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Preview, #20: 4/19 @ Cubs

Another day, another day game...

Whitbread Race

Today's Lineups

Wilmer Flores - 2B Daniel Descalso - 2B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Kris Bryant - RF
David Peralta - LF Anthony Rizzo - 1B
Adam Jones - RF Javier Baez - SS
Christian Walker - 1B Willson Contreras - C
Ketel Marte - CF Jason Heyward - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS David Bote - 3B
Caleb Joseph - C Kyle Schwarber - LF
Merrill Kelly - RHP Kyle Hendricks - RHP

The second of four consecutive day games for the Diamondbacks, after yesterday’s get-away game in Atlanta, and with all three games this weekend in Chicago taking place in the hours of daylight. It’s also four consecutive games starting before noon, Arizona time. Neither of these things can have happened very often before, though I have not been able to locate any specific statistical way to check in. It would presumably have to involve a trip to Chicago, like this one does. Because the Cubs are about the only team I can think of who are likely to have consecutive day games as a matter of course, let alone three of them in a row. It’s a result of their tenancy at Wrigley, which limits night games and light use.

For what it’s worse, over the years, the D-backs’ hitters have hit slightly worse during the day - fourteen points of OPS, to be precise. Across all of the National League, there is a day/night split, but it’s smaller - only three points. I wonder if this is perhaps a result of playing in a domed field at Chase Field, which moderates the conditions? We’ve previously looked at the impact having the roof open or closed at Chase has on numbers there, and found it to be quite significant over the year. Our pitchers have also performed slightly worse while the sun is up, with an ERA of 4.31 there, compared to 4.19 at night. That’s the opposite of National League pitchers over the same time-frame, where the ERA is 3.69 in day games, but rises to 3.85 at night.

Overall, the results show a difference of 33 points in win percentage for the D-backs in day games compared to night ones. They are 466-525 (.470) for the former, and 1221-1208 (.503) in the latter. [As you’d expect, NL teams are exactly the same for both at .499 - slightly below even, due to interleague play, where they’ve historically had a losing record] That’s a small but not insignificant difference for Arizona, and I’m curious as to if it’s a reason. Maybe, given the ferocious intensity of the sun, in their home state, they just don’t like going out in the daytime!