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Diamondbacks Game Preview #102: 8/1 @ Guardians

Zach Davies is expected, but a slew of other moves as well.

Detroit Tigers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - 3B Steven Kwan - LF
Alek Thomas - CF Amed Rosario - SS
Ketel Marte - 2B Jose Ramirez - 3B
Christian Walker - 1B Josh Naylor - DH
Daulton Varsho - RF Andres Gimenez - 2B
Jake McCarthy - LF Owen Miller - 1B
Seth Beer - DH Nolan Jones - RF
Carson Kelly - C Austin Hedges - C
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Myles Straw - CF
Zach Davies - RHP Cal Quantrill - RHP

Roster moves

  • Reinstated RHP Zach Davies from the 15-day injured list (right shoulder inflammation).
  • Recalled INF Seth Beer from Triple-A Reno.
  • Selected RHP Kevin Ginkel from Reno.
  • Placed LHP Caleb Smith on the 15-day injured list (fractured right hand).
  • Optioned INF Yonny Hernandez to Reno following yesterday’s game and will remain on the Taxi Squad.
  • Optioned RHP Corbin Martin to Reno following yesterday’s game.

Will this be Zach Davies's last start as a Diamondback? With the trade deadline being tomorrow, it does seem possible - perhaps even likely - that this outing is intended purely as a "proof of life" for the starting pitcher, to confirm his fitness before he gets shipped off to another team. He had put together a nice bounceback campaign. After last year's disappointing 74 OPS+ campaign, Zach has bounced back to a 103 OPS+, basically matching his career normal (104). Since he doesn't turn 30 until next February, I can see him not exercising the 2023 option, preferring to test the free-agent market. A better than average starter should collect considerably more than the option price of $1.5 million.

The loss of Caleb Smith is certainly an unpleasant surprise. At least it's not his pitching hand which was broken. Still, after a couple of disastrous outings at the beginning of the year, he has been among the team's best relievers since he was recalled at the start of May. His 3.45 ERA over that time is above only Kyle Nelson, among relievers with 15+ innings over the past three months. He has thrown more innings as well, so we'll see what the team does for long relief. Today also sees the return of Seth Beer, whose 2022 campaign basically peaked on Opening Day. Does that prophecy a trade deadline move? We shall see... And Martin being sent down suggests other options as starter may be explored.

It's into August now, so a quick look at last month seems in order. The D-backs were 11-14, which sits almost midway between the depths of June (9-16) and heights of May (15-14). The offense was roughly in line with May overall. The team batting average of .251 was their best of the year, and they're no longer in "historically bad" territory. After hitting just .181 over almost 800 PA in the month of April, they had a real shot at the worst batting average over a proper season in the live-ball era. But their season BA is now up at .225, which only just scrapes into the top ten lowest. They're not even last in the NL - that's the Pirates at .219. The A's are lower still, their .215 figure being ahead only of the 1968 Yankees, by a single point.

Arizona's ERA of 3.78 was their best since April (3.28). But it conceals a sharp split between the starters and bullpen. Less in ERA (3.66 vs 4.01) than results: the rotation went 8-5, while the relievers were 3-9. There has only been one month with more bullpen losses in franchise history: the May 2015 team went 6-10 in relief. However, that was over 28 games, compared to last month's 25. The bullpen is on pace for 40 losses, so has a shot at the franchise record of 41 set last year. Considering this team is also on pace to have 20 fewer losses, coming close to the same figure of L's in relief is impressive, for want of a better word. As I'm sure you know, Melancon's 9th loss yesterday is already a franchise bullpen record. Only 61 games left!