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Preview #11: 8/4, Diamondbacks vs. Astros

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Let’s talk about home-runs. Or, rather, the lack of them.

Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Diego Padres Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ASTROS DIAMONDBACKS
George Springer - CF Ketel Marte - 2B
Jose Altuve - 2B Kole Calhoun - RF
Alex Bregman - 3B Starling Marte - CF
Yuli Gurriel - 1B Christian Walker - 1B
Carlos Correa - SS Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Josh Reddick - RF David Peralta - DH
Abraham Toro - DH Carson Kelly - C
Kyle Tucker - LF Daulton Varsho - LF
Martin Maldonado - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Cristian Javier - RHP M. Bumgarner - LHP

The Diamondbacks, collectively, are on pace to hit just twelve home-runs this season. This would be the fewest in a season for more than a century, since the last season of the dead-ball era in 1918, when five different teams hit a dozen or fewer. The Washington Senators had four for the season in 130 games. Of course, the last is a clue that Arizona’s projected figure is based on the severely curtailed schedule. But two home-runs in 10 games is still only 32 over a full 162-game season. The only team since 1948 with such a power-outage were the 1981 Padres, for whom outfielder Joe Lefebvre was the sole player to hit even a handful of home-runs, leading the team with eight.

Even if we limit it to just the first ten games, the lack of home-runs is still not common. Since the 1998 season, two National League clubs have matched Arizona’s lack of power, the 2010 Astros and the 2013 Marlins respectively. If you’re looking for omens from that, the news isn’t good. Neither of those teams did well, winning 76 and 62 games respectively. Our opponents tonight hit one out in the 11th game of their 2010 campaign, so if the D-backs don’t go deep this evening, it’ll be just us and the Marlins. They had to wait until the fourteenth game to hit their third home-run, but did catch up a bit thereafter, ending the season with 95.

But for the Diamondbacks, it’s particularly unprecedented. The previously low for home-runs in the first ten games was seven, most recently in 2018. Last year, with much the same roster, the Diamondbacks hit nineteen. Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and... ADAM JONES each had more home-runs through ten games in 2019, than the team has hit collectively this year. Jones led the team with four, by himself twice as many as everyone on the 2020 D-backs to date. Below, is a table listing some stats for the Arizona offense over the first ten games of the season. It’s easy to see the team is setting franchise lows, in just about every category.

D-backs offense, first 10 games

Year W L R HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SB CS
Year W L R HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SB CS
1998 2 8 25 8 21 75 .217 .270 .323 .593 3 0
1999 4 6 50 20 39 60 .260 .333 .472 .805 9 0
2000 7 3 46 17 42 60 .251 .329 .447 .776 7 2
2001 4 6 50 18 29 67 .264 .326 .480 .806 2 2
2002 5 5 39 15 29 52 .250 .312 .432 .744 3 1
2003 2 8 30 8 24 76 .223 .275 .349 .624 4 4
2004 4 6 54 13 38 48 .243 .318 .438 .757 2 0
2005 6 4 55 14 49 62 .280 .372 .478 .850 7 3
2006 5 5 48 11 36 65 .235 .318 .400 .718 1 1
2007 7 3 46 7 35 52 .254 .322 .377 .699 6 0
2008 8 2 62 20 40 74 .277 .356 .512 .868 5 1
2009 3 7 38 11 31 64 .229 .297 .402 .699 3 1
2010 5 5 63 16 44 78 .266 .348 .462 .811 3 0
2011 5 5 59 13 37 75 .296 .364 .482 .846 12 3
2012 7 3 48 14 42 82 .239 .326 .416 .742 10 3
2013 7 3 58 12 42 77 .272 .349 .437 .785 3 3
2014 2 8 38 7 24 69 .247 .296 .365 .661 6 2
2015 5 5 45 8 28 79 .242 .308 .372 .680 6 5
2016 3 7 40 11 22 81 .246 .298 .417 .715 6 2
2017 7 3 55 9 28 91 .283 .341 .451 .792 11 2
2018 8 2 47 7 46 95 .237 .329 .385 .714 6 2
2019 5 5 61 19 25 85 .288 .331 .528 .859 6 1
2020 3 7 27 2 28 82 .192 .268 .265 .533 2 2

Pre-game audio from Torey Lovullo

  • Varsho in Left, Peralta DH, Jake Lamb to bench
  • The idea is to get Peralta an extra half day off his feet and we shouldn’t read too much into it. It also gives them the opportunity to actually get Varsho in a game and play some defense. Hoping for some offensive spark from Varsho.
  • Torey was reluctant to address lineup construction process. Asked if Varsho could earn more playing time by having a big day today he refused to trap himself into committing to that, but obviously if somebody has a big day today it can influence how he is thinking about tomorrow’s lineup.
  • He has not changed his previous process of working out lineups a week in advance and informing players at least the night before if they will be in lineup the next day. But he is open minded about changes coming along quicker than they would over a 162 game schedule.
  • Jake Lamb note: From the Burns and Gambo show interview they discussed Jake Lamb’s situation and I definitely got the sense Lamb will be more of a role player going forward. That doesn’t mean he won’t be right back in the lineup tomorrow vs. McCullers or maybe Thursday against Greinke. Since they’ll face all right-handed starters this series I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get at least one start. But it’s significant nonetheless that Varsho is in there today.