If you’re interested in being a “reader representative” on next week’s round table, speak up in the comments. I email the first qualifying person to post the questions on Saturday (so, obviously, you need to have an email address attached to your account!). You’ll need to be able to get the answers back to me by Sunday evening, so a timely turnaround will be necessary.
Review the last week.
Makakilo: This week’s results: 3 wins, 2 losses, and no injuries! D-backs ended the week tied for first with the Rockies, 2.5 games ahead of the Dodgers. Not a bad week, although I hoped the D-backs would win the series against the Mariners.
Keegan: Could have just as easily been bad as it was “good”. The team was gifted with a less than perfect victory on Tuesday. Yoshihisa Hirano and Andrew Chafin couldn’t maintain a late lead, and it took a fluky botched throw on a bunt from Pollock to win it. The bullpen really needs to clean up its act.
Jim: The remarkable roller-coaster ride which was this season continues. After those two solid victories over the Angeles, combined with the Dodgers being beaten by the Cardinals, optimism was high. Then two bad losses to the Mariners sent the more fragile end of fandom into a state of depression e.g. “This is not a playoff team.” But we should remember, that the losses were in games started by our #4 and #5 starters, and we almost won one of them. We’re still leading the division, and no week where that’s true can be said to be a bad week.
Do we need to discuss Brad Boxberger again?
Jack: Don’t ask me. Last time I called for someone else to be the closer that guy went out and gave up runs in 3 of the next 4 games and took the loss in 2 of those games. Seriously, I don’t know who else you turn to at this point. There isn’t one guy in that bullpen that has been dominant or consistently reliable over the last few weeks.
Makakilo: Let’s look at two stats from FanGraphs:
Shutdown/meltdown (SD/MD): In the second half of the season, he went from great to good:
- 20/6 in first half
- 4/2 in second half
Average Win Probability Added Per Game (WPA/G): In June, his performance was worst. In August his performance is back to great. Details follow:
- .036 in March/April
- .059 in May
- -.104 in June (caused by three bad games)
- .014 in July
- .053 in August (average includes last night)
Before last night, Boxberger had not blown a save for a month (July 26). “It’s a new day tomorrow. We go out and have a chance to win more.” -- Brad Boxberger
Ponder this: Last night, in the bottom of the tenth inning, the D-backs had a 67% win probability with runners on the corners and no outs.
Keegan: Not just him, the entire bullpen as a whole. It has not been as good of a unit in the second half of the season as it was in the first. At this point we just need to limp this group into September until Silvino Bracho and Jimmie Sherfy get their call again. I honestly have more faith in those two men than some of the midseason acquisitions.
Jim: After this afternoon, I can’t say I feel INCREDIBLY confident about any of our bullpen, even the A guys. We’re just going to have to bite the bullet and get through it as best we can, and hopefully the pitchers Torey Lovullo sends in there don’t come up snake-eyes. Though neither the Rockies nor the Dodgers are exactly in a better place with regard to their relief corps, so it may just be the nature of the beast.
How would you rank our starting pitchers?
YTD Performance: Corbin, Greinke, Buchholz, Godley, Ray
Last 30 days performance : Corbin, Buchholz, Greinke, Godley, Ray
If 5 game NLDS started tomorrow: Corbin, Greinke, Buchholz……….Break Glass only in case of emergency, Godley or Ray, depending on matchup.
Makakilo: My first criteria is who ranks in the top 10 in ESPN’s Cy Young Predictor: Greinke and Corbin made the cut.
My secondary criteria are zone control (ZC) (estimated by SO9/BB9), average game score (AGS), and ERA. Ranks follow:
- 5.1 ZC, 59 AGS, and 3.06 ERA , Greinke, in contention for Cy Young.
- 5.0 ZC, 60 AGS, and 3.17 ERA, Corbin, in contention for Cy Young.
- 4.3 ZC, 60 AGS, and 2.25 ERA, Buchholz.
- 2.4 ZC, 50 AGS, and 4.59 ERA, Godley.
- 2.3 ZC, 51 AGS, and 4.73 ERA, Ray.
Keegan: Corbin, Greinke, Buchholz, Ray, Matt Koch. Godley can go play catch with little leaguers. I don’t understand the criticism directed towards Buchholz smoke and mirrors style. It’s remarkably similar to what Greinke is accomplishing with the D’backs. Buchholz is following the gameplan given to him and relying on the elite defense behind him.
Jim: Corbin, Greinke, Buchholz, the field. If you’d told me on Opening Day that Clay Buchholz would be our #3 starter at the end of August, I would NOT have expected that Arizona would also be leading the division. The regression or Ray, and unreliability of Godley are very disappointing - possibly the biggest downers of the season. Both men have shown flashes of what they CAN produce, but we just cannot rely on them.
