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D-backs Preview #33: 5/8 @ Mets

Where have the runs gone?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Carson Kelly - C Jeff McNeil - 2B
Josh Rojas - RF Francisco Lindor - SS
Christian Walker - 1B Michael Conforto - RF
David Peralta - LF Pete Alonso - 1B
Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B Dominic Smith - LF
Eduardo Escobar - 2B Kevin Pillar - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS Jonathan Villar - 3B
Tim Locastro - CF James McCann - C
Merrill Kelly - RHP Tommy Hunter - RHP

Remember when it seemed like an endless buffet of free tacos? Ah, those were the days. It looks as if leaving Arizona has been a problem for the D-backs, who have scored a total of just eight runs over four games so far on this road-trip. The concerning thing is, this lack of offense away from Chase is exactly how a nightmare slump started in 2020. On August 18, the D-backs were 13-11, and had just pounded the A’s 10-1, concluding a nine-game streak where eight provided tacos. Then, a West-coast swing through Oakland and San Francisco saw the team suddenly unable to hit. That began a skid where the Diamondbacks lost eight in a row, scoring 19 runs in total. By the time that slump all ended, Arizona sat at 15-29.

Obviously, past performance is no guarantee of a repeat here, and the offense overall has not been quite as bad. On this trip, Arizona is hitting .207/.293/.257 for a .550 OPS. On the five-game road-trip to hell last year, they batted a collective .172/.219/.236 for a .455 OPS, almost a hundred points worse. The problem this season, as well-documented, has been an inability to hit with runners in scoring position: 3-for-34, culminating in last night’s horrendous 1-for-16 performance there. You do feel they’re not going to bat less than .100 forever in those situations, and I’d rather strand runners in scoring position, than not get runners there at all. In other words: hey, at least we didn’t get no-hit by Wade Miley!

Torey Lovullo notes

  • No time table update for Ketel Marte. The running has intensified. The live AB’s are game ready. He worked with Dave McKay in the outfield. He still has some boxes to check before his next steps. He is unlikely to play less centerfield when he comes back, and has not been training for infield. He could play there in a pinch, but they are covered on the infield at the moment. They will monitor the workload when he comes back and pick the right days to give him time off
  • Last night they hit 10 singles, but no extra base hits. So far on this road trip the XBH and homers have not been nearly as plentiful as they were previously. Torey did not have any theories as to why. He feels they’ve hit some balls that were close to leaving the ballpark: “Our main goal is to do pull side damage in the air, and we want to slug. That’s something we are very good at doing. We’ve been doing it in the right way at the right times during the season with the exception of this road trip”
  • He’s not wrong. They are 4th in the NL for Right Handed Pull OPS, and 5th in the NL for Left Handed Pull OPS. I asked him if he felt that playing in big NL East Ballparks in humid weather was a factor and whether it affected the hitters or approach but he did not feel that was a factor at all. He was surprised to learn they have an 8 game losing streak in Citi Field.
  • Madison Bumgarner’s wrist after getting hit by a pitch Thursday has caused no further issues.
  • Bullpen: Asked if giving up late runs sucks the life out of a team: “Yeah, I mean it hurts, but there were other parts of the game yesterday that I can point to. that put us in that position.” Asked what strategies he uses to help pitchers get over a bad outing and not dwell on them: “I’m a big believer in getting him right back out there as soon as possible so he doesn’t have to chomp on it for a few more days before he gets an opportunity. Sometimes it works and I get that opportunity and sometimes I don’t. But I want to get that guy back in the saddle and let him show us what he can do.“

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]