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D-backs Preview #39: 5/14 vs. Nationals

Ketel Marte will figure large at Chase Field this weekend. Just not on the field, unfortunately

D-backs, via Twitter

Today's Lineups

Trea Turner - SS Pavin Smith - RF
Josh Harrison - 2B Josh Rojas - SS
Juan Soto - RF Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Kyle Schwarber - LF David Peralta - LF
Starlin Castro - 3B Andrew Young - 2B
Josh Bell - 1B Stephen Vogt - C
Yan Gomes - C Josh VanMeter - 1B
Max Scherzer - RHP Daulton Varsho - CF
Victor Robles - CF Riley Smith - RHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled OF Nick Heath from Triple-A Reno.
  • Placed INF Asdrúbal Cabrera (strained right hamstring) on the 10-day injured list.

No surprise here at all, if you saw last night’s game and saw Cabrera being helped off the field. Quite how long he’ll be gone for, we don’t know, but I imagine it won’t be a quick return. Expect Eduardo Escobar to play full-time at 3B for now, with the team figuring out how to cover second-base as appropriate. It does mean the team will continue to be unable to run out their “best” line-up, something which has eluded them every game this year. They are currently down a season-high five of those nine: Cabrera, Kole Calhoun, Christian Walker, Zac Gallen and Ketel Marte.

However, for perspective, things could be quite a lot worse. And are, for the rest of the National League West. Here are the standings in the National League West Injured List, from Spotrac

  1. Padres: 17 players
  2. Dodgers: 12 players
  3. Giants: 11 players
  4. Rockies: 7 players
    D-backs: 7 players* [link not updated yet for Asdrubal]

The Padres’ figures are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, but even taking those off, they still have a full dozen players on there. All told, they lead all of baseball for the year, with 23 players and 573 days lost - barely six weeks in. For the D-backs, the same figures are 10 players and 237 days. So while it may seem we have been troubled, it’s just a reflection of the epidemic of injuries that is affecting every team this year. But I do note that both the players honored with bobbleheads this year are currently on the DL, in Marte and Walker. Maybe Arizona should have a Clayton Kershaw bobblehead night? :)

Torey Lovullo notes

Asdrubal Cabrera went to IL with right hamstring strain. Still gathering information and they have no further info to offer on the injury or expected length of IL stay. Torey texted with Asdrubal a few times and Asdrubal is hurting both physically and psychologically and is very sad.

Nick Heath was recalled to fill the spot. Torey felt Nick did a fantastic job when he was up earlier in the year.

Asked about the Domino effects on the Infield, i.e. more Pavin Smith at 1b, Josh Rojas at 2b? etc.: “I wish I could give you a firm answer on that. I don’t know. I think right now we’re all just trying to put one foot in front in the other and focus on today’s lineup. I’m used to having a lineup built several days in out but that is not the case right now. We feel very good with the type of players that we have. They complement one another, they’re very versatile. Pavin is going to find himself in the middle of that mixture, but today we’re going to get a look at Josh VanMeter. He’s played 20 big league games there. He’s played several in the minor league and he’s comfortable there.“

Torey mentioned again he’s trying to put out lineups that can score runs. Asked if he was willing to sacrifice defense for offense: “Yeah, at times. It’s always a balancing act for me. I believe in our players from a defensive aspect. Obviously certain guys stand out such as Nick Ahmed. But I feel like by and large we have guys that have very good clocks and pick up the baseball and throw it in the right direction and collect the outs they’re supposed to. But yeah, at times , different times in different games I will sacrifice a little defense for us to go out and put up points upon the board.”

JACKS NOTE: In 2010 71.3% of all Plate Appearances resulted in a ball in play where the defense could impact the outcome. In 2021 that number dropped to 62.6% of PA resulting in balls in play, which is over a 12% decrease from just a decade ago. Like it or not, the relative value of defense has clearly dropped in today’s game.

Rotation: Seth Frankoff will start tomorrow’s game and Luke Weaver will start on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner will be pushed back to Monday in LA. The reason for delaying the decision on Frankoff getting a start was just in case they needed to use him out of the bullpen should there have been a short outing the last couple of days. Inserting him into the rotation allows the team to give all the other starters an extra day’s rest, which is what they had planned to do all along anyway. This also allows Torey to use Bumgarner against the Dodgers in LA, which is a matchup he desired.

Frankoff is not replacing anybody in the rotation, but everything is on the table. It’s still not determined if Matt Peacock will take a turn or be replaced. It also depends on whether he is needed in relief in the mean time.

Nick Ahmed is getting a scheduled, targeted day off against the tough right hander.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]