|Manuel Margot - CF||Jarrod Dyson - CF|
|Nick Martini - LF||Josh Rojas - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Eric Hosmer - 1B||Eduardo Escobar - 3B|
|Josh Naylor - RF||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Ty France - 2B||Abraham Almonte - RF|
|Luis Urias - SS||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Austin Hedges - C||Alex Avila - C|
|Cal Quantrill - RHP||Mike Leake - RHP|
After coming within two outs of the first ever four-game sweep of the Dodgers, the D-backs should be in good mental shape for a home series against what should be a significantly easier opponent in the Padres. I say “should”, because San Diego has more or less had its way with Arizona so far this year. We have won only three out of the ten contests between the two teams. With nine games against the Padres in the final month, that is going to have to change, and change quickly, if the Diamondbacks’ flickering, rekindled hopes of wild-card contention are going to be sustained. We probably need to go at least 6-3; winning every series should do it.
However, it has been more than three months since we last encountered the Padres, with the previous time we faced them all the way back on May 22. At that point, they were still above .500, and just one game back in the wild-card race. Since then, they have gone 38-48, for the fourth-worst record in the NL over that time, as the latest attempt by San Diego to spend their way to contention proved premature. with Eric Hosmer in particular being a flop. So far, they’ve paid him $42 million and he has been worth 1.8 bWAR. He’s on the books for SIX more seasons, unless he opts out after 2022, which doesn’t look likely. There’s also Manny Machado, who has been okay, rather than great (3.2 bWAR).
Standing in the way of victory for Arizona today is Mike Leake. Yeah, he finally won a game last time out, pitching into the eighth inning and allowing only two runs. However, he had good fortune with balls in play that day, only four of the 24 turning into hits. That more or less regressed his BABIP average as a Diamondback, dropping it from .367 to .320. The lack of strikeouts is a real issue. Small sample size, but of the 171 pitches to have thrown 25 innings for the D-backs, Leake’s K-rate of 3.45 is ranked 170th. He’s ahead only of... Jason Grimsley, and the sole other Arizona pitcher below 3.75 is Casey Daigle. These are not players with anyone would want to be associated.