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SnakePit Round Table, Week 18: Cubs good, Giants bad

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We won a series in Chicago! We’re great! We lost a series in San Francisco! We suck!

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The team picked up Adam Rosales and David Hernandez at the trade-deadline. Did you want more?

Steven: I was perfectly fine with the FO’s thinking going into this trade deadline. Sure a big splash acquisition would’ve been great, but a sustainable future can be destroyed in one move.

Keegan: I think Mike Hazen did what was appropriate given the circumstances. It would have been foolish to make moves in attempt to chase down the Dodgers. It’s a real shame that the team was put in a position where the Adam Rosales addition was necessary. I’d like to know what conversations, if any, were had regarding Zack Cosart.

Makakilo: After previously trading for JD Martinez and John Ryan Murphy, I would have been happy with nothing more. And then my happiness was increased by both trades at the deadline.

  • Rosales played shortstop in three games while Ketel Marte was out (with Owings/Ahmed on the DL). The D-backs won two of those three games, so, although not strictly correct, I count Rosales as worth two wins. Given the narrow margin by which the D-backs will win a wild-card spot, this trade is already a win!
  • David Hernandez was pitching great relief this year (36.1 innings with an ERA+ of 190), and acquiring him was quite a feat! I’ll decide later whether this trade was a win. So far it looks good. He earned holds in his first two games as a D-back.
  • In David Hernandez’s third game he faced a very difficult challenge – runners on first and third and no outs, Posey at bat, and a 1-run lead. He got Posey to hit into a double play, while the runner at third scored. Although he earned a blown save, the result could easily have been worse because there were no outs and two men on base.
  • David Hernandez played for the D-backs in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 after Tommy John surgery, so welcome back!

Jim: Impressed with Hernandez more so than Rosales. The latter seems almost like a panic move, after we lost Owings and (temporarily) Marte. A career 79 OPS+ guy without much defensive upside - I know Brandon Drury hasn’t been setting it on fire at second-base much, but it’s hard to see Rosales being much of an improvement. The early signs haven’t done much to change that. Hernandez looks like a good, low-cost bullpen arm who has been having a very solid season. It seems he is now fully recovered from Tommy John, and I wouldn’t mind if we look at re-signing him for 2018. He’s earning close to minimum this year, so should be affordable next season.

Anthony Banda out-dueled Madison Bumgarner for his first W. Impressed?

Steven: Banda was effectively wild against a bad Giants team but I liked what I’ve seen from him his first two starts. Can he keep it going through August with Robbie recovering?

Keegan: I’ve been impressed with him since I saw him start in Spring Training. He is impressive and where he should be given his age and (lack of) Major League experience. If Zack Godley and Anthony Banda continue to progress, Mike Hazen can get creative in the offseason with Patrick Corbin and Shelby Miller. I expect Miller to remain with the team, but he should probably be non-tendered. Patrick Corbin, on the other hand, has been unable to fend of younger starters in Anthony Banda and Zack Godley. Back to Banda, he has performed admirably against difficult competition in his first two starts. The Nationals have one of the best lineups and battling against Madison Bumgarner is no easy feat.

Makakilo: Yes! It was a pitching duel, and Banda’s team won 2-1. He faced the minimum number of batters in three of his six inning. In two innings he faced 4 batters. Only in the fourth inning did he face difficult situations while allowing 7 men to the plate – yet he kept his cool and allowed only 1 run.

Jim: While the park and opponent certainly helped Banda look better, I think he did a good job. That was especially the case where he limited the damage (admittedly, of his own making) after getting into trouble and loading the bases. That could easily have turned into a big inning. The question now has to be, do we look at moving him permanently to the rotation, with Patrick Corbin shifting to long-relief in the bullpen (replacing Randall Delgado?). Answering that will have to wait until Robbie Ray has returned and been proven 100% fit, but it seems whatever adjustments Corbin made in June have gone out the window in his last two starts.

Is Paul Goldschmidt the National League’s Most Valuable Player?

Steven: Without a doubt. This stretch of play from Goldy has been incredible and only solidifies his MVP candidacy. If anyone has slept on him before this month, they won’t anymore.

Keegan: For multiple reasons yes. The most far-fetched being that the Diamondbacks have never had a player named to be the Most Valuable Player. The arbitrary “team must make the playoffs” criteria will hopefully be a non issue this season although players on non playoff teams have won in the past. Paul Goldschmidt also means the most to his team both on and off the field. I equate Paul Goldschmidt winning the MVP to Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar for Best Actor in his role in The Revenant. Might not be his best work, but you can only hold a man down for so long.

Makakilo: “Paul Goldschmidt became the first D-back in five years to hit three home-runs in a game.” He is breaking records and his hot hitting in latest road trip was huge when the D-backs won. Instead of going over the stats, I will just say that the team will help his chances by earning the wild-card spot and exceeding pre-season expectations.

Jim: Just as a reminder, here are the relevant criteria, as stated by the BBWAA

  1. actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense;
  2. number of games played;
  3. general character, disposition, loyalty and effort;

Hard to argue there’s a more crucial player in the league. Without Goldschmidt’s 5.5 bWAR, we’d be sitting behind the Brewers and out of a wild-card spot. But it’s the third category where I think Goldschmidt is streets ahead of any rivals. How does Bryce Harper rate on the “general character” scale? Career ejections: Harper 10, Goldschmidt 0.

Where did the 10-8 Cubs win rank in terms of Game of the Year contenders?

Steven: As the guy with recap responsibilities for that game, it was one of the greatest games I’ve watched. It was like watching a boxing match, with each taking blows before finally the good guys knocked out the champions.

