|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Joc Pederson - DH|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Thairo Estrada - 2B|
|Corbin Carroll - LF||Michael Conforto - RF|
|Christian Walker - 1B||J.D. Davis - 1B|
|Lourdes Gurriel - DH||Blake Sabol - LF|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Patrick Bailey - C|
|Alek Thomas - CF||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|Gabriel Moreno - C||Luis Matos - CF|
|Jake McCarthy - RF||Isan Diaz - 3B|
|Ryne Nelson - RHP||A. DeSclafani - RHP|
Well, Merrill Kelly certainly picked a bad time to throw his worst game of the season. Indeed, his Game Score of 23 yesterday ranked among the five worst in his career. The last to be below that was also against the Giants in San Francisco, on September 30th last year, whee he was roughed up for eight earned runs without being able to get out of the fifth inning. Interestingly, almost all of Kelly’s worst outing have been on the road. He has fifteen outings with a Game Score of 36 or lower. All but one of those have been away from Chase Field, with four of them coming in Oracle Park. In comparison, only two have been at Coors, and in one of those, he ended up getting the W.
Regardless, the D-backs find themselves in definitely need of a win to avoid the first sweep of the season. Indeed, there haven’t been many times where Arizona have even had to face such a challenge. On April 16 in Miami, they’d lost the first two games, but Zac Gallen blanked the Marlins and we won 5-0. On May 28, the Diamondbacks beat Boston 5-2 to avoid a sweep at Chase. But those are the only times they’ve even been in danger of a sweep in a series of three or more games. The significance of this one doesn’t need to be stated (but I’m going to do it anyway!). It’s the potential difference between going into Monday’s off-day half a game up, or two and a half games up. That’s big.
Especially so, with the team’s next six games being against the MLB-best Rays, then on the road at the 42-36 Rangers. I’m hoping the D-backs can get through next week with a split of those six, so the bigger the margin they have in the NL West, the better it will be. One possible reason to be hopeful: Ryne Nelson has bucked the trend and been considerably better away from Chase. In seven starts on the road, he has an ERA of 3.41, which is less than half the figure in eight games pitching in his home park (7.09). His strikeout to walk ratio has been more than twice as good, at 2.90 vs. 1.44. On the other hand, he didn’t get out of the fifth when facing the Giants last month at Chase. So we’ll see.