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D-backs Game Preview, #3: 4/9 vs. Padres

The debut of Zach Davies as a Diamondback

Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Trent Grisham - CF Daulton Varsho - CF
Matt Beaty - LF Ketel Marte - 2B
Manny Machado - 3B David Peralta - LF
Jake Cronenworth - 2B Christian Walker - 1B
Luke Voit - DH Pavin Smith - RF
Eric Hosmer - 1B Seth Beer - DH
Austin Nola - C Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Wil Myers - RF Sergio Alcantara - 3B
CJ Abrams - SS Jose Herrera - C
Joe Musgrove - RHP Zach Davies - RHP

One of the team’s off-season signings make his debut for Arizona tonight, with starting pitcher Zach Davies taking the mound. Over his entire career, he has been decent with an ERA+ of 104. But last year proved to be a bit of a disaster, Davies going 6-12 with a 5.78 ERA (ERA+ 74) for the Cubs. The main issue was Davies’s loss of control, as he issued a league-leading 75 walks. His BB rate was 4.6 per nine innings, a sharp jump from the 2.6/9 IP he had posted before 2021. Also of note: despite making 32 starts, he ended up throwing only 148 innings. The majority (17) ended up with Davies not making it through the fifth inning. Given what our starters have done for us in the first two games, I’d be happy with a five and dive.

This evening’s line-up includes the return of Seth Beer to the DH spot, and the first starts of the season for both Sergio Alcantara at third-base and Jose Herrera at catcher. Both men will also be getting their first at-bats as Diamondbacks, though Alcantara was a late-inning defensive replacement in each of the first two games, in both cases coming after Torey Lovullo pinch-hit for Drew Ellis. I wonder if the DH is, perhaps counter-intuitively, going to make it harder to arrange playing time? Last night’s contest, where the Ellis-Beer-Alcantara swap was the only change over the entire evening, perhaps indicates what I mean.

Bench coach Jeff Bannister stood in for Torey Lovullo in today’s media session, which gave the attendees a chance to ask some questions about his role.

Jeff Bannister audio

What are the most important aspects of your job as Bench Coach: “From my perspective, first and foremost is that coaches room, being the captain inside that coaches room. Keeping those guys coordinated and moving forward. They need that support as well. They need sometimes a calmer voice, sometimes a little more stern voice…we’re all grownups, but they need an experienced perspective.”

Game Time: ” I’m managing the game in my own mind, based on a lot of the information [they’ve been given] and how we’ve GAME PLANNED. But also a different perspective in different instances as far as pitching match-ups, hitter match-ups, pinch hitting, pinch running, things like that I may give Torey.“

“I think having two people in a managerial/bench coach role, if they’re so like minded you can miss some things. So for me it’s a little bit different perspective in what I can give him. And help him stay on top of all of our infomatics [sic] and try to gel that if you will. Along with keeping our guys, pinch hitters, defensive replacement, pinch runners ahead of the game, trying to forecast what may happen 2-3 innings down the line so those guys are ready.“

Jeff went on to say that while Torey may be concentrating more on the pitching and those moves, his job is to make sure the other aspects of in game management aren’t being missed.

On working with Torey: “It’s been a blast... as good a communicator as I’ve been around... He cares about everybody, but is extremely smart inside the game as well.”

Culture: He gave a lengthy answer emphasizing the culture and broadcasting Torey’s message in his words is one of his key roles. Being out on the field and in the clubhouse making sure they nurturing the culture and not just “band-aiding certain situations.” There’s a lot more including discussion of pitcher building, (or lack thereof on the part of the D backs compared to Padres starters), and also Drew Ellis’ challenges at the plate so far. Listen to the full audio to get to know the bench coach and how he thinks.