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D-backs Preview #47: 5/22 @ Rockies

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This one goes to eleven. Can Bumgarner stop the road losing streak?

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, it’s bad. But the Diamondbacks seem to have made a habit over struggling over this part of the campaign in the last few years. Here’s their record for games 26-50 on the schedule of late:

  • 2018: 8-17
  • 2019: 11-14
  • 2020: 6-19
  • 2021: 5-16 (so far)

That’s a total record of 30-66, a win percentage of just .312. The same teams, over the first 25 games, have always posted a winning record, with a combined mark of 58-42, for a win percentage that’s 268 points higher. It’s little wonder we fans are so disillusioned recently. The season always seems to start off well for the first month or so, before a slump that rips the heart out of all out hopes and dreams.

I think, psychologically, a strong start followed by a slump is worse than the other way around, even if the net record at the end of them is the same for both. There’s always hope on Opening Day, and a good start (especially when coupled with the small sample sizes we see in the first month) tends to exacerbate those feelings of optimism. We saw this in the confidence poll at the beginning of May - I’m already bracing myself for a potentially record setting drop from there when we poll again at the start of June. Things do at least get a bit better going forward: in games #51-75 from 2018-2020, it’s back to a winning record each year, with an overall mark of 36-24. Fingers crossed that’s a patter which is followed.

Torey Lovullo notes

Ketel Marte is having a scheduled day off. He’s on a “strict return to play program” Torey noted that playing at high altitude is a risk factor and in fact Ketel got hurt the last time he played there. Torey said he was very encouraged by how Ketel handled a couple of balls and showed natural reaction in the outfield yesterday, and the metrics said his angles and speed to the baseball were good. Prior to that Torey had some concerns in this area watching him out at extended spring training where he did appear a little hesitant, but they knew this would be area for improvement and he showed that yesterday.

“To be totally transparent, even though we believe in going hard down the line ....we’ve told him there are times where you need to back off and just be smart in these early days of your return. So we’ve given him the ok to hold back and you’ll see that from time to time, but I think instinctually when he needs to make a play you’re going to see him at his absolute best”

Team batting slump

I asked Torey if he was especially frustrated by the fact that veterans such as Peralta, Escobar, Ahmed, and Vogt have not been able to lead the team out of the hitting slump. This question was born out of this tweet:

“I’m not going to pin it on those veteran guys because I know they’re giving me their absolute best effort and I think they’re victims of trying to do too much. So my message is to go out there and believe in the process, believe in their routine and get the job done as they have in the past”

I followed up by pointing out to him that team wide swings at CHASE and WASTE pitches really jumped. Prior to the last few weeks they were much better than league average and 2020 in not swinging at those pitches, but over the last couple weeks those Chase swing rates have jumped. So is it approach issues, or pressing to swing at pitches out of the zone because they’re not getting the hits ?

“You’re nailing a couple really key points. The information you’re getting is stuff that we’re aware of..... You’re right, we’re looking to slug and do damage in the air on the pull side by looking for a pitch that’s this big. [Makes circle the size of a baseball in the middle of his chest] And I think we are going up there with a mindset that we have to and need to do something, so we’re searching and swinging for a pitch that’s THAT big.[Widens hands about a foot across]. So we talked about getting back to that thought. We’ll get there. We just need to relax and let the game come to us, and be ready when we get that pitch, we can’t miss it.”

Taylor Widener will start on Sunday.

Carson Kelly will probably NOT require a Reno rehab stint. He should come off IL when eligible in a few more days.

  • Christian Walker may possibly require a couple of games in RENO, but that’s still under discussion.

Torey Lovullo Audio [or link]