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Preview, #79: 6/23 vs. Giants

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Arizona looks to avoid its second straight series sweep.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Lineups

Giants D'backs
Giants D'backs
Joe Panik 2B Tim Locastro CF
Mike Yastrzemski RF Ildemaro Vargas 2B
Evan Longoria 3B David Peralta LF
Brandon Belt 1B Adam Jones RF
Stephen Vogt C Eduardo Escobar 3B
Kevin Pillar CF Christian Walker 1B
Alex Dickerson LF Nick Ahmed SS
Brandon Crawford SS Caleb Joseph C
Shaun Anderson P Merril Kelly P

The Arizona Diamondbacks are struggling mightily against National League West opponents, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. They are a collective 11-24 against teams within the division which is easily the worst among the Dodgers, Padres, Rockies, and Giants. That’s unfortunate because they do not play a team outside of the division until after the All Star break. It’s a span of eighteen straight divisional games of which they’ve already dropped the first five. Put simply if they keep this up there is a chance they could be at the bottom of the division by the Midsummer Classic.

This takes us to today’s starting pitcher for the D’backs, Merrill Kelly. Signed out of Korea having never pitched in the majors before, most expected nothing more than a back of the rotation starter. Fortunately, he’s provided much better results than what you’d expect from a back of the rotation arm in numerous starts this season. He’s pitched into and beyond the seventh inning more often than not and given up two runs or less in nearly half of his fifteen starts. He’s efficient and almost never has a problem throwing strikes, and it’s been a relief having him in the rotation surrounded by serious depth concerns. Kelly already has one victory against the San Francisco Giants this season coming against Jeff Samardzija on May 17th. In that start, he pitched 5 & 13 innings giving up no runs on six hits. The D’backs are going to need another gem from him today in order to end this six game losing streak.

Arizona has already faced today’s starter for the Giants, Shaun Anderson, as recent as last month. On May 26th, the D’backs blasted him for nine hits and four runs in only five innings in the midst of an offensive onslaught road trip through San Francisco. He’s given up at least two runs in all of his starts this season, so the D’backs offense should do everything to turn fortunes around in today’s series finale.

Pregame Audio courtesy of Jack

  • Torey’s message to the fans is to be patient. Baseball season is a long grind and these tough stretches are budgeted for. He will not allow this team to play below his expectations. Feels that the potential for the team to be greater than they are is there.
  • Confident with Merril Kelly on the mound. He is accountable for his results. He’s worked hard and finds himself pitching deep into games.
  • Ketel might play off the bench today, but chose to withheld him from the starting lineup to ensure he is healthy for the remainder of the season.
  • Thought Archie threw the ball well yesterday, but threw too many fastballs to a good fastball hitter.
  • Around the five minute mark Jack draws attention to other relievers in the bullpen, outside of Archie Bradley, also with ERA’s north of five and the fact that the team currently does not have a fifth starter or an effective fourth starter. Asked if the team has discussed making any changes. Torey stated that the team is currently looking within the organization (meaning the minor leagues). Torey does not feel that the numbers are indicative of how the relievers are throwing the ball.
  • Jake Lamb played for the third day in a row last night and has an off day today. Wilmer Flores will have a diagnostic scan next week to see how he is healing. Alex Avila is still a ways off having not resumed baseball activities. Luke Weaver will also have a diagnostic scan next week. Taijuan Walker has yet to resume throwing.