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Diamondbacks Gameday Thread, #96: 7/19 @ Braves

Hard pushed to imagine how today can top the series opener. And, no, that is not a challenge.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves Photo by Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jake McCarthy - RF Ronald Acuna - RF
Ketel Marte - 2B Ozzie Albies - 2B
Corbin Carroll - LF Austin Riley - 3B
Christian Walker - 1B Matt Olson - 1B
Lourdes Gurriel - DH Sean Murphy - C
Evan Longoria - 3B Marcell Ozuna - DH
Gabriel Moreno - C Eddie Rosario - LF
Nick Ahmed - SS Orlando Arcia - SS
Alek Thomas - CF Michael Harris - CF
Ryne Nelson - RHP Charlie Morton - RHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled LHP Joe Mantiply from Triple-A Reno.
  • Placed RHP Zach Davies on the 15-day injured list (lower back inflammation).

Must be whiplash from spinning to see all those barrels heading for the outfield. As I noted on Twitter, Davies’s 7.38 ERA is the worst in franchise history for a season, by any pitcher with as many starts as Zach (12). His FIP, however, is actually better than Tommy Henry and his 3.89 ERA, so go figure. Word is that Brandon Pfaadt will be getting a third chance to crack the rotation. Hopefully it will go better than the last effort, which lasted [/checks notes] two innings of six-run ball, as he faced fifteen batters and ten of them reached base. Though after last night and a Game Score of 7, the “better than Zach Davies” bar is low enough that you feel anyone with a pulse might be able to clear it.

Is Kevin Ginkel Arizona’s new closer?

Yesterday, it was notable that he, rather than Scott McGough, came in at the end of an insane contest between the D-backs and Braves, Kevin then tore through the heart of the Atlanta order, striking out Austin Riley, Matt Olson and Sean Murphy for the save. A week earlier, all three of them had represented the National League in the All-Star game, so you don’t get a much tougher job than that. But Ginkel was up to it. getting his first save since the final game of 2022, when he closed out a 4-2 win over the Brewers. He’s now one off his career high for saves, which would be two (2), back in his rookie season of 2019. Might now be the time for him to don the closer’s jacket?

Since the beginning of 2022, Ginkel has an ERA of 2.73 in the majors. Among all Arizona pitchers with 50 innings over that time, that trails only Kyle Nelson (2.50) and Drey Jameson (2.63). And if you look at fielding-independent ERA, Ginkel’s figure of 2.99 is better than both, and the lowest of anyone for Arizona during the last two years (again, min 50 IP). It’s mainly because he has been supremely good at keeping the ball in the park, allowing a mere three home-runs across 66 innings of work, a home-run rate that’s about one-third of the MLB average. But if you look at this year’s Baseball Savant page, there’s a lot of red, indicating great peripherals.

Of course, we’ve been here before, and no matter how great, one outing does not make a closer. Just earlier this year, on April 10, Andrew Chafin struck out the side in the ninth, to earn a save against Milwaukee. He seemed to inherit the job for a bit, but his eighth and last save came in late May, and his last chance was the infamous blown 1-0 lead against the Mets on July 5. But I think the mere fact Torey Lovullo went to Ginkel in the ninth yesterday indicates something, and the faith was repaid with as good an outing as you could want. I’d certainly not be surprised to see Ginkel, at the very least, added to the committee of potential candidates to close more games going forward.