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Preview, #13: 4/11 vs. Padres

Showing how Zack Godley needs to get ground-balls to be successful

Boston Red Sox v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Wil Myers - CF Jarrod Dyson - CF
Eric Hosmer - 1B Wilmer Flores - 1B
Manny Machado - 3B David Peralta - LF
Hunter Renfroe - LF Adam Jones - RF
Franmil Reyes - RF Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Fernando Tatis Jr. - SS Ketel Marte - 2B
Austin Hedges - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Luis Urias - 2B Caleb Joseph - C
Pedro Avila - RHP Zack Godley - RHP

Here’s a real oddity. Both starts by Zack Godley this year have been in games where 23 runs were scored: an 18-5 loss to the Dodgers, and a 15-8 win over Boston. Considering the rarity of 23-run games - on a quick scan, looks like the last before this year involving us was April 2010, a 12-11 win over Colorado - I wonder if any other pitcher has ever started consecutive such contests? It’s especially remarkable, considering the wide difference in Godley’s own performance. While similar in length (5.1 and 5.2 innings), he gave up eight runs (seven earned) in Los Angeles, and just one in San Diego. Admittedly, part of the LA start was saving the bullpen. That day, Godley was going to throw 100 pitches, regardless of result.

Maybe the relative lack of pressure against the Padres helps explain his success there: he was able to go out and throw his own game, without having to carry the rest of the pitching staff on his back. But then, Godley has perhaps always seemed to be the most inconsistent of our starters. I suspect if you worked out the average difference between consecutive Game Scores for him, it would be the highest among our rotation. But what was notable last time was, Godley had twice as many ground-balls as fly-balls; the complete reverse of what happened in Dodger Stadium. How much is that the key to Godley’s success?

To find out, I ran a quick rule over his 32 starts last season, I ranked these by Game Score, and divided them into three groups: 11 good starts, 10 okay starts and 11 bad starts. Here are the combined numbers for each group:

  • Good starts GB:FB = 96:86
  • Okay starts = 80:74
  • Poor starts = 83:92

There’s not much difference across the first two blocks. Good starts are slightly more ground-ball oriented, but with ratios of 1.12 and 1.08, there’s not much to choose. But in those bad starts, the ratio dropped to 0.90, with Godley allowing significantly more fly-balls than ground ones. Probably related: across those 11 good starts, Godley allowed just one home-run in 73.1 innings of work. In the 11 bad ones, it was eight home-runs in only 48.2 innings. Something to keep an eye on tonight, as an early indicator of whether it’s good Godley or not who shows up.