Keegan: Opening Day still takes the cake for me both because I was there, and I feel that it set the tone for the season. It was the opposite of losing A.J. Pollock before the season started. It took me an entire day to recover from that victory.

Makakilo: The Cubs win was an awesome game for three reasons.

  1. Strong offense by both teams. The D-backs hit 5 home runs (3 homers by Goldy!) and the Cubs hit 2 home runs (both by Contreras). Goldy and Contreras each had 6 RBIs. Lamb and Martinez hit well for the D-backs as did Baez and Rizzo for the Cubs.
  2. There were more scoring chances. Both teams left 8 men on base and both teams were 3 for 13 with RISP.
  3. The score was tied 8-8 after 8 innings. It’s nearly always exciting when a game is decided in the ninth inning.

My number one game would be the 13-5 win against the Dodgers on 21 April for three reasons:

  1. Strong D-back offense. It was a team effort with no player having more than 2 RBIs. It was against a very strong Dodger team.
  2. There were more scoring chances. D-backs left 9 men on base and were 7 for 17 with RISP.
  3. After 7 innings the D-backs were losing 4-5. Then, the D-backs scored 9 runs in the 8th inning.

Jim: The most draining six and a half hours of the season, that’s for sure. I literally had to step away and go for a walk in the eighth inning, just to settle down. Great game to win, but having been 6-1 up, it would have been a horrible one to lose. The rain delays simply amped up the stress level - they were like being forced to stop reading a murder mystery for an hour just before the final chapter. The 6-5 win over the Nationals, which opened with back-to-back-to-back homers, and was mentioned as a Game of the Year contender, now seems like weak sauce. #ThankYouGoldy

Coming up might be the toughest week all year in terms of schedule. What are your hopes and fears?

Steven: I’m really worried how they respond to a disappointing series in San Francisco. They’re the better team, but just didn’t play as well as I’d like them to. We’re in the midst of the difficult schedule, time to sharpen our skills in prep for the playoffs.

Keegan: Not really an ideal time to catch Los Angeles and Houston. The Dodgers have refused to lose since we attempted to go toe to toe with them in the Chavez Ravine in early July. A 4-4 homestand would be acceptable. The past series in Chicago should give the team confidence going into this difficult stretch. My biggest fear is that the offense continues to struggle upon returning home, and that Robbie Ray will be out for longer than we would have hoped.

Makakilo: My dream is to shock and awe the Dodgers by winning that series. Moving back to reality… My hope is that the D-backs win 3 out of 6 games against the Dodgers and Cubs, and that the losses are close games. What I want to avoid is having the Brewers gain ground on the D-backs in the wild card race. Compared to the D-backs, the Brewers play weaker teams (Twins and Reds).

Jim: Any kind of winning record over this homestand would be huge. These are a pair of tough opponents, though not having to face Kershaw is certainly a help. The Dodgers aren’t going to win at a .860 pace for ever. This week is as good a time as any for that to start. I’m curious to see the Astros, whose lead in the AL West is virtually the same as the Dodgers. But they have been even more vulnerable of late than the D-backs, going only 4-6 over the last 10, and the same goes for the Cubs (5-5). They’re both certainly beatable - as we proved in Chicago.

If you were a superhero, what power would you want?

Steven: I don’t want anything too life-altering like super speed or something like that. Maybe a nice one where odds are shifted in my favor or something. I dunno I’m not smart.

Keegan: Difficult question. Probably the ability to stop time, so I can process a situation before I act on impulse and make myself look foolish.

Makakilo: So many possibilities...I want a power that helps people...and I keep changing my mind...can I borrow that ability to stop time?

Jim: The ability to be in two places at the same time. Infinite alibis. :)

Player of the Week

Changes at the top, with Greinke leading the way on 41%, so taking over the top spot from Ray, with Goldschmidt also overtaking him. Further down, Godley and McFarland climb, and Marte makes his first entry onto the chart. Here are the full standings including all votes from Week 17.

  1. Zack Greinke: 233%
  2. Paul Goldschmidt: 221%
  3. Robbie Ray: 211%
  4. Jake Lamb: 138%
  5. David Peralta: 87%
  6. Archie Bradley: 84%
  7. Patrick Corbin: 79%
  8. Chris Owings: 75%
  9. Fernando Rodney: 75%
  10. A.J. Pollock: 58%
  11. Brandon Drury: 52%
  12. Randall Delgado: 41%
  13. Taijuan Walker: 37%
  14. Chris Iannetta: 34%
  15. Nick Ahmed: 30%
  16. T.J. McFarland: 27%
  17. Zack Godley: 25%
  18. Jeremy Hazelbaker: 25%
  19. Ketel Marte: 24%
  20. Chris Herrmann: 16%
  21. J.J. Hoover: 7%
  22. Yasmany Tomas: 7%
  23. Daniel Descalso: 6%
  24. Jake Barrett: 5%
  25. Andrew Chafin: 2%

I get the feeling this week’s poll will not be quite as close, and will also result in another change at the top next week. But who knows! Here are the five candidates, with all stats covering the period July 31-August 6.

Poll

Who was the Player of the Week, July 31-August 6

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Anthony Banda: 6 IP, 3 H, 7:4 K:BB, 1.50 ERA
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Zack Godley: 6 IP, 3 H, 5:2 K:BB, 0.00 ERA
    (3 votes)
  • 88%
    Paul Goldschmidt: 10-for-23, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 1.418 OPS
    (62 votes)
  • 1%
    J.D. Martinez: 5-for-21, HR, 5 BB, HR, 3 RBI, .908 OPS
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Fernando Rodney: 3 IP, 0 H, 6:2 BB, 0.00 ERA, 3 Sv
    (3 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now