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Preview, #104: 7/25 @ Cubs

Another chance for the D-backs to win the series, this time behind Zack Godley.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

David Peralta - LF Anthony Rizzo - 1B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Albert Almora - CF
A.J. Pollock - CF Jason Heyward - RF
Steven Souza - RF Willson Contreras - C
Jake Lamb - 3B Ian Happ - 3B
Daniel Descalso - 2B Kyle Schwarber - LF
Nick Ahmed - SS Addison Russell - SS
Alex Avila - C Tyler Chatwood - RHP
Zack Godley - RHP David Bote - 2B

Another chance today for the D-backs to return to the top of the National League West, Braves willing (as they play the Dodgers later on today). The first step, however, will be beating the Cubs in the finale of this four-game set, and the way Zack Godley has been pitching of late, I’m hopeful. Indeed, the same goes for all our pre-Godley starters this turn round the rotation: none of them have allowed more than one earned run. Taking a quick scope to see when was the last time we had four consecutive starts like that. Not this year, I think: it appears to be September 13-16 last season, when Patrick Corbin, Godley, Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke faced Colorado and San Francisco, and allowed 2 ER over 29.2 IP.

As Sean wrote about earlier in the week, Godley’s mechanics have looked a lot better over his last couple of starts. We haven’t seen quite the same volume of pitches followed by Zack tumbling off the mound towards the first-base side, something which even to the mechanically-unsavvy such as myself, was clearly not a great thing. The results have been much improved, particularly in terms of Godley being able to control his pitches. From May 8- July 1, Godley walked 36 batters in 58 innings, a rate of 5.6 per nine innings. In his three starts since then, even with a shaky outing last time, the walk rate has dropped to 3.2 per 9 IP, with 20 strikeouts over 17 innings.

His opponent today, Tyler Chatwood, has been far worse. His 79 walks leads the majors, and it’s not even close - the next pitcher has issued fifteen fewer BB than Chatwood. He has averaged eight per nine innings, which is insane. He’s a little short of the innings to this point - mostly because he averages fewer than five per start - but no qualifying pitcher has had that BB/9 rate since Tommy Byrne reached 8.22 for the 1949 Yankees. No-one has even reached seven since Byrne the following year. [Byrne somehow managed to work around those walks, and went 30-16 over those two seasons] Patience is the key for the D-backs here, obviously. Let Chatwood prove he can throw strikes, or take your base.