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Series Preview #42: Reds @ Diamondbacks

The rather mediocre Reds come to split a series.

Cincinnati Reds v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images


I am back again. I do not think many care nor did anyone probably miss me, but I enjoyed two weeks of summer vacation in France. Unexpectedly, I hardly had any cell phone coverage over there. While driving over the multiple rural roads they have in France, this kind of “black-out” returned frequently, so only on occasion was I able to stay in touch with friends and family, and for two weeks I had no clue what was happening in the world in general and even less with the Diamondbacks.

Just like me, the Diamondbacks have returned as well. I left when the Diamondbacks were starting a downfall and now they have righted the ship again. In the meantime they got good riddance of Carson Kelly and have come to realise that the star that was once shining for Kristian Robinson had faded away when the pandemic hit. Tommy Henry is on the long-day IL and a couple of kids made their debuts again. Michael McDermott was quoted on MLB Trade Rumors and Mike Hazen and Torey Lovullo are back on track to stay in their 2024 seats.

And now...the Reds.

David Bell and the Reds are the opponents for the second time this season. Maybe we still remember the first time we met the Reds? Not that long ago, just a month, but shortly after the All Star Break, when the Diamondbacks were starting to show up as Mr. Hyde. The Snakes got swept in a 3-game series, with losses for Henry, Pfaadt and Gilbert. When you have former Diamondbacks like Alex Young and Luke Weaver taking away wins from you, you know something isn’t right.

But that was then and now is now. Let’s see what has happened since July 23, when the Reds swept the Diamondbacks.

  • The Diamondbacks have DFAd reliever Jose Ruiz and catcher Carson Kelly.
  • The Diamondbacks traded away major leaguers Josh Rojas, Dominic Canzone (Mariners) and Andrew Chafin (Brewers).
  • The Diamondbacks acquired closer Paul Sewald (Mariners), infielder Jace Peterson (A’s), outfielder Tommy Pham (Mets) and reliever Peter Strzlecki (Brewers).
  • Slade Cecconi and Bryce Jarvis made their debut for the Diamondbacks and a bunch of others have been moved up and down.
  • The Reds acquired bulk reliever Sam Moll (who was a D-Back in Reno not that long ago) and got rid of Luke Weaver. They also moved a lot of people up and down between the majors and minors.

As you can see, the Diamondbacks have been a lot more active than the Reds, and that has eventually paid off.

Cincinnati’s 65-61 is just one win worse than the Diamondbacks. The D-Backs, after the two-game sweep of the Rangers, are 2nd with their 66-61 record but the Reds are 3rd in their division. However, where Arizona is 11.5 games behind the Dodgers, the Reds are only 4 games behind their division leader. Both teams are batting for the Wild Card, but the Reds might also sneak into a division lead.

But the Reds will have to do better than what they have been doing lately. They are on a wildly mediocre 15-15 over their last 30 games. We all know the Diamondbacks have been struggling, but at least over their final ten they are a beautiful 8-2. And coming into this series, the Diamondbacks will have had an off-day while Bell’s team plays a double-header against the Angels before flying to Phoenix. You’d expect that to have some impact on the team.


The Reds still have a doubleheader ahead of them and with only the starter for today’s first game confirmed, my guess is that we will not know the starter of the first game for our series until tomorrow, depending on who will start the second game for them.

I will briefly discuss the Reds probable starters in this series but who will pitch on what day will be a toss up and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the mentioned doesn’t start and the Reds go for a bullpen game. The Diamondbacks do have their starters confirmed for this series.

  • Graham Ashcraft. 24 GS, 134.0 IP, 7 W-8 L, 4.84 ERA, 5.16 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 2.00 K/BB.
  • Brandon Williamson. 17 GS, 86.2 IP, 4 W-3 L, 4.47 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 1.26 WHIP, 2.38 K/BB.
  • Andrew Abbott. 14 GS, 81.1 IP, 8 W-3 L, 2.99 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 3.26 K/BB.
  • Hunter Greene. 15 GS, 76.1 IP, 2 W-5 L, 4.72 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 1.47 WHIP, 3.06 K/BB.

