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Diamondbacks Game Preview #31: 5/10 vs. Marlins

Well, at least Madison Bumgarner should be well rested...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

MARLINS DIAMONDBACKS
Miguel Rojas - SS Cooper Hummel - LF
Jesus Aguilar - 1B Jordan Luplow - RF
Jorge Soler - LF Ketel Marte - 2B
Garrett Cooper - DH Christian Walker - 1B
Avisail Garcia - RF Josh Rojas - DH
Joey Wendle - 2B Nick Ahmed - SS
Erik Gonzalez - 3B Geraldo Perdomo - 3B
Jesus Sanchez - CF Alek Thomas - CF
Payton Henry - C Jose Herrera - C
Jesus Luzardo - LHP M. Bumgarner - LHP

At 8-2, your Diamondbacks have sole possession of the best record in the National League over the last ten games. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Last year’s woeful team had an 8-2 spell in April as well. Even the worst teams will typically manage to string together a half-decent spell at some point, e.g. the 2004 D-backs went 7-3 at the start of June. But if we extend the coverage a little further, it does become more impressive. Should they win tonight, they’ll be 11-3 since losing the first game of the series against the Dodgers. That would be better than any 14-game span in either 2021 or 2020. You need to go back to August 25-September 9, 2019 to find a matching 11-3 run by Arizona.

What’s particularly remarkable is how the team has done it without hitting. Over the 10-3 streak, Arizona has batted .212/.297/.397 for a .694 OPS. You have to go back almost fifteen years to find a similar period where the team won as many games, while posting an OPS below .700. From July 28-August 11, 2007, they hit .224/.295/.386 for a .680 OPS, while also going 10-3. They’ve NEVER previously been as successful while batting as low at .212. The closest was a 9-4 streak in April 2018, where the Diamondbacks hit .210. This is really not telling you anything you didn’t already know, with the victories a result of pitching, in particular starting pitching,

Except, the overall ERA over the past 13 games hasn’t been that good, at 3.21. But it has been just good enough. Seven of the ten wins were by a margin of one or two runs, and none by any more than four. There is also a sharp split between the wins and the losses. Arizona’s team ERA over the three defeats? 5.76. In the ten wins? 2.50. I’m not really sure what any of this means or whether it’s sustainable. But the longer it goes on, the less this all feels like a re-run of 2021 is lurking around the corner.

BRENT STROM AUDIO

BRENT STROM NOTES

Strommie filled in for Torey today in the pre game presser and gave a 22 minute interview covering a wide range of topics. Some of it will be familiar, especially if you read the Verducci article that was linked and discussed in Snakebytes today. I’ll try to highlight a few things I found most interesting, but you will want to tune into the entire clip as I can’t do it justice without 2000 words.

What have you been able to channel to the pitchers to help them make these steps forward:

“Writers write, coaches coach, and players play.....I’m not trying to be super humble, because I do bring something to the table, but if you look at the way the Astros pitching has gone , they haven’t missed a beat, whether I’m there or not. That’s a credit to the organization. When I came here to Arizona one of the things that I requested was really heavy involvement in the analytics department. The Dbacks have that. It’s on a par for me what the Astros have presented.”

Bum said that you were the first guy he worked with that truly meshes both analytics and old school coaching. How did you learn about analytics and how did you incorporate that into your work ?

“This analytics revolution predates what’s been written about it. I was fortunate to come up as a coach in the Dodger’s organization. You can picture a young AAA pitching coach in Albuquerque sitting in a room with the likes of Koufax, Drysdale, Johnny Padres, Larry Sherry, John Roseboro, they’re actually talking about 4 seam fastballs up in the zone working, things like that......I took copious notes, I felt like I was in graduate school.”

Strommie went on to discuss his experience in the Astros organization, and went out of his way to credit Jeff Luhnow as the person who built that organization to what it is now and credits him even today for their continued success.

I brought up the ever yawning gap between starters and relievers on the team. This chart is what I had in mind when I questioned him on this:

Is it a little harder just to get to all the guys because there are so many of them ?

“It’s really not the numbers, it’s the work that you can do because of the necessity to be available that night. You pick and choose certain things you can do, like video, but you can’t do the practice that you do with the starters as much because of the fact that availability becomes an issue”

I found that to be a really interesting and a factor I hadn’t considered.

There is so much more. He talked about the work with the extended coaches and communication he is having with coaches throughout the organization. He watches video of minor pitchers frequently. A few specific comments on the rotation members:

Madison Bumgarner: Getting him to be more up tempo has been a key. And of course cutter

Zac Gallen: Reminds him of Gerritt Cole in some ways when it comes to preparation and mentality. Discussed the special relationship Zac has with Dan Haren

Merrill Kelly: He talked about how Merrill didn’t really have it in the bullpen the other night and he told him this was going to have to be a command night. However by the 9th Kelly still had something in the tank and he even saw some 93 & 94 ‘s on the board.

Zack Davies: He’s a quiet assassin