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Series Preview # 38 : Diamondbacks vs Padres

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With Tatis Jr. on the IL, with good pitching matchups, Diamondbacks will challenge the Padres.

Jake Cronenworth of the Padres.
Jake Cronenworth of the Padres.
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Let’s look at the top batters on each team.

The following table shows homers, RBIs, and wOBA for the top three batters on each team.

Games through 7 August. Data from Baseball Savant and Baseball Reference.

Tatis and Machado had the highest HRs, RBIs, and wOBA. And ranked third, Jake Cronenworth’s homers and RBIs would make him the leader if he were a Diamondback. With Tatis Jr on the IL, that significantly boosts the winning chances for the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks’ top batters were more balanced than the Padres’ top batters. Seven players were ranked in the top 3 for at least one of homer, RBIs, and wOBA. That balance significantly boosts the winning chances for the Diamondbacks.

Although the Diamondbacks batters were more balanced, it appears that they were less consistent in scoring runs. Let’s look at how often the team offenses scored 2 runs or less, an indication of inconsistency.

  • 33 games out of 113 for Padres.
  • 39 games out of 113 for Diamondbacks.
  • Data through 8 August from Baseball Reference.

Let’s compare the bullpens.

Three statistics (ERA, RBIs, and wOBA) tell most of the story.

The Padres bullpen’s ERA was better than the Diamondbacks.

  • 2.91 for Padres (best in the NL West).
  • 5.39 for Diamondbacks (fourth in the NL West).
  • Data through 6 August from Baseball Reference.

How often do these teams win when they are ahead after 6 or 7 innings? The following data supports the idea that the Padres’ bullpen was better than the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, especially when the game was tied. Data through 8 August from Baseball Reference.

Winning percentages after 6 innings:

  • Ahead: Padres .941, Dbacks .694
  • Tied: Padres .600, Dbacks .312
  • Behind: Padres .130, Dbacks .082

Winning percentages after 7 innings:

  • Ahead: Padres .981, Dbacks .778
  • Tied: Padres .700, Dbacks .182
  • Behind: Padres .062, Dbacks .047

In summary, the Padres batters and the Padres bullpen compared favorably to the Diamondbacks. Next, let’s look at where the teams are more evenly matched - the pitching matchups

Pitching Matchups.

Thursday, Yu Darvish (3.43 ERA) vs Taylor Widener (4.89 ERA)

Recently, Yu Darvish pitched better against the Diamondbacks. Looking at the 7 Diamondbacks who previously faced Darvish (min 5 PAs), and had PAs against him in a recent game (7 August), they had 40% less hits per AB (.200 vs .333) and 57% more strikeouts per AB (.450 vs .287). Data from Baseball Reference.

This season, Taylor Widener and Madison Bumgarner are tied with 5 consecutive games started for the Diamondbacks with at least one homer allowed. If Taylor Widener allows a homer in this game, he will take the lead for this record.

As is well known, Taylor Widener is at his best the first two times through the batting order. This game could be a challenge the third time through the order.

Friday, Blake Snell (4.86 ERA) vs Madison Bumgarner (4.42 ERA)

Recently, Blake Snell pitched better against the Diamondbacks. Looking at the 3 Diamondbacks who previously faced Snell (min 5 PAs), and had PAs against him in a recent game (8 August), they had 100% less hits per AB (.000 vs .111) and 67% more strikeouts per AB (.556 vs .333). Data from Baseball Reference.

Let’s compare starting pitchers league wide. Let’s narrow our comparison to innings two through seven, and games after the All-Star break (16 July through 8 August).

Madison Bumgarner’s .256 wOBA ranked 5th of the 41 qualifying pitchers with a minimum of 400 pitches. Wow! And Blake Snell’s wOBA was .346.

Lets broaden our search by requiring only 300 pitches. Bumgarner’s ranking dropped to 14 out of 151, which remains great. What is remarkable is Merrill Kelly’s .252 wOBA ranked 13th! Data from Baseball Savant.

This game could be a pitching duel.

Saturday, Joe Musgrove (2.87 ERA) vs TBA, possibly Jake Faria (4.85 ERA as a starter)

Batting against Joe Musgrove, David Peralta hit a single, two doubles, and a triple; Asdrubal Cabrera hit a homer. Despite his 131 ERA+, my prediction is that the Diamondbacks score runs and keep the game close.

Caleb Smith was moved to the bullpen. Although this game could be a bullpen game, possibly Jake Faria will start. Although it was more than a month ago, he started three games. On 3 July, Faria led off the third inning with a double. The Diamondbacks scored 2 runs that inning.

The Diamondbacks have good chances to win this game.

Sunday, TBA, possibly Reiss Knehr (3.12 ERA) vs Zac Gallen (4.62 ERA)

Rookie Reiss Knehr’s best pitch is his 4-seam fastball with its’ negative 3.9 RV/100 per Baseball Savant. He appeared twice as a starter and once as a reliever.

Because last season Zac Gallen received votes for the Cy Young, it surprises me that this season the Diamondbacks lost 10 of his last 11 starts. This game could be unsurprising.

With this matchup, the Diamondbacks have good chances to win.