In their first season back from the All Star Break, the Diamondbacks, stop me if you heard this one before, lost two out of three to the Chicago Cubs. The bullpen squandered strong performances from both Bumgarner and Gallen, and the offense looked like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, but this time after drinking a 40. Yes, I’m looking at you Kole Calhoun.
The Pirates, on the other hand, picked up two convincing wins against the Mets to start off their second half. Their first half wasn’t great, however, and they are currently sitting 19 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central.
Game 1: Caleb Smith (2-6, 1.36 WHIP, 92 ERA+) vs. Chase De Jong (1-3, 1.52 WHIP, 74 ERA+)
Caleb Smith was perhaps looking forward to the All Star Break more than any player in baseball. To say he had a rough couple of outings leading up to the time off is a huge understatement. In his second to last start, he gave up five earned runs over six innings to the San Francisco Giants, and followed that up with a 1+ inning, 9 ER, 3 HR performance against the Dodgers. Hopefully the time off has been good for him and allowed him to get rested up and ready to go for this start.
Chase De Jong started the season in AAA, and he joined the Big League club on May 30th. He’s seems to have had a pretty firm cap of 5 innings, having not pitched over that in any game this season. Two of his last five starts have resulted in 5 innings pitched and 5 runs given up and both of those were on the road.
Game 2: TBD vs. Tyler Anderson (5-8, 1.19, 95 ERA+)
Tyler Anderson was on a stretch of pretty good performances leading up to the All Star Break. He hasn’t given up more than three runs since June 22nd, including a seven scoreless innings tossed against the Mets in his second to last start before the break.
Game 3: Madison Bumgarner (4-6, 1.18 WHIP, 78 ERA+) vs. TBD
TBD switches dugouts and pitches for the Pirates in this one.
Bumgarner made his long awaited return from the IL in the first game back from the break. He put up six innings of two runs, one of which was earned, and six strike outs. After a six game stretch were it looked like he had finally figured things out, it definately looked like he was pitching injured for four starts. Hopefully, he’s healed and healthy and will pick up where he was before the injury.
This is another series of two bad teams facing off, as evidence by not a single scheduled pitcher having an above average ERA+. The Diamondbacks best chanced comes in Bumgarner’s start, and I think the Pirates have a pretty good chance in Anderson’s start. That just leaves it down to the first game of the series. Smith has not been good his past couple starts, and while De Jong hasn’t had a great run of things either, I just don’t trust the Diamondbacks offense to take advantage of bad pitching at this point. Dbacks lose the series 2-1.