|Brandon Nimmo - CF||Geraldo Perdomo - 2B|
|Tommy Pham - LF||Jake McCarthy - RF|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Corbin Carroll - LF|
|Pete Alonso - 1B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Jeff McNeil - 2B||Lourdes Gurriel - DH|
|Starling Marte - RF||Emmanuel Rivera - 3B|
|Daniel Vogelbach - DH||Carson Kelly - C|
|Francisco Alvarez - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Brett Baty - 3B||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Max Scherzer - RHP||Zach Davies - RHP|
A late change to the Mets line-up brings Max Scherzer to the mound for them this afternoon at Chase Field. Startling to realize that he was picked in the draft by the Diamondbacks with the 11th section seventeen years ago, and it is now approaching fourteen years since he last pitched for Arizona. Since then, he has won three Cy Youngs, been part of eight All-Star rosters, and the Mets are his fourth team, having played for Detroit, Washington and Los Angeles before New York. He’ll turn 39 years old later this month, is now among the ten oldest starting pitchers in the game, and if he exercises his player option for 2024, will have career earnings north of $350 million. Doesn’t time fly?
Arizona’s bullpen should be well rested, with a day off yesterday, and Kyle Nelson the only reliever used in Sunday’s series finale against the Angels. There still four pitchers for Arizona who are on pace for 69-72 games this year: Nelson, Andrew Chafin, Miguel Castro and Scott McGough. They’ve all pitched very well, with Castro’s 3.24 ERA the highest of the quarter, and that’s why they keep getting used. This stability is certainly why Arizona’s bullpen has been much improved so far: their 2023 ERA is below four (3.99). That may still be only 16th, but is a significant improvement over last year, when the figure was 4.58, and they ranked 25th in the majors.
The Diamondbacks are one of five teams, each to have four reliever in the “over 35” - games, that is - club. All of the others (Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston and Toronto) have winning records, with just the Blue Jays currently outside of a playoff spot. The Reds actually have a slightly worse bullpen ERA (4.02), but they lead the majors in relief wins, with 28. That may be down more to their offense: for all the talk of the “Answerbacks,” Cincinnati might be the “Better Reds than dead” team. For they have thirty comeback wins this year, significantly more than the 23 managed by Arizona.