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Diamondbacks Gameday Thread, #150: 9/16 vs. Cubs

Same again? Would not mind if we do...

Los Angeles Dodgers v. Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Darryl Webb/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Ian Happ - LF Corbin Carroll - RF
Nico Hoerner - 2B Ketel Marte - 2B
Christopher Morel - DH Tommy Pham - DH
Cody Bellinger - 1B Christian Walker - 1B
Dansby Swanson - SS Alek Thomas - CF
Seiya Suzuki - RF Lourdes Gurriel - LF
Mike Tauchman - CF Jace Peterson - 3B
Yan Gomes - C Gabriel Moreno - C
Nick Madrigal - 3B Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Kyle Hendricks - RHP Zach Davies - RHP

It does seem that our guys make every bad pitcher look like Cy Young.

No, that’s not a SnakePit comment, it comes from the recap over on last night’s opponents at Bleed Cubbie Blue. But if you’ve been here for very long, you’ll certainly have heard similar sentiments being expressed. Is there any truth to it? Or is it the case that we simply remember those occasions, more than the times we take back-end starting pitchers to the cleaners? There are a couple of ways we could look at this. We can find out who are the worst pitchers Arizona has faced this year, and see how they did against us. However, the D-backs have faced 113 different starters this season. I’ve only got an hour for this, and simply looking up 113 pitchers’ ERA+ would take longer than that.

So, the alternative is to look at the pitchers Arizona made “look like Cy Young” and see what their season stats were like. The 149 starts versus the D-backs this year resulted in Game Scores ranging from 84 to 3. Weirdly only two days separated the best (Corbin Burnes of the Brewer on April 11th) from the worst (Michael Grove of the Dodgers on April 9th). Blowing Grove and his 66 ERA+ over 12 starts away, would be a good example of us forgetting when the D-backs do NOT make a bad pitcher look like Cy. But I drew the line at a Game Score better than 65. That gives us 23 starts, and also automatically excludes all “openers”, as if you pitch two innings, you can’t achieve a GS better than 62.

Below you will find a list of all the qualifying starts, in descending order of Game Score, with the date, the ERA+ for the starter this year, and which bracket he falls into. An ERA of better than 130 is deemed to be an ace, 110-129 is solid, 90-109 is average, 70-89 is back-end and below 70 is a scrub. I’ve color-coded the output to match the categories.

You can see that of the 23 pitchers against whom the D-backs struggled most, the bulk are significantly better than average. Almost two-thirds, fifteen of them, have posted an ERA+ of 110 or better overall this season, including eight of the ten best starts versus Arizona. In comparison. only three of the twenty-three were cases where the pitcher has been more than 10% below league average in 2023. While those remaining aggravating, we are still talking about major-leaguers: among the top tiny fraction of one percent of pitchers. As we saw with Tyler Gilbert (or even Chase Anderson tossing seven no-hit innings at Coors yesterday!), on any given day, anything can happen in the game of baseball.

Certainly, as far as the Diamondbacks are concerned this year, there seems to be no real substance to the complaint on a significant level. Far and away, most of the pitchers we make look like Cy Young candidates are good, and quite a few indeed are Cy Young candidates. While there are exceptions, I suspect that, if I looked, I would find there are just as many in the opposite direction - such as hanging six runs on Cubs’ ace Justin Steele last night...

Elsewhere, the Giants have already lost the first game of their double-header in Denver, which is good. Here are the other games in the NL wild-card race for your scoreboard watching pleasure today, along with their Arizona start times:

  • San Francisco Giants 5, Colorado Rockies 9
  • Atlanta Braves @ Miami Marlins - 1:10 pm
  • Washington Nationals @ Milwaukee Brewers - 4:10 pm
  • Cincinnati Reds @ New York Mets - 4:10 pm
  • Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals - 4:15 pm
  • Chicago Cubs @ Arizona D’Backs - 5:10 pm
  • San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies - 5:10 pm