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D-backs Preview #55: 5/31 vs. Mets

Yeah, a winning streak won’t be easy.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

METS DIAMONDBACKS
Jonathan Villar - 3B Josh Rojas - SS
Francisco Lindor - SS Ketel Marte - CF
Pete Alonso - 1B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Dominic Smith - LF David Peralta - LF
James McCann - C Carson Kelly - C
Billy McKinney - RF Pavin Smith - 1B
Jose Peraza - 2B Josh Reddick - RF
Mason Williams - CF Domingo Leyba - 2B
Jacob deGrom - RHP Merrill Kelly - RHP

Yesterday’ rain-out for the Mets proves unfortunate for the Diamondbacks. Because it means that Jacob DeGrom, rather than pitching there, will start the opener of the series here in Arizona. The last time he faced us, on May 9, we did catch a bit of a break, as he had to leave the game after only five innings with right-side tightness. He had just allowed one hit in those five frames, but was clearly not right, walking three in his final inning - deGrom had issued just four bases on balls over his first 39 innings before that. He came back last Tuesday, and fired five more innings of one-run ball, keeping his ERA for the year at 0.80. A fully healthy deGrom will be a challenge for the Diamondbacks, to put it mildly.

This evening’s alternative to the D-backs game. Well, I’m recapping this one, so there is no alternative. However, we will probably dine out tonight, and take the game in there. Not sure where: it may be Islands, a favored restaurant near SnakePit Towers. But we haven’t been there for... uh, probably 15 months or more. We should probably check to see if it’s still open. