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Diamondbacks Game Preview #39: 5/18 @ Dodgers

The D-backs try to avoid the sweep in Los Angeles

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS DODGERS
Daulton Varsho - C Mookie Betts - RF
Josh Rojas - 3B Freddie Freeman - 1B
Pavin Smith - RF Trea Turner - SS
Christian Walker - 1B Will Smith - C
David Peralta - LF Max Muncy - 3B
Cooper Hummel - DH Justin Turner - DH
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Cody Bellinger - CF
Alek Thomas - CF Chris Taylor - LF
Jake Hager - 2B Gavin Lux - 2B
Zach Davies - RHP Walker Buehler - RHP

It is probably fair to say that yesterday’s nightcap was the worst game of the year for the Diamondbacks. The nine-run margin of victory was a season-high, surpassing the previous worst, set in the 11-3 loss to the Marlins on May 11. Merrill Kelly’s Game Score of 12, was the lowest of 2022, and it’s not even close - the next worst is 25 (Humberto Castellanos against the Cardinals on April 28). The offense suffered the indignity of seeing a position player sent up to pitch to them in the ninth. Even the defense got in on the act, committing a trio of errors that kept them hot on the heels of the Nationals (who also made three E’s yesterday), for most in the major leagues.

I took a quick look at the “position player pitching” thing, because I was curious to see if the new rules had impacted the frequency with which that happened. There appear to have been 13 legitimate cases e.g. excluding the likes of Shohei Ohtani, so far in 2022, as we approach the quarter-point of the season. There were 89 last season, which does suggest it has been less frequent this year. Though while looking into that, I discovered the fascinating saga of Anthony Gose. He played in the majors as an outfielder from 2012-16 as an outfielder - then vanished for five years, before returning for Cleveland as a member of their bullpen, this season and last. He reached 100.8 mph in his pitching debut last September.

Anyway, with regard to the Diamondbacks, it feels like it’s going to be an uphill struggle to avoid the sweep. Ketel Marte is still out, replaced at second by Jake Hager - that’s an obvious downgrade. Zach Davies has been better than expected for Arizona, with a 3.57 ERA, and that’s pretty close to what he “deserves”, his FIP being 3.87. But Walker Buehler’s ERA and FIP are both about three-quarters of a run better than Davies’s, and he has largely owned Arizona. The current Diamondbacks have a slash of just .168/.228/.245 for a .473 OPS, and that included Marte (.561 OPS). Mind you, it also includes Ahmed (.211). LA vs. Davies is at a .713 OPS. So, yeah: my expectations are not great.