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Diamondbacks Game Preview #78: 7/2 @ Rockies

Pavin Smith packs his bags for Reno, and Dallas Keuchel in Coors Field. What could possibly go wrong?

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

Today's Lineups

Jordan Luplow - RF Connor Joe - RF
Cooper Hummel - LF Kris Bryant - LF
Ketel Marte - DH Charlie Blackmon - DH
Christian Walker - 1B C.J. Cron - 1B
Buddy Kennedy - 2B Brendan Rodgers - 2B
Carson Kelly - C Jose Iglesias - SS
Alek Thomas - CF Randal Grichuk - CF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Ryan McMahon - 3B
Jake Hager - 3B Brian Serven - C
Dallas Keuchel - LHP Austin Gomber - LHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled OF Cooper Hummel from the Taxi Squad.
  • Optioned OF/INF Pavin Smith to Triple-A Reno following last night’s game.

It seems the long string given to Smith finally reached its end. He was our first-round pick in 2017, but after a 102 OPS+ in 2020, the trend has been one-way, with Smith only at an 85 OPS+ this year. As Jack mentioned, playing time has been hard to find for him of late, particularly in the outfield and with Ketel Marte now apparently the team’s DH of choice. Hummel is right-handed, and that’s kinda rare among the OF for the D-backs this year, with the three most-regular players there (David Peralta, Smith and Alex Thomas) all left-handed hitters. Hummel will join Jordan Luplow as right-handed options - the latter gets to start in RF today. As for the long-term future of Smith... We’ll have to wait and see.

Over eight starts for the White Sox, Dallas Keuchel posted a 7.88 ERA, before the team finally cut bait on his hefty contract. Keuchel landed with the Diamondbacks, a reunion of sorts with pitching coach Brent Strom, and there was hope that this might lead to him recapturing his old form. Ideally, the 2015 Keuchel who won the American League Cy Young with Houston. The first start... was not ideal. Indeed, Keuchel’s season ERA increased slightly, from 7.88 to 7.93, as he allowed four earned runs on six hits and three walks, lasting just 4.1 innings, and needing 98 pitches to do so. Now, for his second start as a D-back, he pitches a mile above sea-level...

However, there was some reason for optimism out of his first appearance. Most obviously, seven of the thirteen outs came by the strikeout, with a whopping 15 swinging strikes. That was easily a season high for Keuchel: his previous best was 11. For comparison, Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have each had only one start this season where they also reached 15 swinging strikes. Some of that was definitely the Tigers being hyper-aggressive: Keuchel had at least two strikeouts where there wasn’t a single pitch in the strikezone, most notably the one of Jonathan Schoop (below). Detroit are likely the worst-hitting team in the majors as well, with an OPS+ of 79. The Rockies are at 94, so may be a bit more of a challenge.