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Series Preview #19: Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

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And so we face the Final Curtain

The closed ticket windows at Chase Field, with a single, lonely Braves fan sitting on the far right of the fame, probably waiting for spring like the rest of us. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This strange, disappointing Diamondbacks season is coming to it’s conclusion. What we saw this season was a team that was clearly hurt by the long delay to the season, the lack of advanced scouting, and by lingering injuries that impacted several players that were supposed to be key members of the team. We’re left to wonder what would have happened if they had been able to start on schedule and play 162 games, but we’ll never know. What matters is 16 teams are going to the playoffs. The Diamondbacks will not be one of them.

I will admit, this season has hardly had my undivided attention. It was a combination of the team just not being good, the world at large generally being on fire, both literally and figuratively, and personal events in my life that have torn my attention away from such trivial pursuits. That being said, I will miss the background distraction that this team provided. There was a warm comfort to knowing that I could check the score, or come to this fantastic site and see your comments about the Diamondbacks.

Perhaps, even without games being played, MLB will still provide distractions for us. This offseason promises to have a ripple effect that will have impacts on this game we all love for possibly generations to come. What happens with the Free Agent Market this season will set the stage both for future off season’s contracts, as well as how hard of a line the MLBPA will take when it goes to negotiate the new CBA. Manfred, a pox upon his house, seems hell bent on completely rescuplting the very character of the sport, whether anyone on the field or in the (virtual) stands likes it or not. There will be plenty of discussions regarding rule changes to keep us occupied.

Closer to home, the Dbacks also promise to look a lot different come next season. COVID-19 has impacted the sports finances in a way nothing has in my lifetime, and possibly ever. Kendrick is cheap under the best of circumstances, and we’ve already seen moves towards decreasing payroll. I see no reason that won’t continue after the final out has been recorded. All around, it promises to be an interesting off season that we won’t forget any time soon, but first, we have four more games to play...


Game 1 (Double Header first half): Antonio Senzatela (5-2, 1.11 WHIP, 170 ERA+) vs Zac Gallen (2-2, 1.10 WHIP, 152 ERA+)

Senzatlela has been a very solid starter for the Rockies this season. He’s only had two games where he was tagged for more than three runs, and no starts less than five innings this season. One of the games where he gave up more than three runs, however, came against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field back in August. He also hasn’t been great at Chase Field, where he has a 4.60 ERA over eight games.

Gallen has been struggling since his streak ended. In those three games, he’s put up an ERA of 6.70, a huge departure from the beginning of the season and last season where opposing teams couldn’t buy a run off of him. He looked better last time out against the Astros, however. He gave up three runs, but only one was earned. He’ll look to finish the season on a strong note against the Rockies.

Game 2( Double Header second half): Antonio Santos (0-0, 2.06 WHIP, 66 ERA+) vs Taylor Clarke (2-0, 1.22 WHIP, 115 ERA+)

This game is being made up from August 22nd, due to the player social justice walkout

The second half of Friday’s double header will feature Antonio Santos’ first career start. He’s made two appearances for the Rockies this season, and given up five runs in just 5.1 innings. To be fair, however, both those relief appearances were in huge blow outs, so there may have been some pitching to the score going on.

Clarke won’t have seen game action in a week and a half by the time he takes the mound. His last time out was a win, even if it wasn’t a pretty one, with a final line of 5 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, and 2 HR. Hopefully the extra rest won’t have let too much rust build up on him.

Game 3: German Marquez (3-6, 1.29 WHIP, 130 ERA+) vs Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 1.58 WHIP, 62 ERA+)

Marquez has been very consistant this season. He’s only had two starts where he has given up more than 3 ERs all year. The Diamondbacks have squared off against him once this season, and were held to just three runs and six hits over five innings, a game they eventually lost 5-4.

Of all the people in baseball who are excited for 2020 to be over, Madison Bumgarner has got to be one of the most. By far his worst season on record by any metric. He almost doubled his previous worst ERA, almost doubled his previous worst HR/9, worst WHIP by 0.40, his K-to-BB ratio was half of his career norms, and, as has been documented extensively, lost quite a bit of velocity. Both he and the Diamondbacks will be looking towards 2021 for things to improve for the remainder of his 5 year contract.

Game 4: Kyle Freeland (2-2, 1.31 WHIP, 144 ERA+) vs Caleb Smith (0-0, 1.50 WHIP, 158 ERA+)

Kyle Freeland held the Diamondbacks to just two runs over seven innings back on August 11th. He’s had his ups and downs since then, but over all, has done well for the Rockies. Over his last four starts, he hasn’t gone less than six innings, and has held the opposition to two runs or less in three of those starts.

Smith is making his fourth start since coming over in the Starling Marte trade at the deadline. He had been on the IL with COVID when he was traded and has been slowly increasing his pitch count. Last start he was up to 78 pitches, so I imagine he should be scheduled to go 90 or so this time around.

Conclusion

And that will finish the season! The Rockies, like the Diamondbacks, aren’t a great team, but they’ve had our number this season. I’m going to say a series split, with the two wins coming from Gallen and Smith’s starts. Until next season!