|Josh Rojas - 3B||Tommy Edman - SS|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Dylan Carlson - CF|
|Corbin Carroll - RF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Nolan Arenado - 3B|
|Lourdes Gurriel - LF||Willson Contreras - DH|
|Pavin Smith - DH||Tyler O'Neill - LF|
|Alek Thomas - CF||Jordan Walker - RF|
|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Taylor Motter - 2B|
|Jose Herrera - C||Andrew Knizner - C|
|M. Bumgarner - LHP||Jake Woodford - RHP|
As I mentioned in the comments on yesterday’s recap, I’m happy to think of today’s contest as playing with house money. The D-backs have already secured at least a split on the six-game series, and won another series against a team who reached the playoffs last year. [It’s weird the only defeat came at the hands of the Marlins, who haven’t won a game past the wild-card since 2003] You can’t win them all, and while it would be nice to complete the sweep of the Cardinals this afternoon, the D-backs don’t need to do so. We’ll see what happens. Indeed, a win could be counter-productive, in terms of the team moving on from Madison Bumgarner. A total meltdown is arguably better in the long run.
Perhaps a spell in Reno would be best, because he would fit right in there this season. Fifteen games in, and the Aces’ staff has a collective ERA of 9.05. Now, we know the PCL is a rough place for hitters, but that’s still the worst in the league by more than two and a third runs. The problems have been all over the place: over 127.1 innings, they have allowed 155 hits, 101 walks and 23 home-runs, for a WHIP fractionally north of two. Of the nineteen pitchers used by Reno so far, eight have got ERAs in double-digits. These go all the way up to the ugly 25.07 ERA by Mitchell Stumpo, who has walked nine batters in 4.2 innings, and seen 22 of 35 hitters faced get on base.
It’s likely the park plays a part, since the Aces .305 average at the plate is best in the league by ten points, and their .912 OPS is tied for highest. Blaze Alexander was leading the team, until he hit the IL with a hand injury: he had an insane OBP of .618, thanks to hitting .458, while drawing more walks than strikeouts (8:6). Buddy Kennedy is not far behind, with a triple-slash of .405/.569/.762 and an even more insane ratio of 14 walks to just 5 strikeouts. Phillip Evans is also getting on-base more than half the time, with a .509 OBP. But one area where the Aces are definitely lagging their parent team is on the base-paths. Nobody has more than one SB, and they’ve been caught more than half the time (5 CS in 9 attempts).