Well that sucked. Yesterday was my birthday, and all I wanted for it was a Dbacks win, but I knew that was highly unlikely after they went down 9-0 after one stinkin’ inning. I thought that facing the Twins would be a light reprieve from facing a 10-game stretch against the best teams in the NL and AL, and also the defending World Series Champions. I was proven very wrong as Arizona was promptly swept right out of Minnesota. Fortunately for the Dbacks the competition lightens up this coming week, and that starts with a four game set against the New York Mets in the Big Apple. Let’s see what we can expect from the upcoming series!
Game 1: Taijuan Walker vs. Robert Gsellman
Tai will look to get back on track with this start against a struggling Mets ball club. He was a little unlucky in his most recent start (against the Astros), as he gave up five runs over five innings, but there were a ton of seeing-eye singles that could have just as easily been hit at a defender. I’m still waiting for Walker to start pitching deeper into games, and with a little more consistency, but I’m certain that he will find it. Over the entire season, he has only gotten an out in the seventh inning or later three times, so hopefully he bucks that trend with this start. Gsellman is a tall, young right-hander that had a decent showing last season, but is having a rough go of it this year. He is 5-5 with an ERA just a hair under six, and his ERA+ last year of 169 has fallen to 72 in 2017. This could just be a sophomore slump or a case of major league clubs figuring him out, but hopefully the Dbacks can tee off against him.
Game 2: Patrick Corbin vs. Steven Matz
In this version of the mandatory matchup of lefties, we will see which Patrick Corbin will show up. As others have pointed out on the pit, we are not sure whether or not Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde will show up. However, in his last two starts he has not been either, but rather has channeled his inner Randy Johnson. During those two starts, he has pitched 15.1 scoreless innings while allowing just 9 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 15. These two starts came against the Cubs and the Astros, which is pretty impressive. Steven Matz is the only one of the five daunting starting pitchers for the Mets that we will face. With Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler all on the DL and Jacob DeGrom pitching yesterday, we catch the Mets at a good time. Even though Matz is normally a tough pitcher, he is struggling a lot this year and has only managed to make 13 starts. In those starts, he has been below replacement level with a 2-7 record, and a 6.08 ERA and a WHIP over 1.50.
Game 3: Zack Godley vs. Chris Flexen
Zack didn’t have his typical command and control in his last start, but his stuff was still good seeing as he struck out 10. I am pretty sure that was an anomaly however, because he has been absolutely stellar this year. He has been worth 3.7 bWAR in just 18 starts in 2017, with a 3.13 ERA and 119 strikeouts over 112 innings. Flexen is a big right-handed rookie in his age-22 season. He has only pitched 22 innings over 5 starts so far, with an ERA of 6.55 and a WHIP of 2.00. Let’s hope all of that continues, huh?
Game 4: Robbie Ray vs. Rafael Montero
Boy it is really good to see Robbie Ray back, for reasons twofold. One, for his own health; seeing a pitcher get hit in the head by a line drive is one of the things that I wish we could find a fix for. And two, because the Diamondbacks desperately need him to return. The mixture of Anthony Banda and T.J. McFarland and other bullpen pieces has not worked out very well in his absence, and it has left us longing for our all-star lefty. Ray has been worth 4.0 bWAR, with a 9-5 record, and a 3.11 ERA over 118.2 innings with 151 strikeouts. Rafael Montero is yet another below-replacement level starting pitcher for the Mets that we will face this week. Montero is 2-8 with a 5.47 ERA over his 11 starts. Not much else to say here other than we need to be able to win these games because our pitching looks to hold the advantage across the board.
The Mets are a league average offense that hits a lot of home runs, and steals very few bases. In fact the only team in baseball that has stolen fewer bases than the Mets (31) are the Orioles (25). They are pretty close to league average in walks and strikeouts, as well as OPS. They are being led by Michael Conforto (3.4 bWAR) and Jay Bruce (2.4 bWAR), but they have also lost a couple of veterans lately too. They just traded away Curtis Granderson (1.6 bWAR) to the Dodgers **(Because the Dodgers don’t have enough shiny expensive crap to help them win… GOD I HATE THEM!!!), and David Wright and Jose Reyes are out with injuries.
The Diamondbacks on the other hand have really been scuffling lately, and while that is partially because they have been facing some tough pitching, it is also just some bad play. They are striking out a lot and not stringing hits together, and any lineup that Lovullo rolls out there seems to be incompetent. They have now dropped below the 5 runs/game threshold, and sit at 4.85 runs/game, which is still good enough for fourth best in the National League. However, their stock is falling with a number of players underperforming and others that are going through some cold spells. Fortunately, we still have Goldy and his MVP powers, and there are some signs that other players are turning things around.
Instead of putting a prediction on how many games I think the team will win this series, I am going to say what I think needs to happen. I think that winning three out of four is mandatory here. This Mets team is not playing well, and is ravaged with injuries, and their starting pitching staff is not what you would expect. If Arizona hopes to play postseason baseball, then they need to start turning things around, and this is the series to do so.
How Many Wins Against the Mets?
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