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Series Preview: Diamondbacks @ Phillies

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Spoiler alert: the Phillies are really, really bad

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

*all stats as of Thursday morning

Arizona Diamondbacks (41-26) vs Philadelphia Phillies (21-43)

I don’t think I have enjoyed watching any sports team as much as I enjoy the 2017 Diamondbacks. Maybe the 2015 Arizona Cardinals? My favorite aspect of the team is how you can never, ever count them out of a game. Take a look at the 2-game series the team just played against Detroit. In game 1, the D-Backs blew a 6-0 lead, failed in three consecutive innings to drive in a leadoff double, and still won the game with a homer in the 9th. Last year’s team would have rolled over and lost 10-6. Game 2 saw the D-Backs score 2 runs in the first inning, then hold on to this lead for 9 innings to win 2-1. Would the 2016 D-Backs have held onto that lead? No way. The snakes are brewing something special here in The Valley.

The Phillies, on the other hand, are brewing something awful. A skunk must have gotten into the brewery. They were expected to be bad, but 22 games under .500? That’s new levels of bad. Philly is riding an 8-game losing streak, 5 of their top 8 players in plate appearances are sporting an OPS+ below 85, and hey look, their top 6 starting pitchers all have a below average ERA+. The Phils’ top hitter is some outfielder named Aaron Altherr, who has put up a triple slash of .286/.360/.550. The players you might actually be familiar with (Cameron Rupp, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, Odrubel Herrera) all have an OBP under .300 and have combined for a mere 22 home runs. In other news, Howie Kendrick apparently plays for the Phillies now (where was I this offseason?), and D-Backs fans should be happy to have him out of the NL West; Kendrick has a lifetime triple slash of .323/.389/.436 against Arizona.

Injury Report

Phillies’ second baseman Cesar Hernandez was placed on the DL a couple days ago with an oblique injury. He had been one of their better position players.

A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas are both still on the disabled list; I am surprised that A.J.’s groin injury has already kept him out for a month. He is supposed to be cleared to run the bases this week, which sounds like good news.

Probable Pitchers

Game 1: Patrick Corbin LHP (5-6, 5.38 ERA, 1.61 WHIP) vs Aaron Nola RHP (3-4, 4.40 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

1st Inning Patrick Corbin: 12.46 ERA

Non-1st Inning Patrick Corbin: 3.81 ERA

It’s more than a little frustrating to watch a guy spot the other team 2-3 runs in the first inning every game. The Phillies will be a good team for Patrick to get back on track against.

Nola was the Phillies’ first round pick in the 2014 draft, and is expected to be at the center of their rotation for years to come. Immediate success has not appeared for Nola, as the 24-year-old has been merely okay. His 3rd season was disrupted by a back injury in late April, causing Aaron to miss about a month. Watch out for the curveball; when he’s locating it, the pitch is nearly unhittable.

Game 2: Zack Godley RHP (2-1, 2.44 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) vs Jerad Eickhoff RHP (0-7, 5.09 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)

Many have pointed to Godley’s low home run rate, low BABIP, and high LOB percentage as reasons the right-hander will struggle soon. While I agree that the peripheral stats indicate that some regression will occur, Godley hasn’t been absurdly lucky where he’ll suddenly turn into a 6 ERA pitcher. All I know is that Zack hasn’t had a bad start yet, and that trend should continue against Philadelphia.

After posting a 3.44 ERA in his first 2 seasons as a big leaguer, 2017 has been unkind to Jerad Eickhoff. While the importance of the win statistic is on the decline, it still has to be frustrating to have started 13 games and see a big goose egg in the win column. He throws a nasty 12-6 curve, along with an okay fastball and slider.

Game 3: Robbie Ray LHP (7-3, 2.62 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) vs Ben Lively (1-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

I wrote this about Robbie Ray on May 18:

Ray has been a bit disappointing early on in the 2017 campaign, not quite breaking out like many, myself included, predicted he would.

Since that date, Ray has pitched 37 innings. He has allowed one run, a solo homer from Hunter Renfroe. Safe to say that Robbie is breaking out.

Ben Lively will be making his 4th career start on Sunday, and will try to recreate the success of his first three starts. He has gone 7 innings and allowed 3 runs or less in each outing thus far. Lively has relied heavily on the Phillies defense, striking out only 2.13 batters per 9. He’ll need to look like an ace to contend with Ray, which I don’t see happening.

Prediction

The D-Backs sweep the Phillies to push their record on the road above .500.

Poll

How many games do the D-Backs win against the Phillies

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    0
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    1
    (7 votes)
  • 42%
    2
    (91 votes)
  • 53%
    3
    (115 votes)
214 votes total Vote Now