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Diamondbacks Game Preview #77: 7/1 @ Rockies

The battle for the basement in the NL West

Detroit Tigers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - 3B Connor Joe - RF
Alek Thomas - CF Charlie Blackmon - DH
Ketel Marte - DH Kris Bryant - LF
Christian Walker - 1B C.J. Cron - 1B
David Peralta - LF Brendan Rodgers - 2B
Daulton Varsho - RF Ryan McMahon - 3B
Buddy Kennedy - 2B Jose Iglesias - SS
Carson Kelly - C Randal Grichuk - CF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Elias Diaz - C
Merrill Kelly - RHP A. Senzatela - RHP

In June, Merrill Kelly had three of the four wins that went to Arizona starters, going 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA. The rest of the rotation combined for a 1-10 record with a 5.18 ERA. Some of that is a bit unfortunate. Zach Davies had a great month, with a 2.56 ERA and three quality starts in his five outings, but was winless in May. However, the fifth spot was a well-documented disaster, and Zac Gallen and Madison Bumgarner both fell back to Earth. Each of their regression was somewhat expected, their FIPs having come into the month significantly higher than their ERAs. Those gaps have now narrowed, though FIP remain above ERA for both. Kelly is the other way: his FIP of 3.32 is lower than his current ERA of 3.64.

Indeed, his bWAR has now fractionally overtaken Gallen’s to make Kelly the team’s most valuable pitcher so far. Part of that is Kelly’s workload, having thrown 84 innings compared to Gallen’s 76. He has had the deepest average start of anyone on the D-backs this season, at 5.6 innings per game, though Gallen has thrown a couple more pitches (92 vs. 90). In regard to the latter, it seems that the starter who can throw 100 pitches is gradually becoming an endangered species. This year in the NL, only sixteen percent of starters, so fewer than one game in six, throw that hundredth pitch. The division leading Dodgers have had a starter do so just TWICE in 75 games.

Of course, this is Coors Field, where pitchers go to die. It and Great American Ball Park are the only places in baseball this year which have an ERA above five. GABP is actually rather higher than Coors Field in 2022 (5.49 vs. 5.15), though a good chunk of that is just how terrible the Reds pitching has been overall. Even away from GABP, their ERA is 5.31; it’s a mind-numbing 5.75 on their home turf. The Rockies have actually been fractionally better at home (4.86) than away from Coors (4.94), despite having allowed almost twice as many home-runs in Denver (51-26). Still, with teams hitting .283 in Coors this year, if the D-backs can’t improve their woeful batting average this weekend, there may be no hope for them.