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D-backs Preview #10: 4/11 vs. Reds

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The Diamondbacks have been slow out of the gate this year.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Line-up

Apologies for formatting. This preview is being written at Village Inn!

If it seems like Arizona has been playing catch-up a lot of the time this year, that's because they have. The opposition has scored first in seven of their nine games to date, including each of the last five. They have trailed at the end of three innings in every game bar one - that was the finale in San Diego, where Arizona had a 3-0 lead. Perhaps most startlingly, over the team's other eight games combined, they have scored just ONCE before the fifth inning. All told, over the front four frames, the Diamondbacks have been outscored by a margin of 30-4. I imagine this is not quite the "downhill baseball" favored by manager Torey Lovullo.

As Jack previously mentioned in a GDT, that's mostly on the offense. In innings 1-3, Arizona has batted .175/.252/.227 for a .479 OPS. With almost a hundred at-bats (97) in the books there, they have yet to hit a homer, and have 32 strikeouts. Though the pitching staff are not exempt from responsibility. Over the same time frame, our opponents have hit .321/.398/.589 for a .988 OPS. That's more than double the D-backs production. On the plus side, Arizona has only blown one lead in a game that they eventually lost. Can't blow a lead if you never have one... /insert pointing at head meme.

Torey Lovullo notes

“Kid from Ithaca college, from Syracuse, not far from Cooperstown. He’s understood the history of the game...... It’s going to be there forever on that moment, he set a MAJOR LEAGUE record and handed the base to his Mom”

The team believes in an 80% success threshold as the break even point....they want to do better than 80%. Now that the record is set we shouldn’t expect him to be taking more reckless base stealing chances.

Josh VanMeter is in the lineup at 2b today and we should expect to continue to see a rotation at 2b between Eduardo Escobar, VanMeter, and Josh Rojas. It’s a delicate balance. He’s trying to get Cabrera as many at bats as possible. But he has to be mindful of his workload. (When Cabrera plays 3rd Escobar moves to 2b).

Kole Calhoun is just getting a targeted off day as part of the GAMEPLAN [Drink!] to keep his workload and recovery on track.

Torey Lovullo audio

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/22436523/1482_E_Elgin_Pl_87.mp3

Nick Ahmed notes

Nick Ahmed’s knee felt great after last night’s game. He feels like he can play defense how he wants to, run like he wants to, etc. It’s not perfect, but there are very few times during the season you feel perfect anyway. He just has to deal with it and stay on top of making sure it stays in a good spot. It’s not something that is going to completely be gone. Interestingly he said it bothers him more when he jogs as opposed to quick movements or bursts of running that come with in game intensity, etc.

He felt good about his swing decisions and not chasing pitches out of the zone, and feels his timing will get better with more at bats.

He discussed the play last night on the Mike Moustakas bouncer and acknowledged he made a mistake throwing to first instead of taking the out at second.

Interesting comment about the team’s slow start compared to the first 10 or so games last year: “Well, it’s not 1/6th of our season.” He spoke of the reasons for optimism. Then followed with this: “There is a difference between urgency and panic.” I think last year we had too many of us because of the short season ...we didn’t really have urgency, we had more panic and I think that hurt guys more than helped. We have urgency and guys are already digging in and trying to make the necessary adjustments on the things that they need to.

Nick Ahmed audio

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/22436522/1481_E_Folley_Pl_28.mp3