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Series Preview #22: Diamondbacks @ Giants

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Buster Posey is having a great season

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals
Is Buster Posey on a HOF path ?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The last place 20-46 Diamondbacks start a four game series against the first place San Francisco Giants tonight. At 40-25 the Giants are clinging to a one game lead over the Dodgers and a three game lead over the Padres. They’re are 6-4 in their last 10. Coming off a 2-2 split of a four game series with the Nationals, they were outscored 8-3 and shutout twice in that series but still managed the split. The Diamondbacks......well they’re 0-10 in their last 10. So there’s that.

The Giants have a good offense, tied for 2nd in the NL with a 103 OPS+. One must remember when looking at their unadjusted averages that PacBell/AT&T/Oracle park is a very pitcher friendly environment with a multi year park factor of 96. Their team .230 Batting Average ranks just 12th, but they are 3rd in the NL in walks and 2nd in HR.

Buster Posey continues his renaissance, toting a 171 OPS+ on a .329/.400/.571 triple slash and 11 homers to boot. Posey is 34 years old and currently has 43 career bWAR. It’s worth noting that while WAR typically underrates catchers somewhat, there aren’t any catchers over 50 WAR that are not in the Hall of Fame. Here are the top 10 catchers in bWAR not in the HOF. (50% of games at catcher). Posey and Molina are the only actives. If Posey managed to stay healthy enough to play 3 more seasons at this level he will get very serious consideration for the HOF.

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Evan Longoria was having a great season too, but that’s been interrupted by a shoulder injury that will keep him out 4 to 6 weeks. Brandon Crawford has 14 HR and a 141 OPS+ and his defense is still well in the black, +2 rDRS. He leads the team with 2.4 bWAR and his fWAR of 2.1 is second only to Posey on the team. Steven Duggar and Mike Yastrzemski have 1.5 bWAR a piece, with 126 and 119 OPS+ respectively.

The Giants 122 ERA+ ranks 3rd in the NL, just a tick behind the Mets and the Padres. Tyler Rogers ( 1.65 ERA/3.74 FIP, 8 saves) has taken over the closer role from Jake McGee (3.62 ERA/3.81 FIP, 12 saves) since mid may. The Giants lead the league with 24 saves but have blown 14, for a 63% Save Rate. Overall Fangraphs rates their bullpen just 11th of 15 in the NL, due to their bullpen FIP being quite a bit higher than their ERA. (3.38 ERA vs. 4.20 FIP)

Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, the Giants are just 12-10 in on run games, and 10-4 in blowouts. Their +69 run differential is second only to the Dodgers and their pythagorean Won Loss matches their 40-25 record exactly. While the Fangraphs projections have them going 47-50 the rest of the year to finish 87-75, there is nothing flukey about their results year to date. They’ve played as well as their record suggests.

The strength of the Giants staff has been the rotation. Their starters ERA of 3.20 ranks 3rd in the NL , even when park adjusted. Their FIP is a touch higher, but still very good, 3.44, 4th best in the NL. But they’ve lost a couple of starters too. Logan Webb is out with a shoulder injury and Aaron Sanchez has a biceps strain. As you’ll see below, the series projected starters for both teams are dotted with TBA’s.

Giants Baseball Reference Page

Ah...the Diamondbacks. Their .303 W% is a pace for 49-113 record. While it may seem unfathomable that they won’t see some improvement and positive regression to their one run record has to happen at some point, doesn’t it.....?, nonetheless their pitching staff has completely and utterly disintegrated. Not only has this lead to loss after loss, it’s also starting to really fray the clubhouse. With the hitting coaches getting fired and the blame for the team’s failings seemingly put on the offense, the position players are starting to feel resentful and defensive. Lets be clear....this is not a good offense. The team 87 OPS+ ranks 12th in the NL. And even that lowly ranking does not reveal how bad they’ve been since the calendar turned to May.

Getting Carson Kelly, Asdrubal Cabrera and Christian Walker back from the injured list has not helped at all. In fact they’ve hurt the team more than the guys that were sent down upon their returns.

Kelly is just 8 for 56 (.143) with 1 HR, 3 walks and 20 strikeouts since coming back. Cabrera is 1 for 15 with 6 K’s and 2 walks. The lone hit was an infield single. Walker is 9 for 46, (.196) with 1 homer , 5 RBI 0 walks, and 5 K’s since returning from his second trip to the IL. For you kids counting at home, between the three of them thats 18 for 117, .154 B.A. with 2 Homers, 5 walks and 31 K’s.

Ketel Marte has hit decently since returning, .321, but just 2 HR. Pavin Smith continues to chug along, providing good at bats most of the time and decent if unspectacular production (115 OPS+). Josh Rojas has been up and down but also sports a 115 OPS+. Veterans David Peralta and Eduardo Escobar have league average 100 OPS+, but Nick Ahmed continues to have the season from hell at the plate, with just a 64 OPS+. Newcomer Josh Reddick’s BABIP fueled batting average has dropped to .274 and he has yet to homer. He has just one Barrel on the year so far.

As for the pitching, the D-backs are duking it out with Minnesota for the worst pitching in the league. (82 ERA+ vs. 81 ERA+) With Zac Gallen, Madison Bumgarner, Taylor Widener a Luke Weaver all on the injured list, with only Gallen possibly returning before the 4th of July, they’ve had to turn to their minor league system, 2nd year players, and journeymen to fill the gaps. It hasn’t gone well. 23 starts, 2-15 record, 7.56 ERA.

As for the bullpen, I’m not going to waste the word count. It’s the worst pen in the league, they don’t have ANYONE to close out games, and only a couple of guys that are even halfway decent, (Taylor Clarke and Stefan Crichton)

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUPS

Monday, June 14th , 6:45 P.M.

AZ: Matt Peacock, 13 G, 34.1 IP 5.24 ERA, 4.90 FIP , 80 ERA+

SFO: Alex Wood, 10 G, 57 IP, 3.79 ERA. 4.01 FIP, 102 ERA+

Peacock is making his 6th start. He came out of his last game after trying to field a come backer barehanded but felt fine in his bullpen session. He’s had trouble with walks his last couple of outings.

The oft injured Wood got off to a very hot start, but has been banged around in his last 3 starts. Shall we try for 4 ?

Tuesday June 14th, 6:45 P.M.

Both teams TBD, I’ll update later tonight

Wednesday June 16th, 6:45 P.M.

AZ: Merrill Kelly, 13 G, 75 IP 5.14 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 81 ERA+

SFO: Anthony Desclafini, 13 G, 76 IP, 3.09 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 125 ERA+

Kelly has been the only pitcher on the team able to consistently pitch into and past the 5th inning. But he doesn’t have a win since late April and still manages to give up more runs than you’d like to see. He’s your best shot for a starter to get deep into a game at this point

Desclafini has been an amazing steal signing for the Giants. Signed to a one year, $6M deal, he tossed his second shutout of the season in his previous start against the Nationals.

Thursday June 17th, 12:45 P.M DAY GAME

Both teams TBD. Will update as available.

There is no more lipstick to put on this pig. This team better figure out a way to win A baseball game. That’s all else I can say.