! - but this seem to suggest they won’t be overawed by the mere presence of Strasburg on the mound.
The bigger problem is likely to be a feeling that no lead is safe from the D-backs bullpen. Our relievers had an ERA of 6.55 in June, and they’ll now have to do the rest of the way without Brad Ziegler and Tyler Clippard, who had season figures of 2.82 and 4.30 respectively. The Dodgers’ series was like a trailer for a nightmare. Over those three games, here’s the combined line for the Diamondbacks’ bullpen:
7.2 IP, 18 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 5 BB, 11 SO, 17.61 ERA
Eight of the 11 pitchers used were charged with runs. On this basis, it looks like we need roughly two runs per inning of bullpen work to feel comfortable. So if Archie goes six, we need a six-run lead at that point. We’ll see how that works out.