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D-backs Preview #40: 5/15 vs. Nationals

The Seth Frankoff era begins...

D-backs, via Twitter

Seth Frankoff makes his debut for the Diamondbacks today, becoming the ninth different Diamondback to start a game in 2021. That ties the franchise mark for most starting pitchers used through 40 games, previously set in the 2003 season. [Trivia question: can you name the nine pitchers used in 2003? Answer at the end] It’s difficult to know what to expect from him, with Frankoff having just 4.2 major-league innings since making his debut as a Cub in 2017. There’s little or no recent minor-league data for him either, what with 2020 having been wiped out, and Frankoff spending 2018-19 in Korea. But perhaps the latter can give us some idea of his overall potential, especially in comparison to Merrill Kelly, who also pitched there.

Below, you can find the two men’s stats for their time in the KBO [here’s the image full size, if the one below is too hard to read], with Frankoff on the top and Kelly on the bottom. To quote Jack’s summary, “Frankoff more dominant. Fewer hits and homers, slightly more walks, slightly more K’s, lower WHIP, far fewer unearned runs, so superior RA9. Frankoff far better in the year they overlapped too, (2018). Also interesting to note the HBP. Doesn’t look like wildness… looks like he likes to go after hitters.” Since returning, Kelly has been slightly better than league average, with 4.34 ERA (102 ERA+). However, there seemed to be a period of adjustment: in his first ten starts, his ERA was 4.75.

All told, I’m just hoping for Frankoff to be able to eat a few innings, after Riley Smith went only three last night. We’re in the middle of a stretch of 20 games in 20 days for the D-backs. Though in the last turn around the rotation, Weaver, Kelly and Bumgarner all did pitch into the seventh inning, which will help the workload on the bullpen. That and having David Peralta take the mound.... On a personal note, today will be my first game back at Chase Field since... Oh, it feels like forever, but was presumably at some point in 2019. Looking forward to seeing ish95 and his family, as well as a bunch of other people. On the plus side, at least the game can’t possibly go as disastrously wrong as last night. Can it? :)

The nine pitchers used in the first 40 games of 2003 were: Elmer Dessens, Curt Schilling, Byung-Hyun Kim, Miguel Batista, Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson, Andrew Good, Oscar Villarreal and John Paterson.

Torey Lovullo notes

The team received yet another big blow today. Carson Kelly went on the IL with a Chip Fracture on his left big toe. He injured it the night before last fouling a ball off his foot in the 1st inning. He played the entire game, but after further evaluation it was determined he will need this IL stint and will be evaluated in 10 days.

Chris Devenski was also placed on the IL with right elbow inflammation

Domingo Leyba and Yoan Lopez have been recalled for tonight’s game.

Daulton Varsho is behind the plate tonight and will be getting opportunities in Kelly’s absence.

Ketel Marte played 6 innings today in a game against the Rockies minor leaguers at Salt River. He played Centerfield, and had a couple of hits. His running looked good according to Torey who was able to watch the game. Tomorrow is an off day for Ketel and then he will be sent out on a rehab assignment in Reno. It was not made clear how many games he will play other than it will be at least one.

Taylor Widener threw a bullpen and will pitch in a rehab game on the 18th. He may require a second rehab start to get to 90 pitches. It’s not yet determined. They’ll evaluate after his start.

Torey Lovullo Audio LINK