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Diamondbacks Series Preview #3: Diamondbacks vs Reds

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The Diamondbacks will take the field at Chase for the first time this season,

A general view outside of Chase Field prior to the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What a disappointing start to the season. The Diamondbacks are limping into Chase after going 2-5 on their first road trip. Their pitching has been... not great, and the offense has been inconsistent, despite having three games at Coors Field. Seems like 98% of the team is on the IL right now, and those that aren’t might as well be.

On the other hand, the Reds are off to a great start to the season, going 5-1 combined against the Cardinals and Pirates and are looking to continue that on their first road trip of the season.

Game 1 : Taylor Widener vs Tyler Mahle

Originally, this game was supposed to be started by Caleb Smith, but Torey Lovullo’s quick hook from the rotation moved Widener up a day. In his only start of the season, Widener was phenomenal, going six scoreless innings while recording five strikeouts. It was easily the best start out of any of our starters on the road trip, and he’ll be looking to repeat it, or near enough, for the home team tonight.

Mahle had an equally good start to his season, going six innings and giving up 2 earned runs (3 total). He also recorded 9 k’s, while being reported as touching 98 MPH on his fastball. Pitchers like that are tough for any offense, but for one that has been as inconsistant as the Diamondbacks offense, that’s a red flag indeed.

Game 2: TBD vs Jeff Hoffman

The vacant spot in the rotation currently, following the removal of Smith. While Gallen does seem to be quickly ramping up, his last Alt Site game was on 80 pitches on Wednesday, which would seem to rule him out for Saturday, though stranger things have happened. One possibility on the active roster would be Taylor Clarke, who hasn’t pitched since Tuesday. They might possibly use him as an Opener, though that is pure speculation.

Hoffman went five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in his last start, giving up one earned run and striking out six, leading the Reds to a 12-1 victory against the Cards. However, that probably isn’t going to be the norm for a pitcher who has a career 6.30 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60.

Game 3: Luke Weaver vs Jose De Leon

Luke Weaver had a very Coors Field game for his first start of the season, going 5 23 innings, giving up four earned runs on three homers. Not the first start the pitcher was looking for after a rough 2020 season. He goes back home hoping the more neutral confines of Chase Field help keep the ball in the park a little more.

Jose De Leon struck out nine in five innings in his first start this season, which was also his first start since 2016 after spending the past several years splitting time between bullpens and the minors. He gave up two home runs, but managed a no decision in the game.

Conclusion

I think a lot of this boils down to what the plan ends up being on Saturday. Widener should be able to be counted on for a solid start if nothing else, but Weaver scares me a little. That leaves Saturday as the swing game. With that in mind, I say the Diamondbacks go 1-2, with their win coming during the Home Opener.