Ashcraft has a hard cutter, sinker and slider. Right-handed batters have especially been sitting on his cutter with a .336 BA against. His ERA is quite inflated because of a really bad stretch in May and June, but since July he has been able to scrap a win here and there. In August he has gone deep in all of his games, 7 to 8 innings, so the Diamondbacks are warned.

Lefty Williamson has an interesting 5-pitch arsenal but no pitch is a real game killer. The rookie is a projected back-end starter, a role in which he could thrive well, but he gives up a lot of hard hits though.

Abbott is another lefty and rookie who has been having a great first year in the majors, where he has been able to blank batters with a sweeper that has mustered a tiny .106 BA against. For right-handed batters he has an exclusive change up that has resulted in yet another small .151 BA against. Right-handed batters tee off on his rather weak rated curveball, while the 92 mph fastball doesn’t blow anyone away either.

Hunter Greene has just returned from the 60-day IL and is basically a two-way pitcher nowadays and you’d wonder how much longer he might stick in the rotation. The former top draft pick of 2017 on occasion blows batters away with his 98 mph and combines it with a great slider, but the fastball does get hit hard every now and then. He pitches better in away games (duh), so he could grab a win in Arizona.

Game #1 Thu 08/24 6:40 PM MST, TBD (CIN) vs Merrill Kelly (ARI).

Women’s Night - Special Event. Women of all ages are invited to join the D-backs in celebrating Women’s Equality Day at the game.

  • TBD.
  • Merrill Kelly. 22 GS, 129.1 IP, 10 W-5 L, 3.13 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 2.73 K/BB.

No matter who is the opponent for Merril Kelly, I will give this game to the Diamondbacks. Kelly has been doing fine since he returned from the injured list, but hasn’t gotten sufficient run support to secure more wins than the one he achieved in his latest appearance against the Padres. He has been a bit more homer-prone lately.

Game #2 Fri 08/25 6:40 PM MST, TBD (CIN) vs Brandon Pfaadt (ARI).

GCU Night - Special Event.

  • TBD.
  • Brandon Pfaadt. 12 GS, 61.2 IP, 0 W-6 L, 6.13 ERA, 5.46 FIP, 1.41 WHIP, 2.89 K/BB.

It is getting better, but I wouldn’t call it enough. Maybe he was unlucky in the last couple of games to not get a win against either San Francisco or San Diego, but he still gives up a lot of line drives. I wouldn’t bet on a win in any matchup for Pfaadt, but the trend of his ERA getting lower and lower does hint at tiny steps into the right direction.

Game #3 Sat 08/26 5:10 PM MST, TBD (CIN) vs Zach Davies (ARI).

Corbin Carroll Bobblehead // 15,000 // courtesy of Cox. The first 15,000 fans to the game on Saturday, August 26 will receive the Corbin Carroll bobblehead courtesy of Cox.

  • TBD.
  • Zach Davies. 12 GS, 57.1 IP, 1 W-5 L, 7.38 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 1.62 WHIP, 1.70 K/BB.

Yeah, he is also back, and I am not sure if anyone is thrilled about that. You need to have a 5-man rotation and this is yet another puppet to fill out a spot in it. One glimmer of hope, though, could be that Davies seems to have been historically okay against the Reds. Okay in a sense of...Zach “no decision” Davies at his best.

Game #4 Sun 08/27 1:10 PM MST, TBD (CIN) vs Slade Cecconi (ARI).

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  • TBD.
  • Slade Cecconi. 2 GS (4 G), 15.1 IP, 0 W-0 L, 2.93 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 2.25 K/BB.

If Cecconi is able to get a major league batter out in his third start of his major league career, I don’t know, then maybe we are in for a win. And if not, the Reds will probably tee off him in several occasions, giving the Diamondbacks a tough hill to climb on in what will be the final game of this series.

I don’t know, having not participated in the winning party the last two weeks, I am a bit sceptical here and don’t see enough ingredients to get a series win. I will stick with a split, how about your prediction?


Diamondbacks and Reds split the 4-game series. Agree?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Yes, seems about right.
    (39 votes)
  • 50%
    No, we will take this series.
    (42 votes)
  • 2%
    No, I think we are even worse off than that!
    (2 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now