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Series Preview #50 : Diamondbacks @ Yankees

The Diamondbacks need to win this series.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. after hitting a 3-run homer.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. after hitting a 3-run homer.
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Momentum Matters.

The Diamondbacks have momentum, having swept the Cubs and the Giants. The Diamondbacks are strongly competing for a NL wild card. They are highly motivated to play their best to reach the post-season.

The Yankees are in fourth place in the AL East. They are 8 games out of the AL wild card race.

Advantage Diamondbacks with better momentum.

Rookie Players Matter.

The Yankees’ roster included 9 players with almost no playing time in the Majors (MLB) prior to this season. The Diamondbacks roster included 7 such players.

Because rookies tend to be younger than average, they will add energy to the game. Because their experience is less, misplays may occur. That situation favors the Diamondbacks.

Let’s pair these players based on games played this year and other similarities. The following table shows the pairings. The green arrows point to which player I would prefer on my team.

Data from FanGraphs Roster Resource.

Advantage Diamondbacks with the better young and inexperienced players.

Hot Batters Matter.

The following batters had an OPS of at least .900 for their PAs from 1 to 17 September:

  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr, D-backs, OPS 1.008, 4 home runs
  • Jasson Dominguez, Yankees, OPS .980, 4 home runs (on IL for remainder of season)
  • Kyle Higashioka, Yankees, OPS .967, 0 home runs
  • Ketel Marte, D-backs, OPS .921, 2 home runs
  • Seby Zavala, D-backs, OPS .900, 0 home runs.

Advantage Diamondbacks with 4-1 batters with OPS of at least .900.

Likely Pitching Matchups, Home Runs Matter.

“Yankee Stadium cracks this list as one of the most notorious hitter-friendly venues in baseball. This season, Baseball Savant has awarded the park an MLB-high score of 198 (where 100 is average). That means, among pitchers and hitters who played at Yankee Stadium and elsewhere, 98% more homers were observed in the Bronx.

With a shallow 314-foot short porch in right field, one would think this park favors lefties more than righties. Nuh-uh. While left-handers have scored 148, righties have gone yard more frequently this season, scoring a whopping 250 on Savant’s HR Park Factor.” — Ethan Diamandas, April 2023

Friday 4:05 PM Arizona Time, Luke Weaver (6,75 ERA, 2.3 HR9) vs Brandon Pfaadt (5.86 ERA, 2.1 HR9).

Brandon Pfaadt’s home runs per 9 innings is extremely high compared to this season’s average for starting pitchers of 1.3 HR9. In some games he avoids allowing home runs. In August and September, he prevented any home runs in 5 of his 9 starts. Hopefully this start will make it 6 of 10.

Former Diamondback (2019-2021) Luke Weaver’s 2.3 home runs per 9 innings is extremely high, even higher than Brandon Pfaadt’s HR9.

This game could become a battle of the long ball. In that case, whichever team hits the most home runs wins the game.

Saturday 10:05 AM Arizona Time, Carlos Rodon (5.9 ERA, 2.2 HR9) vs Zach Davies (6.81 ERA, 1.0 HR9).

Zach Davies is not as good at Gallen or Kelly, but he keeps the Diamondbacks in the game with winning chances. I continue to belive he is an improved pitcher after his time on the IL. For details see this article.

Zach Davies’ home runs per 9 innings is better than average for a starter. In September, he allowed a total of one home run in four starts. The Diamondbacks won each of the four games he started, albeit he was credited with only one win.

Carlos Rodon’s 2.2 home runs per 9 innings is extremely high. He allowed at least one home run in 11 of his 12 starts. I am confident that the Diamondbacks hit at least one homer against Rodon, even if he is pulled early from the game.

Sunday 10:35 AM Arizona Time, Clarke Schmidt (4.65 ERA, 1.4 HR9) vs Ryne Nelson (5.53 ERA, 1.7 HR9).

Similar to Zach Davies, Ryne Nelson keeps the Diamondbacks in the game with winning chances. In September his HR9 improved to 1.35. In September he was credited with a win and a loss.

Clarke Schmidt’s 1.4 home runs per 9 innings is nearly average for a starting pitcher. However, he allowed more home runs at Yankee stadium (15 of his 23 home runs in 82.2 out of 151 innings)

This game could decide which team wins the series. The Diamondbacks need to win!