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Preview #23: 8/17, Diamondbacks vs. Athletics

2 roster moves before the D-backs try and extend their winning streak

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Marcus Semien - SS Kole Calhoun - RF
Tony Kemp - 2B Ketel Marte - 2B
Matt Chapman - 3B Starling Marte - CF
Matt Olson - 1B David Peralta - LF
Mark Canha - CF Christian Walker - 1B
Robbie Grossman - LF Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Stephen Piscotty - RF Carson Kelly - C
Vimael Machin - DH Kevin Cron - DH
Austin Allen - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Chris Bassitt - RHP Zac Gallen - RHP

The Diamondbacks begin a four-game home and away set against the Athletics, and rotated a couple of players back onto the active roster. Kevin Cron and Yoan Lopez have been recalled from the alternate site over at Salt River Fields, taking the spots of Andy Young and Joel Payamps respectively. Cron goes straight into the line-up as our designated hitter tonight. He had been on the roster previously, before getting optioned to Salt River on July 29, but had seen very limited playing time with only five PA. Lopez went to SRF on August 5, after having appeared in five games out of the bullpen. He worked 4.1 innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks, with three Ks. More on the moves below.

As for tonight’s game, it’s a Zac Gallen start, so bring a book, for use if anyone gets on base. No-one in baseball has thrown over to first so much, and it’s not even close. But it’s something almost ALL the Diamondbacks do a lot: four of the top seven pitchers in the NL for pickoff attempts are with Arizona. As well as Zac, there’s Luke Weaver (18, =6th); Madison Bumgarner (19, =4th) and Robbie Ray (22, 2nd). Makes me wonder if Merrill Kelly didn’t receive the memo or something. Anyway, then there’s Gallen, who has... SEVENTY-THREE. That’s more pickoffs than any three other pitchers combined, and his average of 18.25 per game is more than all but three have thrown this season.

Obviously, Arizona is trying to control the oppositon running game. Though with 24, no team has more stolen-base attempts against them so far than the D-backs. Either the pickoffs are a reaction to that, or they’re not having the desired impact. It may be the former, as the Padres and Rangers ran rampant the first two series, swiping a dozen bags in the first six games. Things had calmed down, but we’ve seen six SB over the last six games. Overall, 21 of the 24 have been successful, a 13% thrown-out rate that’s half the MLB average of 26%. With regard to Gallen, they are 6-for-7 in stolen-bases with him on the mound, so you can see why he keeps throwing over.

Pre-game audio from Torey Lovullo

  • Roster moves were made to win baseball games. Looking for production from Kevin Cron. Andy Young did good job of controlling zone and had good at bats. But Cron adds some thump which they are looking for.
  • Part of strategy is to rotate guys to keep them fresh and give the opportunity to get more at bats at alternate site as it’s tough to get the bench players enough at bats and keep them from getting stale.
  • Young’s defense was not a factor in his send out, and was not part of what was discussed with him last night between him and Torey.
  • Yoan Lopez’ role will be similar to prior to his send down, but he pitched some multiple innings while at Salt River and could possibly see multiple inning outings this time around.
  • Advanced Scouting Challenges: Torey alluded to limitations on video they could access during the off season due to the Astros/Red Sox cheating scandal. Then the Covid-19 experience has changed ability to get live advanced scouting. The advanced scouts are watching on TV and watching video and then sending in reports from that.
  • Jeremy Beasley went to IL with right shoulder strain, and will not be throwing for at least several weeks and it’s questionable whether he will pitch again this year.
  • Madison Bumgarner threw 46 pitches in a sim game, all indications are it went well. “Limited discomfort in the back area”. Torey said “Velo ticked up a little bit” from previous outing. Still indeterminate whether he will return to rotation right away, but Alex Young is still lined up to make the next start.
  • Zac Gallen pickoff throws/controlling running game: Working with him to focus on priorities, and the batter at the plate, varying times to plate, looks, and hold times instead of so many throws. But can’t argue with only giving up 2 runs in 7 innings in Colorado. Not a huge issue but it’s on his radar.
  • Offense Improvement: Long discussion on this, but simplified they are swinging at better pitches, but he didn’t address the difficulties early in games against starters. He feels Ketel Marte’s power stroke return is coming soon.