After blowing away the Dodgers in the first two games of their series, the Diamondbacks drop the final game and also saw Shelby Miller depart with an injury. Still taking two out of three from the defending NL West champs isn’t bad, and now we host the Padres for a four game series. In a strange coincidence of schedules, this will be my fourth series preview of the year, and the only two teams I have covered are the Giants and the Padres. In light of this, we can expect to see some very similar things from last week. Let’s see what else we can expect in this intra-divisional matchup.
Game 1: Jhoulys Chacin vs. Zack Greinke
These two pitchers dueled in San Diego last Wednesday, and the result was a throwback to a different era of baseball. A 1-0 win for the Padres only took 2 hours and 13 minutes to complete, and was the true definition of a “pitcher’s duel”. Both starters were absolutely amazing, while starting the first seven innings of that game throwing up zeros. Greinke is looking a little more like our ace this season with a stat line of 3.28 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, and 20 strikeouts across 24.2 innings. Chacin has a less spectacular line of 4.70 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.30 WHIP, and 15 strikeouts across 23 innings, but that didn’t stop him from blanking us the last time out. In this week’s matchup, look for both teams to have a better offensive performance, having seen each pitcher very recently.
Game 2: Clayton Richard vs. Patrick Corbin
In the second game of déjà vu, it will be another showdown between the two lefties. Patrick Corbin had a quality start during that game while going 6 innings, giving up 3 ER, allowing 5 hits, and striking out 8. But it was his opponent who had the better outing, with Richard going 6.2 innings, only allowing 1 run, and also striking out 8. Corbin has a good 3.27 ERA to start 2017, but I fear that it may be mostly smoke and mirrors, seeing as his xFIP is sitting more than a full run higher at 4.37. My subjective opinion on the matter is that he only really has his fastball and slider, and both don’t appear to be overpowering or deceptive right now. Look for him to work on mixing up his pitches with having to face the same opponent in back to back starts.
Game 3: Trevor Cahill vs. Taijuan Walker
Ah yes, Trevor Cahill. The last time he was a full time starter, he was tossing up batting practice here in the desert to the tune of a 5.61 ERA while going 3-12 in 2014. Since then, he has seemed to find a groove having played well for the Cubs the last two years, and starting off this year well with the Padres. Taijuan has started off his Diamondbacks career in decent fashion; he hasn’t been lighting the world on fire yet, but he has looked dominant at times. He has been throwing a slider this year, and it has been a work in progress where sometimes it looks unhittable and other times it looks like he can’t throw it. Look for Walker to keep the anemic Padres offense at bay with good stuff, and look for Cahill to look like the guy we all hated in 2014 (boy that would be nice, right?).
Game 4: Jered Weaver vs. Robbie Ray
Jered’s best days are behind him, and he is looking for a second wind in his first season with someone other than the Angels. However, the last time we faced an “aging ace” we struggled against Matt Cain, so it is far from a given that we will succeed against him. Robbie Ray continues to do Robbie Ray things, and has an elite strikeout rate to start the year (11.4 K/9), but continues to throw too many pitches. If he can ever reign in the pitch count and learn to put hitters away once he gets to two strikes, then he could be the next Max Scherzer. Be on the lookout for the Diamondbacks to hit Weaver hard, and Ray to keep his pitch count in check.
Wil Myers has been a beast to start the year, but unfortunately he does not have much support around him. The Padres have been one of the worst offensive teams in baseball this year, which means that everyone outside of Wil Myers have been really, really bad. They are currently in the bottom five in almost every major offensive category, and are hitting a whopping .213 as a team. Despite the lack of offensive production, the Padres have a lot of really interesting young talent on their team. Players like Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot are the future for the Padres, and the more playing time they get now, means that they will be better in the years to come. But for now, their offense is struggling to say the least.
The Diamondbacks have had one of the best offenses in all of baseball, but it has not come without any issues. It seems like they either score 20 runs in a game, or they score 1, with a young offensive core that either explodes or takes a nap. The Dbacks are scoring 5.42 runs per game, which is best in the big leagues, and they also lead baseball in:
Arizona has a healthy A.J. Pollock and David Peralta back in the lineup this year, and it has been paying huge dividends. David set the franchise record for doubles in one game on Saturday with four, and A.J. has been huge out of the leadoff spot. I personally think that having them hit 1-2 has been a huge boost to our lineup. Jake Lamb is third in baseball in RBI’s behind Bryce Harper and Marcell Ozuna, and has an impressive triple slash of .315/.386/.562. Goldy appears to be coming out of a slump and Tomas has shown glimpses of improved plate discipline. This could be a special year for the Arizona offense.
On paper the Diamondbacks should have a decided edge, with their offense being in the top 5 in the majors, while the Padres have an offense in the bottom 5. The starting pitching also appears to favor the Dbacks, but that really didn’t matter too much last week huh? Despite all of this, the Dbacks have been on fire at home to start the year, and I think that trend will continue.
Last week I was far too ambitious in proclaiming that the Dbacks would sweep the Padres in San Diego, and they ended up losing 2 of 3. I will temper my expectations for this series, but not by much; I think that Arizona will continue to impress at home, and the starting pitching will shut down the Padres, and they will win 3 of 4 to improve to 15-9.
How Many Wins for the Diamondbacks this Series?
This poll is closed
0 (Oh, you are just the worst kind of pessimist)
1 (I guess that’s possible)
2 (Choose a side, will ya?)
3 (A good home series win)
4 (Good on ya! How’s it feel being so optimistic?)