|Adley Rutschman - DH||Corbin Carroll - RF|
|Gunnar Henderson - SS||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Anthony Santander - RF||Tommy Pham - LF|
|Ryan O'Hearn - 1B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Austin Hays - LF||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Cedric Mullins - CF||Lourdes Gurriel - DH|
|Ramon Urias - 3B||Gabriel Moreno - C|
|Adam Frazier - 2B||Jace Peterson - 3B|
|James McCann - C||Geraldo Perdomo - SS|
|Kyle Bradish - RHP||Slade Cecconi - RHP|
So, here are the ERAs for the Diamondbacks’ starting pitchers the last two times around the rotation (excluding Joe Mantiply, giving that one instead to Slade Cecconi, who threw five innings in relief):
- Zach Davies: 1.64
- Slade Cecconi: 1.69
- Merrill Kelly: 5.25
- Zac Gallen. 5.56
- Brandon Pfaadt: 6.75
Yeah, that was unexpected. Today’s starter Cecconi has been a particularly pleasant surprise, though obviously, his current 2.57 ERA is probably unsustainable, given a FIP of 4.02. He hasn’t struck out enough batters to be a long-term solution: only 14 over his 21 innings of work in the majors this year. That K-rate of 6.00 per nine IP, would rank Cecconi above only two of the 54 qualified pitchers this year (and both of those pitch for the Rockies). But what he has done, very well, is throw strikes, with only four walks - three of which came in one of his five appearances... at Coors Field. Cecconi’s overall 1.71 walk rate is better than all but six of those qualified pitchers, so swings and roundabouts.
So far, it has been his fastball/slider which have been, far and away, most effective. Looking at his Baseball Savant page, batters are hitting them at a .184 and .125 clip respectively, and particularly with the slider, even the expected results are impressive. Between them, that pair are responsible for 86.5% of all the pitches Cecconi has thrown, with an occasional curveball or change to keep the hitters honest. Again, it feels like a two-pitch pitcher may not be well equipped for long-term success. This may be why Torey Lovullo has had quite a quick hook, basically limiting Ceccono to two trips through the order [his last four appearances, he has faced 18, 18, 19 and 20 batters], to stop them getting a bead on him.
Slade hasn’t exactly had a soft landing. Those four games all came against either contending clubs (TEX, SFG and CIN) or at Coors Field, where young pitcher go to die. There’s no doubt it has, and will continue to be a learning experience, and there will likely be bumps along the way. But if he can eke out a win this afternoon - perhaps with a little help from the offense, who didn’t exactly do a lot last night - then we’d have Zac Gallen going for the sweep tomorrow afternoon. And, presuming his last outing was indeed an aberration, we’d have to feel good about that situation. But we’ll see.