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Diamondbacks Game Preview #105: 8/5 vs. Rockies

The Brawl for the Basement goes on... But, wait. WHAT ARE THE GIANTS DOING IN THE CELLAR DOORWAY!!!!!

WRESTLING23C-C-20AUG99-DD-LH—Sting at the Cow Palace for WCW, one of the new major wrestling organizations in competition with the WWF. BY LIZ HAFALIA/THE CHRONICLE Photo By LIZ HAFALIA/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - DH Josh Rojas - 3B
Jose Iglesias - SS Alek Thomas - CF
C.J. Cron - 1B Ketel Marte - 2B
Brendan Rodgers - 2B Christian Walker - DH
Randal Grichuk - RF Daulton Varsho - RF
Elias Diaz - C Jake McCarthy - LF
Yonathan Daza - CF Seth Beer - 1B
Connor Joe - LF Carson Kelly - C
Elehuris Montero - 3B Geraldo Perdomo - SS
German Marquez - RHP M. Bumgarner - LHP

For much of the first half, it looked like the Rockies and D-backs were going to be engaged in a straight fight over last place in the NL West. It took precisely three days for Arizona to sink to last place. While Colorado had their usual “flattering to deceive” over the first month of the season, they sunk into the bottom two on May 10. Since then, the pair have been there or thereabouts, occasionally swapping places. We go into this series with the Diamondbacks a game up, on 46-58, while the Rockies sit on 47-61. But all of a sudden, a third player has entered the arena, with the San Francisco Giants plummeting from the rafters into the ring, like Sting in the glory days of WCW. [That, I trust, explains the pic!]

It has been equally epic a fall, albeit with fewer pyrotechnics. On June 18, the Giants were 10 games above .500, three games back, and in possession of the second wild-card spot. Since then, they have been the worst team in the National League, going 14-28. That’s 312 games below the D-backs, who haven’t exactly set the world on fire over that time-frame. And San Francisco has only got worse of late: since the All-Star break, they are 3-12, including home-and-away four-game sweeps by Los Angeles, and a three-game sweep by Arizona. The Giants are now 2112 back in the division, and only four up on the D-backs. They are currently on pace to go 78-84.

That would be particularly startling, considering the 2021 Giants won 107 games. Just as teams improving by 25+ games is rare, you have to try very hard to get worse by close to thirty games, over a full season. Since the D-backs entered the league in 1998, here are the only teams to match or surpass the Giants’ current projected 29-game drop.

  • 1998 Marlins: 38 games (92 wins to 54)
  • 2004 Mariners: 30 games (93 wins to 63)
  • 2004 Diamondbacks: 33 games (84 wins to 51)
  • 2011 Twins: 31 games (94 wins to 63)

The 2018 Orioles came close, dropping from 75 to 47 wins, but that’s it. Over 23 seasons and 690 team records, only four teams have done it. And in some cases, e.g. the 1998 Marlins, there was a very good reason why they were, to quote our siblings at Fish Stripes, “doomed from the start.” That wasn’t the case with the 2022 Giants. Certainly, they over-achieved last year. But they were generally supposed to be in the wild-card conversation. This weekend, they weirdly have a Friday off, then make the short trip to Oakland to play the pretty damn woeful A’s. If the slump continues there, then the three-way dance at the bottom of the NL West will be on in earnest.

Here’s what Daulton had to say in regard to the honor.

Torey Lovullo audio

A visibly emotionally distraught addressed the passing of Nicole Hazen:

“A tough day. Yesterday was a brutal day. We all relied on one another to get through it. Mike has been unbelievably strong and he knows we’re all there for him. We love Nicole and we’ll miss her dearly. And our hearts go out to those poor boys. “

The team will be going to closer by committee for the foreseeable future. Torey will not work backwards from the 9th inning with one name, he will use matchups to dictate who gets the 9th inning. The most likely candidates are Ian Kennedy and Joe Mantiply. Mark Melancon may still get some closing opportunities depending on the matchups.

Humberto Castellanos will have Tommy John surgery next Tuesday performed by Dr. Keith Meister.

Caleb Smith had surgery on the his non throwing hand. He had a displaced fracture on the knuckle of his pinky finger. He needed a plate and pin to achieve alignment. He is expected to be able to begin a throwing program next week and is expected to return before the end of the season.

Designated Hitter: “I’m a fan... I was a bench coach for a while under those guidelines. I had a Hall of Fame DH sitting there every night and it made it easy. I think our situation is a little more revolving where I can give guys days off, get em off their feet. And it adds a little more offense. I think that’s what MLB was after.”

[Note: the D-backs rank 24th in MLB OPS by DH (.658), and 28th in Batting Avg by DH (.197) Report Link

There was interesting discussion about strategy, and also the possibility of someone emerging over time, and also the challenge of not having the opportunity to construct the roster during the off season as the CBA agreement came through so late, and roster moves were frozen. So Torey would not be surprised if the team made efforts to bring in strong bat for DH in the future if nobody emerges from the current group of players.

Trade Deadline, and what it means for the players still here:

“I think it makes a statement about who we believe in and what direction we’re going in with the group that we have and what those players understand that we’re here, it’s us, we’re moving forward with a group of 26 that are here through the deadline . I think it talks about a commitment that our front office has made to this group here.”