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Diamondbacks Game Preview #74: 6/26 vs. Tigers

Dallas Keuchel makes his MLB debut for the D-backs

Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Robbie Grossman - LF Josh Rojas - 3B
Javier Baez - SS Pavin Smith - RF
Miguel Cabrera - DH Ketel Marte - DH
Riley Greene - CF Christian Walker - 1B
Spencer Torkelson - 1B David Peralta - LF
Eric Haase - C Buddy Kennedy - 2B
Willi Castro - RF Daulton Varsho - CF
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Carson Kelly - C
Harold Castro - 3B Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Beau Brieske - RHP Dallas Keuchel - LHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Selected LHP Dallas Keuchel (No. 60) from Rookie ACL D-backs.
  • Designated RHP Ryan Weiss for assignment.
  • Optioned RHP Sean Poppen to Triple-A Reno following last night’s game.

So, here we go. Keuchel becomes the sixth man the Diamondbacks have tried to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. The others were Humberto Castellanos (9 starts), Tyler Gilbert (3), Kyle Nelson, Luke Weaver and Caleb Smith (1 each). The bar is not very high for Keuchel to be an improvement. Here’s what the previous five have collectively delivered for Arizona in their fifteen starts this season:
#5 starters: 60 IP, 72 H, 54 R, 52 ER, 9 HR, 21 BB, 48 SO, 7.80 ERA, 3-7 record
Over his eight starts for the White Sox, Keuchel posted a 7.88 ERA. So let’s hope re-uniting him with Brett Strom, his Houston coach, has a positive effect.

It does feel very much like a “nothing to lose” scenario for the D-backs. Perhaps Keuchel can be success like Clay Buchholz ended up being. Though the team has, over the years, had their fair share of disastrous re-treads as well. Remember the Kris Medlen experiment in 2018? One start, and he retired, after allowing seven earned runs in four innings. Odds are that Keuchel will probably fall somewhere in the middle. His first start in the Arizona Complex League was a bit of a disaster: seven hits, a walk and four earned runs in four innings. But his second was MUCH better: two earned runs on five hits (all singles) over seven innings, with 13 strikeouts. @He’s clearly fixed!@ [Sorry, sarcasm font doesn’t work in stories]

But, hey. It can hardly go much worse than the first two games of the series. The Tigers came in with the worst offense in the league, having managed tacos in 12 of their first 69 games this year (as a yardstick, the D-backs, not exactly hitting the cover off the ball, had 27 free taco deliveries). Detroit are 2-for-2 against the Diamondbacks this weekend. In contrast. Arizona’s offense is continuing to struggle, with the batting average for the season now down to .213. Though not the lowest in the majors this season - the Athletics are hitting .211 - it is the lowest by a National League team in a season with over 60 games since the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas. Any you need to go to the fourth decimal place to find Arizona superior...

Torey Lovullo audio

Dallas Keuchel: What have you seen that earned him the spot today?

It’s been a steady work in progress. He’s been throwing bullpens and throwing in some [AZL] games, and he’s starting to show some very positive results. He and [pitching coach Brent Strom] have a very strong relationship. They were able to get right to the important portions of his delivery that would help him get the results that he had. I thought with the eyes that we had on him and the people that were making some important decisions said he was ready for this opportunity and we need somebody to step up in this situation. We’re looking for a starter. It is the track record, it is the reputation that helped him get to this point. But the bottom line is he went out and threw seven innings and 90+ pitches and executed a good game plan.

Torey made clear in other comments that this was primarily a Brent Strom driven decision.

Sean Poppen send out to AAA

Outside of the typical comments about it being a tough decision no real insights were given as to why sending out Poppen instead of Luke Weaver. [This writer speculates that service time and Weaver’s ability to refuse the assignment might have played into this.]

“What can I tell Sean to go down and work on ? Very little.”

Poppen has a 2.91 ERA and 3.99 FIP in 22 outings, 21.2 IP and a perfect 12 for 12 in stopping inherited runners from scoring.

Luke Weaver has thrown 8.1 IP and has allowed TWENTY HITS and THIRTEEN RUNS.

About the June Swoon: “I think the starting pitching has been staggering at times and giving up some early runs and we’ve been playing uphill baseball from the first couple of innings on and putting a lot of pressure on a young team to go out and HAVE to do things. “

Ketel Marte will continue to DH until he’s completely past the hamstring issues, but long term he will not be a DH.

Torey also addressed some of the defense issues from last night with Buddy Kennedy and Geraldo Perdomo, He spoke with both players. Kennedy said he took his eye off the ball and was not distracted because of the broken bat.