|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||LaMonte Wade - 1B|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Thairo Estrada - 2B|
|Corbin Carroll - CF||Joc Pederson - DH|
|Christian Walker - 1B||J.D. Davis - 3B|
|Lourdes Gurriel - LF||Michael Conforto - RF|
|Pavin Smith - DH||Blake Sabol - LF|
|Emmanuel Rivera - 3B||Patrick Bailey - C|
|Carson Kelly - C||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|Jake McCarthy - RF||Luis Matos - CF|
|Merrill Kelly - RHP||Keaton Winn - RHP|
How bad has Zach Davies been this season? He has made eight starts for the D-backs and given us an ERA+ of 56. There has been only one pitcher with as many starts and a worse ERA+. You’ve got to go all the way back to Edgar Gonzalez, who started ten games in the dreadful 2004 season to find that: he had an ERA of 9.32, an ERA+ of 49. That was a historically bad - not just for the franchise, but in the entire National League - team, rather than one contending for the division. So far, Davies hasn’t hurt the team’s overall record too badly: they are 4-4 in his starts. But the last three have been alarmingly bad, with the D-backs not just 0-3, they have been outscored by a margin of 35-11.
If you’re guaranteed a loss every fifth day, contention becomes much more difficult. Torey Lovullo’s words after the game last night were almost loyal to a fault. But if you look at the other terrible starting pitchers in team history, you’ll see that most of them got the plug pulled on them - even Gonzalez got removed from the roster of the terrible 2004 team, once they expanded in September. The chart below lists the starting pitchers with the ten worst ERA+ in Diamondbacks history (again, minimum of eight starts). Of them, only three made it to fifteen starts. Just the one of those spent all year in the rotation: Russ Ortiz, and even he missed two months with “injury”. Cahill was moved to the ‘pen and Daal traded.
The problem for the D-backs is the lack of credible alternatives. Brandon Pfaadt may still be among the team’s top pitching prospects, but his performances in the majors this year have been even worse than Davies’s. It’s also worth noting that Davies’s FIP is a lot better than his ERA, all the way down at 4.20, better than both Ryne Nelson and Tommy Henry. In fact, of the 267 pitchers in the majors with 30+ innings, only one has a worse gap between his ERA and his FIP (Shintaro Fujinami of the Athletics). So, maybe our manager is right, and sticking with Davies is really going to be the best. If Zach’s actual production would hurry up and match his FIP though, that would be very much appreciated.