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Preview, #114: 8/6 vs. Phillies

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It took a while, but Mike Leake finally makes his debut as an Arizona Diamondback tonight at Chase Field.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

PHILLIES DIAMONDBACKS
Corey Dickerson - LF Jarrod Dyson - RF
Rhys Hoskins - 1B Ketel Marte - CF
Bryce Harper - RF Eduardo Escobar - 2B
J.T. Realmuto - C David Peralta - LF
Jean Segura - SS Christian Walker - 1B
Cesar Hernandez - 2B Jake Lamb - 3B
Scott Kingery - 3B Nick Ahmed - SS
Adam Haseley - CF Alex Avila - C
Jake Arrieta - RHP Mike Leake - RHP

Mike Leake is a Diamondback. He was almost one back in 2015 as a free-agent, when Pedro Gomez of ESPN Tweeted out that Arizona were “pretty close to signing” Leake. But he ended up going to St. Louis instead, on a five-year deal worth $75 million, with a sixth option year at $18 million. Hard to argue Arizona would have been better off signing him than getting Shelby Miller - though the team would probably have been better off signing ME than getting Shelby Miller. Over the 323 seasons since, Leake has been paid about $55 million and put up 5.7 bWAR, with an ERA+ of 97 across 114 starts, which is... okay, I guess as free-agent signings go.

We’ll probably want him to be a bit better than “okay, I guess” tonight against the Phillies. This isn’t a series the D-backs can afford to lose if they have serious wild-card aspirations, especially in a home series against another team with playoff hopes. They showed over the weekend that they can win these, coming from behind to beat the Nationals. Last night’s underwhelming performance puts them in a similar situation this series. They’ll need both of their new guys - not just Leake, but also Zac Gallen, who starts tomorrow - to deliver. It would be extreme to hope Leake can match his near-perfecto from earlier in the year, or even the average of the man he’s basically replacing, Zack Greinke. Wouldn’t hurt though...

Torey Lovullo’s Media Briefing

  • Blake Swihart caught last night. Will be part of certain situations in the future when he comes back. He would not be assigned starts, but may be used in an emergency situation or even a double switch if needed. So they wanted him ready in case that situation comes up. No Reno game tonight may be re instated tomorrow or day after. Torey would not indicate if they will go with 13 pitcher or 12 when Swihart is activated.
  • In 12 games in Reno 58 PA in Reno, Swihart has hit .245/.345/.500 with 2 doubles, a triple, and 3 HR. He’s taken 8 Walks and K’d 11 times
  • Jack’s thought: Obvious implication is if they stick with 13 pitchers then a position player would have to be optioned, and the only candidate would be Tim Locastro. (Barring an IL stint) If a pitcher is optioned it would seem most likely Robby Scott or Kevin Ginkel is sent back down. Looking at the schedule however, after the off day on the 8th, they play 13 straight games, the first six of those in LA and Colorado. So they may really need that extra reliever. If that’s the case, then Locastro could very well be the casualty of Swihart’s return. Most of Swihart’s work would come as backup on the corner outfield. So there’s that.
  • Luke Weaver will throw a flat ground bullpen to a squatting catcher for the first time.
  • Matt Andriese will throw 45 pitches in his next rehab outing in Visalia
  • Jake Lamb’s shoulder is fine, though he was probably a little scared when he first went down.
  • Torey did not think players are “burning out” despite playing max effort each night.
  • Starters for Dodgers Series will be Ray, Young, Leake