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Preview, #39: 5/12 vs. Nationals

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The D-backs will have to pull out all the stops if they’re to avoid losing their first series of the season.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

WASHINGTON NATIONALS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Trea Turner - SS David Peralta - LF
Bryce Harper - RF Daniel Descalso - 3B
Anthony Rendon - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Matt Adams - 1B A.J. Pollock - CF
Howie Kendrick - 2B Steven Souza - RF
Andrew Stevenson - LF Ketel Marte - 2B
Michael Taylor - CF Nick Ahmed - SS
Pedro Severino - C John Ryan Murphy - C
Stephen Strasburg - RHP Troy Scribner - RHP

Troy Scribner makes his debut as a Diamondback, and all I’m really hoping for is that it goes better than the last debut we saw from a starting pitcher. We all know how that went. But if we’re to avoid dropping this game, not only is Scribner going to have to pitch a good deal better than Kr*s M*dl*n, but the offense is also going to have to return to form. Because this has been as dry a spell for Arizona hitters as I can remember. The only time this month when tacos were delivered were the 8-5 win over the Dodgers, and that took 12 innings to complete. In the other nine games this month, Arizona has scored a total of only nineteen runs. We’re hitting exactly at the Uecker Line in May, batting .200.

The problem in particular has been the clutch hitting - or lack thereof. Here’s what the D-backs have done with runners in scoring position, for each game this month:

  • May 1 (4-3) - 1-for-12
  • May 2 (1-2) - 2-for-9
  • May 3 (2-5) - 2-for-6
  • May 4 (0-8) - 0-for-2
  • May 5 (4-3) - 2-for-7
  • May 6 (3-1) - 1-for-6
  • May 8 (8-5) - 1-for-8
  • May 9 (3-6) - 1-for-9
  • May 10 (1-2) - 1-for-5
  • May 11 (1-3) - 0-for-5

I’ve been joking about our daily hit with runners in scoring position, but it has been a full week today since the Diamondbacks have managed more than one hit with RISP in a game. Overall, for the ten games in May, the team have just eleven such hits and are 11-for-69 in those situations, which is a .159 average. This is regression in action, after a first month where we had no problem getting those clutch hits. All the above futility has brought our overall season average with RISP down to .234. Which is still actually eight points above what we’ve been hitting as a whole in 2018. But it is close enough that one might HOPE we’ve got all the regression out of the way. This afternoon will tell...