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Preview, #43: 5/16 vs. Brewers

The rubber game of the series, as the D-backs look to remain undefeated in the Pollock Thumb era.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Lorenzo Cain - CF David Peralta - LF
Christian Yelich - LF Jarrod Dyson - CF
Jesus Aguilar - 1B Daniel Descalso - 3B
Travis Shaw - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Domingo Santana - RF Steven Souza - RF
Jonathan Villar - 2B Ketel Marte - 2B
Tyler Saladino - SS Alex Avila - C
Jett Bandy - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Brandon Woodruff - RHP Matt Koch - RHP

The gods of baseball scheduling finally take their foot off Matt Koch’s throat, and present him with an opposing starter whose mantelpiece does not require structural support. Not that Koch himself has buckled under the weight of the task, having performed remarkably well against Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, going 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA against three of the best pitchers in baseball. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens when he goes up against someone with less (actually, almost zero) reputation: hopefully he won’t play down to the quality of the opponent! It is worth remembering Koch did have one such start previously, beating Ben Lively of the Phillies on April 26 with six innings of two-run ball.

It’s good to see that Koch has had better control of late. Over his first three starts, he walked seven in 17 innings, but the last two have seen just one base on balls in 14 innings of work. He’s still not striking out many - six batters - but a K:BB ratio of 6:1 looks an awful lot better than 11:7. If he can continue limiting the free passes, it’ll help mitigate the likely regression when his BABIP rises from its current value of .211. It was also good to see him go a full eight innings last time. He and Patrick Corbin are the only Diamondbacks pitchers who have recorded any outs past the seventh this season. Koch’s efficiency there was admirable, needing only 97 pitches to record those 24 outs.

With a right-hander on the mound, Jarrod Dyson starts in center, and bats second, behind regular lead-off man David Peralta. While Dyson’s speed is always fun to watch, his bat has been pretty weak: as the old saw goes, “You can’t steal first base,” and his on-base percentage of .245 has late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-runner written all over it. The injury to Pollock does probably mean we’ll be seeing more of Dyson, and as long as he’s strictly platooned, it might be okay. His career OPS vs. RHP is .696, which is...okay. Fun fact. This is his ninth major-league season, and Dyson has yet to hit a home-run off a left-hander, in 362 PA. That’s the longest homerless platoon split of any active position player.