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D-backs Preview #28: 5/2 vs. Rockies

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Time for a quick palate cleanser, I think...

New York Mets v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ROCKIES DIAMONDBACKS
Raimel Tapia - LF Pavin Smith - 1B
Garrett Hampson - CF Josh VanMeter - 2B
Trevor Story - SS Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Ryan McMahon - 3B David Peralta - LF
Matt Adams - 1B Stephen Vogt - C
Yonathan Daza - RF Josh Rojas - SS
Elias Diaz - C Daulton Varsho - RF
Alan Trejo - 2B Nick Heath - CF
Chi Chi Gonzalez - RHP Merrill Kelly - RHP

The two teams have combined for 37 runs over the first three games of the series, Arizona scoring 18 and Colorado 19. That probably shouldn’t be too surprising, The D-backs and Rockies rank second and third in the National League for runs scored per game (behind the Reds)... but also rank first and third respectively for runs allowed, separated by the Braves. They’re doing their best to buck the trend towards lower scoring, which Jack has been monitoring. Overall, runs per game in the NL are down 0.39 on last year, to 4.32. which would be the lowest figure since 2015 (4.11). Most concerningly, hits per game are at an all-time low, the average being 7.67, beneath the record set 113 years ago in 1908.

Another oddity is the recent spike in plunkings. HBPs had consistently been in the 0.30-0.40 per game range from 1995 through 2018. But the last three years have seen figures of 0.43, 0.50 and 0.55. We hadn’t seen a figure above 0.40 since 1900. The persistent trend of the past three seasons does suggest something systemic about this, perhaps with pitchers throwing inside more. Fastball velocity also being an all-time high (an average of 93.3 mph this year) may also be a factor, reducing the chances of batters being able to get out of the way. Or perhaps other teams have realized that Tim Locastro is the new market inefficiency... :)

Torey Lovullo notes

I asked Torey about the pitching staff, taking turns between the Rotation and Bullpen going through poor stretches, resulting in a bottom 5 performance in MLB year to date. He addressed the Rotation first:

“You know it’s funny, a week ago we were whistling dixie about how well we were throwing the baseball. I think it’s just about being consistent...........it’s about getting that attack plan, understanding where you’ve got to go and how to get those big outs. How you keep yourself from having your pitch count climb quickly which will only lead you to pitch deeper into games.”

On the bullpen there was a hint of frustration perhaps with the tools that he has to work with:

The relievers just [need to] continue to be prepared and ready. Nobody has really solidified any roles. You can see that I’ve mixed and matched as best as I possibly could. Just to make sure they go out and address things inside of what they can control and that might be the simplest solution for all of us on a daily basis.

I followed up with a question about Corbin Martin and Jon Duplantier to try to get a sense of whether we can expect any help from them in the near future. While both are “doing well” and still being stretched out as starters, It didn’t sound like we should expect to see either any time soon. He seemed concerned about the consistency from Martin and Dup’s stuff sounds like it has been just O.K. But listen for yourself and let me know if you think I’m misinterpreting his comments.

Injury Updates:

Tim Locastro and Christian Walker are both playing in games at the Alt Site today. Torey would not commit to bringing them on the charter to start the upcoming road trip. But clearly they will be back before Ketel Marte who has not played in any Alt Site Games.

Tuesday’s starter is still TBD, they have not committed to Riley Smith making that start yet. We might know by end of day today. There are no health issues as far as the rotation options go.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]