|Adam Jones - RF||Ian Kinsler - 2B|
|Eduardo Escobar - 3B||Eric Hosmer - 1B|
|Wilmer Flores - 2B||Manny Machado - 3B|
|David Peralta - LF||Franmil Reyes - RF|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Wil Myers - LF|
|Ketel Marte - CF||Fernando Tatis Jr. - SS|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Manuel Margot - CF|
|Alex Avila - C||Austin Hedges - C|
|Merrill Kelly - RHP||Matt Strahm - LHP|
After a series of startling highs and appalling lows in Los Angeles, the D-backs head for the relatively peaceful pastures of San Diego. Will this be the respite that their pitching staff need? The Padres’ managed only a .675 OPS over the weekend at home against the San Francisco Giants, scoring 11 runs in total over the four games (or 1.57 Murphys, if you prefer). Manny Machado is still looking for his first extra-base hit or walk for his new team, having gone 3-for-15 with five strikeouts. But they still took two of three from the Giants, as the Padres’ pitching staff held their opponents to a mere five runs. Is this Petco going back to its old days, of being where hitters went to die? Or do the Giants just suck?
We should know more by the end of this series. I’m presuming that our starting pitching - and, indeed, our pitching in general - will get a bit better, simply because it can’t really get much worse. That said, we have no idea what we might expect from Merrill Kelly, as he faces major-league pitching in earnest for the first time ever. He had a bit of a rough baptism in spring training, but recovered somewhat in his later outings. Let’s face it, the bar isn’t exactly very high thus far, in terms of becoming our best starter: any quality start would be sufficient. And the average line of our rotation has been round about this:
D-backs starters: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R. 5 ER. 3 BB, 4 SO
A left-handed starter for San Diego and... for the fifth game in a row, the platoon which isn’t a platoon will be operating at first, with Christian Walker getting the start. Avila gets the job of catching Kelly, giving him three starts the first time through the rotation, compared to one each for
Caleb Joseph Kelly and John Ryan Murphy. It’ll be interesting to see what the ratio looks like after a second turn though; will Avila still be the main man, or will it become closer to an even split?