clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diamondbacks Game Preview #106: 8/6 vs. Rockies

Your reigning NL Pitcher of the Month takes the mound for Arizona

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - RF Josh Rojas - 3B
Jose Iglesias - SS Alek Thomas - CF
Brendan Rodgers - 2B Ketel Marte - 2B
C.J. Cron - 1B Christian Walker - 1B
Ryan McMahon - 3B Daulton Varsho - RF
Randal Grichuk - CF Jake McCarthy - LF
Yonathan Daza - LF Seth Beer - DH
Elehuris Montero - DH Carson Kelly - C
Brian Serven - C Geraldo Perdomo - SS
A. Senzatela - RHP Merrill Kelly - RHP

Merrill Kelly allowed no runs in either of his last two starts, and is on a streak of six in a row allowing two or fewer runs. The former is impressive, as only five times in D-backs history has a pitcher gone further, with back-to-back-to-back starts allowing no runs. The record is, obviously, Brandon Webb’s five in a row, part of his 42 scoreless inning streak in 2007: he also had a three-game streak in 2006. Andy Benes was the first, in 1998 and Robbie Ray did it in 2017. The most recent three-peat belongs to... actually Kelly, as he put up zeros in his final start last year, then in the first two of 2022.

That is a bit of a cheat, since due to the abbreviated spring, those three lasted 14.1 innings in total - that’s less than the 15 innings he pitched over his last two. It’s interesting that neither Randy Johnson nor Curt Schilling ever had three in a row. You’d think, given their dominance, that one or either of them would have lucked into such a streak. Six games allowing two or fewer runs is a bit more common: it’s not even the longest streak by a Diamondback this year, since Madison Bumgarner went seven in April and May, while Zac Gallen reached nine, though that includes his final two last season. Again, it’s not a list topped by Randy or Curt: Patrick Corbin is #1, with 10 starts in 2012-13.

Brent Strom audio

Pitching coach Brent Strom talked about working with Tommy Henry. He adjusted Henry’s grip, and the Trackman data showed that the curveball and slider were “much improved” in terms of spin.

He discussed removing Mark Melancon from the closer’s role. The underlying numbers in terms of spin rate, hard-hit balls, etc. have been very good for Melancon. It’s the “volatility of the closer’s role” which exacerbates any things that are wrong. Part of being a closer is that your mistakes stand out. Melancon has been a professional, and nobody is more concerned about the ten losses.

Zac Gallen throwing his change-up slower. Strom took a page out of Maddux’s book, and adjusted the grip. You’re always looking to tweak things over the course of a season. What hurt him in Cleveland was a lack of elevated fastballs, and that’s something which will be addressed. Strom doesn’t jump into these kinds of things “willy nilly”, but only on receipt of data from the analytics department. Strom thinks Gallen may sometimes over-think things, a result of having so many weapons. But he predicted Gallen will be a 20-game winner one day.

Said Kevin Ginkel has a power arm and a great slider, and really likes his “strikeout stuff”. He had nothing to do with Ginkel adopting the crouch - think he patterned it after Jonathan Papelbon.

The decision to push Madison Bumgarner back a couple of days did help with the velocity. MadBum had some misplaced pitches, and Strom is still scratching his head over the best way to help Bumgarner, when he’s not getting the swings and misses. Every pitcher has these streaks. “Hopefully we get him back to who he should be.” There’s nothing outside of normal wear and tear.

Strom has to give credit to the D-backs medical staff for getting Chris Devenski back in shape. Was pleased to see 95 mph on the board, and the next step is to get a regular workload. “He’s a gamer, he’s a warrior, and one of the four best relievers I’ve had in my stint as a major-leage pitching coach.”