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Diamondbacks Game Preview #150: 9/21 @ Dodgers

Negotiating those pesky middle to late innings has been a struggle for the D-backs.

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

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS DODGERS
Daulton Varsho - DH Mookie Betts - RF
Corbin Carroll - LF Trea Turner - SS
Jake McCarthy - RF Freddie Freeman - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Justin Turner - DH
Emmanuel Rivera - 3B Chris Taylor - 2B
Sergio Alcantara - 2B Trayce Thompson - CF
Carson Kelly - C Austin Barnes - C
Alek Thomas - CF Miguel Vargas - LF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Hanser Alberto - 3B
M. Bumgarner - LHP Dustin May - RHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled LHP Tyler Holton (No. 67) from Triple-A Reno.
  • Placed RHP Ryne Nelson on the 15-day injured list (right scapula inflammation).

This is something which we talked about a bit in yesterday gameday thread, after Jack wondered what the team’s record would be, if games finished after six innings. I’ve done some digging into this, and playing with the numbers. The chart below shows Arizona’s record at the beginning of each inning from the first through the ninth. Obviously, we start off tied in all 149 games, but as teams score and counterscore, the balance ebbs and flows over the course of the remaining innings. Note: the Win % shown excludes ties.

D-backs W/L record by inning

Inning Ahead Tied Behind Win %
Inning Ahead Tied Behind Win %
1 0 149 0 N/A
2 32 81 36 .471
3 48 59 42 .533
4 61 40 48 .560
5 64 39 46 .582
6 65 34 50 .565
7 66 21 62 .516
8 64 18 66 .492
9 65 18 65 .500

What’s striking is that this team is at or better than .500 almost the entire way. They fall behind in the first inning - not surprising, since they have been outscored 80-62. But they bounce back to have the lead in most games by the start of the third, and it’s an edge which reaches its peak at a strong 64-46 mark at the start of the fifth. However, as our starters tire - and, more likely, the B-bullpen starts to make itself felt - the Win % drops almost steadily thereafter. But the team is still even at the beginning of the ninth inning, ahead in 65 games, level in 18 and tying in 65 [In case you’re wondering, don’t forget the game in Cincinnati on June 6 was ended after seven innings due to the rain]

So, why is the team 69-80? We can find out if we look at what happens thereafter. Of the 65 times the Diamondbacks were ahead going into the ninth, they went 60-5. This is more or less balanced by the 4-61 record when they were trailing at the start of the frame. However, the black hole is located in the 18 tied games. Arizona’s record in those is a feeble 5-13. No prizes for guessing who is responsible for most of that. Seven of Mark Melancon’s ten losses have come in games where he entered a tied game at the start of the ninth - and he has only done that nine times. Of the eighteen games tied at the start of the ninth, the D-backs have won two in regulation, lost ten in regulation, and six went on into extras.

We can’t deny the problems elsewhere in the bullpen: yesterday’s day-game was their 36th L, tying the Arizona bullpen for the MLB lead. But even with that, it really is not much of a stretch to see the 2022 Diamondbacks club as a .500 team through eight innings, just one which has a serious ninth-inning problem.