If you are one of those that believe that with the toughest schedule behind our back we are ready to lock and load, you won’t settle for anything less than a complete sweep against our next opponent: the Kansas City Royals.
Boy, are these guys bad. The Royals had a good Spring Training and went 19-13-1, beating the Diamondbacks 10-1 in one game. But the Royals are the best example of how useless Spring Training games: it doesn’t matter how Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma prepared herself for the wolf, she was still going to serve as his dinner.
What are the Royals doing?
In what is probably the weakest division in the entire MLB, already for quite some years, the Royals are dead last, with a 5-17 record: a .227 winning percentage.
Two years ago it looked like they were a bit further ahead of the competitive curve than the Diamondbacks, but reality is that time has stood still for the Royals since they won the World Series. Since 2017 they have finished each season below .500. Yikes!
This season they started with a new manager after sacking Mike Matheny: Matt Quatraro, Kevin Cash’s bench manager with the Rays from 2019 to 2022. The Royals haven’t shown signs of improving under his helm, although he hasn’t been helped by the low-profile off-season signings either.
On the free agency side they didn’t do much: they signed our old friend Zack Greinke again and former top reliever Aroldis Chapman. Jordan Lyles and long man Ryan Yarbrough were other reinforcements, while Jackie Bradley Jr, Matt Duffy, Franmil Reyes and Matt Beaty were notable minor league signings although the latter has already been moved to the Giants in a cash-for-player trade.
Current Diamondback Anthony Misiewicz also started the season as a Royal before being traded to St. Louis and getting DFAd and traded to Arizona.
The Royals were banking for this season on…yeah, on what? I have no clue what they are doing in Kansas.
Need for sweep.
The Royals head to Chase Field after losing yet another series, this time against the Angels, in which they were able to break a 7 game losing streak that resulted in two series sweeps. They won just one series so far this season, in San Francisco against the Giants. Their batting lineup is currently one of the worst in the entire MLB. They are bottom 3 in runs and batting average and league’s worst in OBP and OPS. Only 1B Vinny Pasquantino and utility man Matt Duffy have been hitting well, with Franmil Reyes showing some okay pop too.
The pitching staff is second worst in ERA, although FIP is a bit more hopeful. The entire rotation is in the high 4 ERA and of the relievers only Amir Garrett (his FIP promises regression though) and Chapman have been good, with Chapman sporting a minuscule ERA and FIP.
It isn’t pretty what the Royals will bring to Arizona and anything less than a series sweep should be considered as a missed opportunity for the Diamondbacks.
Game #1 Mon 04/24 6:40 MST, Brad Keller (KC) vs Tommy Henry (ARI)
- Brad Keller. 4 GS, 21.0 IP, 2 W-2 L, 3.00 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 1.38 K/BB.
- Tommy Henry. Reno: 4 GS, 21.1 IP, 1 W-0 L, 6.33 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 2.75 K/BB.
Tommy Henry will make his 2023 debut in the MLB after the Diamondbacks designated Bumgarner for assignment. He will probably be one of many pitchers that will join the Diamondbacks ranks out of AAA this season but is the first one to get the opportunity to land a spot at the backend of the rotation.
Henry had severe problems with the long ball last season in his first taste of Major League Baseball in 2022 and will look to improve that problem. The lefty went 1-0 in 4 starts for Reno this season and has achieved a 6.33 ERA so far, giving up multiple runs in each of his outings although in the last one he kept it limited to 2 runs over 6 innings. Let’s hope he can maintain that momentum: it should be enough for a victory against the Royals.
Henry will face former Diamondback prospect Brad Keller, who was lost to the Royals in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. Ever since he has been a mainstay in the Royals rotation although he struggled a bit in the past two seasons. Keller is in his final arbitration year and will hit the free agency market next off-season. He has done well so far for the Royals this season, going 2-2 in 4 starts, keeping the Giants and Rangers limited to just 1 run but had to allow 3 runs over 4 innings in his latest outing against the Rangers. Keller isn’t spectacular but does a good job of limiting hard contact and is currently on a 9.5 bWAR career track. Awesome for a Rule 5 pick.
Game #2 Tue 04/25 6:40 MST, Brady Singer (KC) vs Ryne Nelson (ARI)
- Brady Singer. 4 GS, 21.0 IP, 1 W-2 L, 8.14 ERA, 5.47 FIP, 1.52 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB.
- Ryne Nelson. 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 1 W-0 L, 4.91 ERA, 5.51 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 1.75 K/BB.
After facing the Padres twice and the Dodgers once, in his 5th start Nelson will face a much easier lineup in the Royals and an opportunity to get back on track after giving up 5 runs over 5 innings in his latest outing.
He faces Brady Singer who had a fine start of the season against Toronto, going 5 innings of 1-run ball, but then gave up 18 runs in the next 3 outings. Singer did well last season and considering his potential he should regress more towards the result of his Toronto outing than the other ones. That is evidenced by the last and only time Singer faced the Diamondbacks: in August 22 the right-handed pitcher went 7 innings and allowed just 1 run, getting the win. So we should be warned.
Game #3 Wed 04/26 12:40 MST, TBD (KC) vs Zac Gallen (ARI)
- Zac Gallen.5 GS, 31.1 IP, 3 W-1 L, 2.59 ERA, 2.24 FIP, 0.80 WHIP, 7.80 K/BB.
Kansas City hasn’t confirmed their starter for the final game of the series and nor does ESPN do a prediction of who will start for the Royals. Officially it should be the turn for Kris Bubic, but he went on the 15-day IL on April 16 won’t make the start. With a 4-man rotation it could be Greinke’s turn, but that would imply his 6th start of the season on a 4-day rest so most likely we won’t see Greinke pitch in Arizona either.
More likely the Royals opt for either former Diamondback Taylor Clarke or Ryan Yarbrough, both with enough experience as starters. It is also possible they piggyback both of them. Another alternative is that they call up someone from the Omaha Storm Chasers although their AAA team doesn’t have any credible starting pitching at the moment.
The Diamondbacks will go with Zac Gallen, because the following day is a scheduled off-day. Zac will try and continue his scoreless streak and it is hard to get a better opponent than the Royals for that quest.
The Diamondbacks will sweep the Royals!
This poll is closed
Not so fast, buddy, maybe not.