As Day One of the MLB First Year Player Draft comes to a close, we shift focus momentarily from future baseball to current baseball. After a well-deserved day off, the Diamondbacks will take on the Detroit Tigers in the Motor City for a quick two game series before another off day. The Tigers come in at 30-32 and 3.0 games out of first place while the Diamondbacks come in at 39-26 and 1.5 games out of first place. And in a whim of coincidence, we will get to see our former 1-1 draft pick the day after the start of the 2017 draft. There’s a clever connection or joke in there somewhere, but alas, I’m left searching. On with the baseball!
- Game 1: Zack Greinke vs. Buck Farmer
- Game 2: Surprise vs. Surprise
Zack Greinke is having a fantastic season so far in 2017, and has been the ace that the Diamondbacks have needed. Zack has pitched to the tune of an 8-3 record, a 3.20 ERA, and 100 K’s across 84.1 innings. This puts him on pace to have 20 wins and 250 K’s over 210 innings by season’s end. Mmmm, that sounds good to me please. Opposing him will be a mythical demi-god out of Iowa named Buck Farmer. At least that’s what his name sounds like he should be. In actuality, he is a 26-year old pitcher from Georgia who has pitched two outstanding games to start 2017. He comes into this game riding a 13 inning scoreless streak with 16 strikeouts and allowing only 6 hits. Let’s hope that his streak doesn’t continue for very long because reasons.
Game number two is a nice little surprise where neither team has listed a starter as of yet. If we kept with the same order that we have had, then it would be Patrick Corbin’s start since he pitched on June 8th. However, according to multiple accounts it seems that Taijuan Walker will make his return for game 2. This will be a nice little boost to a rotation that has been doing very well over the last month or so. With Ray apparently the second coming of Randy Johnson and Greinke holding down the ace slot, having Walker perform like he did in the first month of the season will add a boost and some much needed depth. For the Tigers, it looks like it may be Michael Fulmer’s spot on the 14th, but that remains to be seen. The Tigers may be pushing his start back because he is a big part of their future, and they don’t want to overwork the 24-year old first round pick.
The Diamondbacks just finished up a six game home stand where they scored a whopping 52 runs. But we all know that they can score runs at home, and it remains to be seen how good their offense can be on the road. So far, not that great. They are triple slashing an abhorrent .219/.288/.360 on the road this year which is good enough for a tOPS of 68. I have faith that they will turn it around eventually and I think that this road trip will be the catalyst.
For the Diamondbacks, Goldy and Lamb have set the tone and have really made things tough on opposing righties when they bat 3-4. Goldy is having an MVP caliber year, leads all of baseball in walks and runs, and no pitcher or player in the NL has a higher bWAR. Lamb leads all of baseball with his 57 RBI’s and appears to be well on his way to taking the next step towards stardom. He has shown improved discipline at the plate and has a very respectable triple slash of .276/.372/.560.
For the Tigers, Justin Upton has been leading the way this year. Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera are not quite themselves just yet, or perhaps they have finally started the inevitable age decline since they are 35 and 34, respectively. J.D. Martinez has some really good numbers, but he has only been able to play 28 games so far. The Tigers have a lot of talent on offense, but it hasn’t “clicked” just yet, but when it does I think that they will be really good. Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen until after this series.
Conclusion and Prediction:
While both teams average roughly 5 runs per game, I have to give the edge on offense to the Tigers because Arizona has yet to prove that they can be very successful on the road. With Greinke (and likely Walker) pitching for the good guys, I would say that the pitching edge is in favor of the Dbacks. A two game series throws a big ol’ wrench into everything though, and baseball likes to be unpredictable. So I will be safe and say that Arizona leaves Detroit with a split and a 40-27 record.
A short series warrants a short preview because the draft is the big news of the day, so I will leave everyone to stress out or worry about some dudes that are barely old enough to drink legally. But just remember, we’ve got some winning baseball going on right now, so don’t stress too much about the future!