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Preview, #18: 4/17 @ Braves

Where Godley stops, nobody knows...

NFL Players Compete On Wheel Of Fortune Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images for PLAYERS INC

Today's Lineups

Jarrod Dyson - CF Ozzie Albies - 2B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Josh Donaldson - 3B
David Peralta - LF Freddie Freeman - 1B
Adam Jones - RF Ronald Acuna - LF
Christian Walker - 1B Nick Markakis - RF
Ketel Marte - 2B Dansby Swanson - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Brian McCann - C
Caleb Joseph - C Ender Inciarte - CF
Zack Godley - RHP Kevin Gausman - RHP

Always good to start a road-trip off with a win - albeit one which continued the flipping of the script this season, with regard to the Diamondbacks and their expected performance. Over 2017-2018 combined, Arizona had the second-best ERA in the National League, their 3.70 figure trailing (naturally) only the Dodgers (3.39). Coming into play this afternoon, they rank 14th for the 2019 campaign at 5.59, ahead of just the Mets (5.77). Conversely, only four NL teams have scored more runs than the D-backs, and their wRC+ is 109, compared to 91 over the last two seasons. Indeed, right now, this is the best offense by wRC+ in franchise history, and it’s not even close: the next best being the 1999 Diamondbacks, who posted a wRC+ of 99.

Small sample size naturally applies here, and we should probably hold off on any judgments for a couple more weeks. But even just through the end of April, we haven’t seen a D-backs offense post a wRC+ better than 100 for the first month since 2011 (and only just then, at 101). There will likely also be a significant degree of BABIP cool-off: right now, the D-backs sit at .322, which is thirty-six points above the comparable figure for 2018. So it’s likely the offense has been over-achieving and eventually more of those balls in play are going to become outs. What’s a bit worrying is, you can’t the same for our pitching, where the BABIP has been .296, right in line with league average.

However, some help should come in terms of the HR/FB rate. You don’t need me to tell you the long-ball has been a problem for our pitchers this year. But Arizona’s 21.7% rate is currently the second highest in the majors, more than half again above the MLB average of 14.4%. When that returns to normal = and the D-backs haven’t posted a figured higher than 14.1% since data for this became available in 2002 - that should help dampen down the team’s ERA. So the bottom line is, I guess: our offense is probably not as good as it has seemed to date, but neither is the pitching as bad. I’d settle for Zack Godley regressing to the humdrum this afternoon. Had quite enough drama from his outings!