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Preview #59: 9/26 vs. Rockies

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Luke Weaver makes his last start of a very disappointing 2020.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Raimel Tapia - LF Daulton Varsho - C
Kevin Pillar - RF Ketel Marte - SS
Charlie Blackmon - DH Christian Walker - 1B
Trevor Story - SS Kole Calhoun - DH
Josh Fuentes - 3B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Daniel Murphy - 1B David Peralta - LF
Elias Diaz - C Pavin Smith - RF
Ryan McMahon - 2B Josh VanMeter - 2B
Garrett Hampson - CF Jon Jay - CF
German Marquez - RHP Luke Weaver - RHP

The penultimate game of the season, with the D-backs seeking to extend their unbeaten streak past the current four games. Form would suggest they have a good chance: it’s amazing to think that at the end of play on August 8, the Colorado Rockies actually led the National League West by 112 games over the Dodgers. In fact, they had the best record in the NL to that point, at 11-3, and had outscored the opposition by 33 runs, close to two and a half per game. Since then? Worse than the Pirates, at 14-30, and outscored by 110 runs over that time - exactly two and a half per game. Even by the standards of Colorado, that’s one heck of a slump. I don’t know what caused this, and care less. I’m just amused by it.

On the other hand... Luke Weaver, who is 0-5 over his last six starts. He hasn’t actually pitched that badly, with a 4.76 ERA in those games and half of them resulting in a Game Score of 50 or better. I wonder how much of his struggles this year have been a hangover from the injury which detailed his 2019 campaign? He has certainly been a pale shadow of that pitcher:
Weaver 2019: 12 GS, 64.1 IP, 55 H, 22 R, 21 ER, 14 BB, 69 SO, 2.94 ERA
Weaver 2020: 11 GS, 47.0 IP, 56 H, 34 R, 34 ER, 18 BB, 49 SO, 6.51 ERA
Hard to say if Weaver or Bumgarner is the worst disappointment of the 2020 rotation. I guess MadBum edges it on cost, but hopes were likely higher for Weaver after his 2019.

Pregame audio from Torey Lovullo

Travis Bergen sent to Alternate site, want to get a look at Silvino Bracho. “One thing I do want to say about Travis is that he was knifed into some tough situations early. I think we watched him improve over the past couple of outings. We gave him those two innings yesterday and he just gave us a quick snapshot of what we can expect and work on through the course of an offseason.” He started to land his breaking ball better, and fastball command improved. But breaking ball stood out for Torey.

Nick Ahmed: out of lineup because he played both games yesterday, off today so he can finish strong tomorrow. He might have hurt his foot or ankle a little yesterday impacting the bag late in 2nd game yesterday but not a factor.

Ketel Marte: Giving Ketel a “snapshot of how he’ll be used next year” was also a priority. Torey could not answer clearly where he sees Ketel’s long term future, 2b or CF. He feels if he was able to let him play just one position he’d win a gold glove. Asked if there were any physical limitations with him playing CF all the time: “No, not if it’s done right “ Pressed on what he meant by that he responded that done right means, “Where the manager doesn’t play him every day and break his back” They need to be more careful with his workload.

Converting starters into relievers: I asked Torey an extended question about what were some of the main factors they look at when deciding whether a guy is a good candidate to convert to short, high leverage reliever. Beyond the obvious of no room in the rotation, here are the key points Torey hit on:

  1. Having a third pitch is crucial to being a starter. If he has two good pitches, but is missing the third pitch, it’s going to be hard to be a dependable starter for an entire season. So consideration starts there.
  2. Holding velocity (on back to back days) is one consideration that jumps up at him
  3. The “Heartbeat”. What does he look like when he gets into a little bit of traffic situations? How does he respond to giving up a run or two?
  4. Does he have a swing and miss pitch? Does he have a pitch that he can throw in the zone, land in the zone, and can he get a swing and a miss with it?