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D-backs Preview #14: 4/16 @ Nationals

Another day facing another former Diamondback starter...

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images


Today's Lineups

Tim Locastro - CF Trea Turner - SS
Kole Calhoun - RF Juan Soto - RF
Asdrubal Cabrera - 1B Josh Bell - 1B
David Peralta - LF Kyle Schwarber - LF
Josh VanMeter - 2B Josh Harrison - 2B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Starlin Castro - 3B
Carson Kelly - C Alex Avila - C
Josh Rojas - SS Victor Robles - CF
Taylor Widener - RHP Max Scherzer - RHP

Amazing to think it was back in 2009 that Max Scherzer was last a member of the Diamondbacks. I believe Justin Upton and the apparently immortal Yusmeiro Petit are the only other members of that roster still playing baseball. Tom Gordon, for example, is now fifty-three years old... Since then, Scherzer spent five years in Detroit, but really blossomed after signing as a free agent with the Nationals in January 2015. He posted back-to-back Cy Young wins, with a runner-up spot tacked on for good measure. But is the best of Max now behind him? Last season was the first time since 2012 he wasn’t an All-Star and was also left off Cy Young ballots.

Just don’t expect walks. Since 2015, his K/BB ratio is 5.84, beaten only be Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale among pitchers with 600+ IP over that time. Over his two starts and 12 innings this year, the ratio is 14:1. We’ll see if the D-backs recent patience - they’ve averaged close to six walks a game since the series finale in Colorado - holds up against Scherzer. Yesterday, after just one HBP in the first dozen games - Tim Locastro, natch - they also got on base five times through HBP, which was a new franchise record for a single game. There didn’t seem to be any intent, so I doubt it’ll carry forward. Overall, they’ve still hit opponents more often than they’ve been hit (7 vs. 6).

Matt Herges notes

  • He feels that Madison Bumgarner just needs to go back to being who he is and believe in himself. He also needs to go back to working in his bullpens as he used to do and get away a bit from using analytics and pitch design input. He said this is who he is, he doesn’t need new pitches, he just needs to throw strikes, believe in his fastball and challenge hitters.
  • He was emotional talking about Luke Weaver’s outing. He says that while he believes there is a good curveball in there, and the slider is something they’ll eventually get back to as well, he believes Weaver can be successful with a two-pitch mix of fastball/changeup.
  • The audio is long. Herges likes to talk ;)

Matt Herges audio [or link]

Torey Lovullo notes

  • On facing Max Scherzer: They respect him and know how good he is, but they have a gameplan and they feel they can score runs off any pitcher they’re facing and tonight should be no exception.
  • Nick Ahmed is on a designed day off to get him off his feet. No setbacks, and in fact Nick pushed back when being told he’d be out of the lineup today. He may get in the game if needed.
  • Lineup Construction changes: It is new for Torey to have THIS much daily change in his lineups. “I have a lot of people around me that are helping me make these decisions” This has all been communicated to the players early and often not to be affected by the change, just go out there and have your at bats normally no matter where you’re hitting.” Torey said the players have accepted that.
  • Confidence in Andrew Young in the outfield after last night : He admitted that it’s not perfect, but they had a good conversation after he took him out of the game to “thank him for going out there with probably some doubt and still managing to block it out to hit the grand slam to break the game open.“ Going forward he will not back off sending Young or Wyatt Mathisen out to left field when he needs to sit David Peralta
  • Joakim Soria’s bullpen was moved up to today, but he didn’t have info on how it went
  • Ketel Marte continued to do “light forward running”, played catch, and hit off a tee. I don’t have Instagram, but there is a Ketel Marte video of what exactly light forward running is ;) Asked if Ketel would be playing more 2b when he comes back Torey made reference to some of the roster construction challenges he faces: “We’re minus a right handed hitting outfielder………and a right handed hitting infielder with Christian Walker out. That’s going to be my starting point. If we feel like there is a need for a chance we can make that adjustment. I’m sure it will be discussed. “
  • Christian Walker has not yet begun taking swings.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]