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Diamondbacks Game Preview #100: 7/30 @ Braves

The D-backs are exactly 100 points worse on the road than at home.

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - 3B Ronald Acuna - RF
Alek Thomas - CF Dansby Swanson - SS
Ketel Marte - 2B Matt Olson - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Austin Riley - 3B
Daulton Varsho - RF Marcell Ozuna - DH
Jake McCarthy - LF Eddie Rosario - LF
Buddy Kennedy - DH William Contreras - C
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Orlando Arcia - 2B
Jose Herrera - C Michael Harris - CF
Corbin Martin - RHP Ian Anderson - RHP

Roster move

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster move:

  • Recalled LHP Tyler Holton from the Taxi Squad.

One of the things which suggests the D-backs might have a difficult second half, is that they have a lot of games on the road remaining. Going into today’s game, they have played nine more times at Chase Field than elsewhere. Doing the math will tell you this means they have to play nine more times away from Chase Field the rest of the way. Which means, of the 63 games left, 36 will be on the road, with 27 at home. So far this year, the D-backs are exactly even in the games at Chase, having gone 27-27. They’ve even outscored their opponents slightly in Phoenix, with a +9 run differential (235-226). However, they only have a .400 W% outside of Arizona. They are 18-27, and have been handily outscored at -39 (189-228).

This is not the fault of the hitting. The D-backs have actually hit 29 points better away from home, with an OPS of .709 compared to just .680 in Chase Field. Those numbers rank 14th and 24th in the majors respectively. In particular, Arizona has used the long ball a lot more, with 64 in 45 road games, compared to 49 in 54 contests at Chase Field. It’s the pitching which has struggled, with an ERA more than a full run higher on the road, at 4.83, compared to 3.74 in Chase. Part of this is the continued implosion of Chase Field from the hitter-friendly park it used to be. In 2017, the last pre-humidor season Chase was ranked 3rd for park factor in runs. This season, it has dropped all the way to 24th,

That’s probably worth its own write-up (probably pre-scheduled- for tomorrow since I don’t want to be getting up at 8 am on Sunday to write a preview for an East coast day game!). Looking at individual players, among those with at least 15 innings pitched both at Chase and elsewhere, some have a particularly big split between their home and road ERAs:

  • Madison Bumgarner: 3.03 vs. 4.88
  • Tyler Gilbert: 2.20 vs. 8.00 (!)
  • Caleb Smith: 3.57 vs. 5.32

Conversely, there are a couple with “reverse splits”, who do better on the road. Closer Mark Melancon hasn’t reached 15 innings on the road, but has a 3.27 ERA there, compared to 5.32 at home. There has been speculation the dry, thin desert air impacts the quality of his breaking pitches. Humberto Castellanos (6.59 vs. 4.24) has also struggled at Chase, though he’s not going to be part of the problem going forward. Today’s starter, Corbin Martin hasn’t enjoyed travel (2.00 vs. 5.79). However, a road BABIP that’s 145 points higher (.269 vs. .414) is likely a factor in the problem. We’ll see if that comes down a bit in Atlanta tonight.