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D-backs Preview #30: 5/5 @ Marlins

If it seems like the closer the game is, the worse Arizona pitches...

Arizona Diamondbacks v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Tim Locastro - CF Miguel Rojas - SS
Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B Jesus Aguilar - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Corey Dickerson - LF
Eduardo Escobar - 2B Adam Duvall - RF
Pavin Smith - RF Brian Anderson - 3B
David Peralta - LF Isan Diaz - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Lewis Brinson - CF
Stephen Vogt - C Sandy Leon - C
Luke Weaver - RHP Ross Detwiler - LHP

Pitching problems

Last night was another rough go for the Diamondbacks bullpen, which melted down in a six-run eighth inning. A bit part of the problem has been that the team seems to pitch worse, the closer the game is. Here are the Arizona staff OPS’s for various game margins (regardless of whether ahead or behind):

  • Margin > 4 runs: .629 OPS
  • Within 4 runs: .816 OPS
  • Within 3 runs: .837 OPS
  • Within 2 runs: .854 OPS
  • Within 1 run: .855 OPS
  • Tied game: .862 OPS

Anthony Swarzak is the poster child for this. He faced one batter with the score tied, allowing a home-run to Seth Brown, as the Oakland’s A’s came back from 5-1 down after six innings. But Madison Bumgarner, J.B. Bukauskas, Riley Smith and Alex Young all have an OPS over 1.000 against them in such situations. opposing hitters being 16-for-41 (.390) with the scores level. Overall, the D-backs also have an OPS 123 points worse when they are behind (.823 vs. .700). That makes for an uphill struggle, though the team still has nine comeback wins, three more than the league average. That would seem to be more on the offense than the pitching, however.

Torey Lovullo notes

  • Merrill Kelly is likely to make his next start, which will be either Saturday or Sunday in New York. Torey could not discuss his situation, or why he’s on the IL. Based on precedents around the league this could possibly mean that he is on the IL due to contact tracing issues but based on Torey’s confidence he probably tested negative. This is speculative, however the main thing to know is his shoulder is fine and this IL stint has nothing to do with the Thoracic Outlet Surgery he had last year.
  • Torey was asked why he didn’t just use Dualton Varsho behind the plate (instead of Stephen Vogt) after putting him in as a pinch hitter in the top of the 8th last night. He acknowledged that he wants Varsho concentrating on one thing at a time. He’ll eventually get reps at catcher but right now he needs to focus on outfield play and his hitting. Varsho’s playing time at the Alt Site was split roughly 50/50 between catching and outfield.
  • The Marlins only indicated late last night they were starting a lefty today (Ross Detwiler). Torey doesn’t expect him to go more than 2-3 innings however, so thinking about the middle and end of the game where they are likely to face mostly right handed relievers, he and the coaches decided to keep a few left hand batters in the lineup.
  • The Diamondbacks have the 2nd best OPS (.899) against left hand pitchers by left hand batters in the National League. LINK.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]