Who’ll be called up on Sep 1, and will it help?
Jack: Article coming on this tomorrow, but all we know for sure right now is Bracho and probably Sherfy. I’ll use the comments from the other writers here as crowd sourcing for the article. Torey had some interesting comments about callups yesterday I’ll include.
Makakilo: Yes, help is on the way!
- Christian Walker as fourth/fifth outfielder (this season in Reno he has slugging percent of .563) (BS/OBP/SLG/OPS of .297/.352/.563/.916).
- Jimmie Sherfy as back-up closer (this season in Reno he has ERA of 1.29, and he has a closer mentality).
- Add to the bullpen so starters can pitch less innings. Two of the pitchers in Reno, who are on the 40-man roster, are Jake Barrett and Joey Krehbiel. If I ignore one or two games with bad results, they both look ready to join the team in September.
Keegan: Sherfy and Bracho as I mentioned above. Christian Walker is also a lock as a bench bat. Outside of that I’m also expecting Koch, Jake Barrett, Braden Shipley, and Chris Owings.
Jim: More bullpen arms, certainly, and that’s not a bad thing - I’m looking forward to seeing what Bracho and Sherfy do, when they don’t have to worry about catching the next bus to Reno. Walker and Owings will give the team some more options off the bench; I’m also looking forward to the return of Jarrod Dyson for pinch-run and defensive replacement abilities. Over the last sixteen games, the D-backs have only four SB, and that’s an area which could become crucial down the stretch, in tight games.
This week, it’s a trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles. What do you expect?
Jack: Since they will be away from Chase field, I expect Goldy to hit and the offense to score some more runs.
Makakilo: Against the Giants, who are likely unmotivated, I see a sweep as possible. Against the Dodgers, although a split may happen, winning the 4-game series would make the margin between the teams convincingly large.
Keegan: I don’t expect anything because I don’t want to be setup for disappointment. Anything less than .500 and the team is probably in trouble. The Giants will be looking to play spoiler against a division foe. Fortunately, the Dodgers bullpen is as bad if not worse than the Diamondbacks currently.
Jim: We need to beat up on the Giants as much as possible. I had them down for two of three, and it would be nice if they could make up the ground lost against the Mariners with a swee, though beating Madison Bumgarner is never a given. I’ll take a split against the Dodgers: keep them where they are, and cross four more games off the schedule. The pressure will be on the Dodgers to do more. I like the way our rotation is lining up for that series, but should not expect too much.
There was… a discussion on Twitter about fast-food burgers. Please discuss your faves and anti-faves.
Jack: I was mostly trolling In N Out fans for fun in that thread. But INO massively overrated in my opinion. I grew up in NY, and White Castle was a cultural thing. But actually if I want a big juicy Hamburger and only have time for fast food, Carls Jr.
Makakilo: In Hawaii, the traditional way to eat hamburger is loco moco – a hamburger patty topped with gravy and a fried egg.
- In 1949, loco moco originated at the Lincoln Grill restaurant in Hilo, Hawaii. Richard Inouye and his wife Nancy, created it at the request of teenagers from the Lincoln Wreckers Sports Club.
- On 28 September in 2014, at the Fifth Annual Rice Festival, Chef Hideaki Miyoshi of Tokkuri Tei restaurant and volunteers assembled a bowl of loco moco that weighed 1,126 pounds – a likely world record.
- Although loco moco is good, my fave is healthier: a veggie burger and a vegan cobb salad at the Cheesecake Factory, which recently opened near where I live!
Keegan: I didn’t realize how much I loved burgers until I realized this question was on the way. I was mostly just teasing Jack on Twitter, but I still disagree that In N Out is overrated. Can’t go wrong with a 3x3 animal style. It’s a bit easier for me to list those I’d rather stay away from, and I feel they are quite obvious. McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and Burger King should only be a last resort. I’ve got a Sonic by my house and was surprised at how good they were. Freddy’s is a much better, and cheaper, steak burger than Smashburger. Both still good. Habit burger is one of my favorites. I have a pretty damn good homemade recipe as well. Buns always have to be toasted.
Jim: I’m a big fan of Red Robin, especially since I discovered they have the Garlic Fries which are no longer available at Chase Field. . I don’t typically eat burgers at the more normal “fast food” places, I’d be more likely to have a burrito from Jack in the Box, or an Arby’s sandwich. I do have to say, Five Guys = horribly over-rated, as far as I’m concerned. Making up for quality in your fries with lard-drenched quantity is not what I want! #FightMe