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D-backs Game Preview, #12: 4/20 @ Nationals

Will April showers bring May flowers? So far, it has been more like April monsoons for the D-backs hitters.

Spring Tour Photo credit should read Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS NATIONALS
Daulton Varsho - CF Cesar Hernandez - 2B
Ketel Marte - 2B Juan Soto - RF
David Peralta - LF Nelson Cruz - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Josh Bell - 1B
Seth Beer - DH Keibert Ruiz - C
Pavin Smith - RF Yadiel Hernandez - LF
Carson Kelly - C Maikel Franco - 3B
Sergio Alcantara - SS Alcides Escobar - SS
Yonny Hernandez - 3B Victor Robles - CF
Merrill Kelly - RHP Erick Fedde - RHP

Hey, I’m not doing a preview as dawn creeps slowly over the Arizona horizon! So that’s nice. If only the team would play in a way that makes me interested enough to pay attention. The offense continues to struggle terribly. Arizona’s batting average of .156 is the lowest in recorded baseball history for March/April, currently undercutting the .167 mark set by the White Sox before the war. Uh, I mean the first war, since that took place one hundred and thirteen years ago, in 1909. Y’know: in the dead ball era? The lowest since the ball came to life was .176 by the 1972 Brewers. Who played one fewer game than the Diamondbacks already have, and of course, also had their pitchers hitting.

But there are a number of players on the 2022 Diamondbacks for whom a .156 average would be a marked improvement. Four qualifying batters are currently below .120: Christian Walker (.118), Cooper Hummel (.100), Geraldo Perdomo (.045) and Carson Kelly (.040 - very lucky to have that, his only hit being a result of Starling Marte losing a fly-ball in the sun). But there have been worse starts to the season. Indeed, 21 times a batter has had 25+ PA in March/April, and batted .039 or lower. That includes some well-known names, such as Scottish-born Bobby Thompson, author of ‘The Shot Heard ‘round the World’, who opened 1959 by going 1-fo-27, but ended up hitting .259 for the season.

The worst was likely Richie Scheinblum, who was 0-for-30 through April 30th, 1969 for the Indians. He had two walks in the month, for an OPS of .061. The most recent players with a lower batting average than Kelly for March/April came in 2019, when three men did so. They included former Diamondback Daniel Palka, who was 1-for-35 (.029), though did at least draw six walks. This season, Kelly is tied at .040 with another catcher, the Rays’ Mike Zunino, Since his only hit was a single, Carson actually had the OPS edge on him, by 37 points. The four men mentioned above are all in the bottom twenty, of the 270 players to have had 25+ PAs to date. Seven are currently at or above .400.

But we are still very much in the “small sample size” part of the schedule, at least for individual stats. For the Diamondbacks’ overall though, they are now a hair short of 400 collective PAs, which is beginning to feel like a significant amount. Only one team in baseball history has played 20+ games by the end of April and averaged fewer than the D-backs’ current two runs per game. The Expos scored 45 runs over 24 games in April 2004. Arizona have eleven games left before the end of the month, so let’s see what happens in the second half of their April schedule.