The Diamondbacks are coming off a series victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the team won 3 of 4 games, the first half of the series was far better than the final two games. The first two games were complete, and the guys looked like they might just be ready to play to their competition’s skill again.
But Wednesday’s game was a massive disappointment. And Thursdays was only exciting because of the seventh inning. The defense fell apart in the last two days, and starting pitching was suspect as well.
The team will be taking this mixed bag of patterns into Denver to face the Rockies who are 2.5 games behind Arizona in the NL West. Arizona is currently 51-60 whereas Colorado is 50-64. Both teams are on a 1-game winning streak, although Arizona is 6-4 in their last 10 while Colorado is 4-6 in theirs.
5:40pm (Arizona Time) start. Zach Davies (2-4, 4.03 ERA, 3.1 BB/9) on the mound versus Antonio Senzatela (3-6, 4.68 ERA, 2.13 BB/9)
In the opener of the series, the snakes will throw Zach Davies against the Mountains’ Antonio Senzatela. Davies will be in his third start since returning from the IL. Needless to say, his most recent start went better than his first back. Unfortunately that start was August 7 versus these same Rockies in Phoenix. He went 5 innings and allowed zero runs with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. This could be a good thing, as he knows the hitters and hasn’t had to study any other team in the meantime. On the other hand, the Rockies just saw his stuff; they could be far more prepared to hit it than they were last time.
Senzatela has been fairly consistent all season, as an “eh, good enough” guy for the Rockies. However, he has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in his last three outings, most recent also came against the Diamondbacks. He also hasn’t pitched less than 6 full innings in that span (7 against us on August 6). The same recency issues apply to Senzatela as do Davies.
I give this game a 50/50 shot. Our offense has shown how it likes big innings, and the youth is motivated to showcase good baseball. They have also recently seen the opposing pitcher. However, that recent success has largely come by stringing together good at bats, where Coors Field is obviously known more for towering home runs. This should be an interesting game.
5:10pm (Arizona Time) start. Zac Gallen (7-2, 3.12 ERA, 2.59 BB/9) on the mound versus Jose Urena (1-3, 4.86 ERA, 4.62 BB/9)
On Saturday, Gallen takes the mound after an absolute gem of a game last time against Pittsburgh. I’m not sure what else to say that hasn’t already been said about Zac. He’s a good pitcher who is still developing because of Covid and injury.
Urena started the season in Milwaukee but has spent the majority of the year in Colorado (his stat line above is exclusively Colorado for 2022). He’s recently become a journeyman after years with Miami. He has had flashes of potential in the past, but its been years at this point. He is coming off a strong start against Arizona on August 7 (6IP, 3 ER, 3BB, 2K), but he only went 4 against SD on 8/2 and had a terrible start against LAD (in Colorado) on 7/28. Getting to him early and often should be the game plan.
This game should be the easiest to win with one quasi ace up against a veteran journeyman. Favor Arizona.
12:10 (Arizona Time) start. Tommy Henry (1-1, 3.75, 3.75 BB/9) on the mound versus Ryan Feltner (2-3, 6.02 ERA, 2.72 BB/9)
This is the game I think we’ll be highly intrigued by. Both pitchers are young and have minimal enough MLB time. Feltner debuted last season but has been up and down ever since. He has shown vast improvement this season in Colorado compared to 2021 though (albeit in only 6.1 IP for Colorado in 2021 - and he started that season in High A!). He is an unknown quantity and against an offense like Arizona’s, he could shine.
Henry on the other hand is similarly aged, but just debuted last week. He is coming off his first career win, and boy was it a gem! Granted the Pirates aren’t exactly the Dodgers, but the confidence is hopefully helpful. His walks could be an issue in Coors. And in Cleveland he really only had one bad inning, but it was enough to ruin the start. If he can replicate the Cleveland game (5IP, 4ER, 3BB, 3K) we should remain competitive in this game.
This game is another 50/50 game, but more because of the lack of MLB history for the pitchers. MiLB results would suggest Feltner should have the better career, but Henry has been getting better every year, so there’s a case that we can’t judge them fairly yet. If Henry can handle Coors, I say we have a good shot to win.
This series won’t make most baseball fans’ radar because it’s the current cellar dwellers of the NL West. For us though, it will be must-watch baseball, because the offense can be exciting, Gallen and Henry are pitching, and September is going to be excruciating! There is a very real chance the team surpasses their win total from 2021 this weekend as well! A series win gets us over that hump at least, inching the team ever closer to 60 wins, at which point every victory earned will feel like icing on the cake (despite my misplaced optimism in a .500 (or close) season).
Things to Watch
- How Henry handles THE Coors Field effect. Perhaps more than anything else, this is telling of how deserving he is of a rotation spot next season.
- Is the young offense going to keep fighting? They should. They have the ability to get on base and then wreak havoc on opposing teams.
- Can the defense shore itself up without an off day? Walker especially looked horrendous the last couple days. Getting back to playing mediocre-good defense will be huge to avoid unnecessary runners in Coors.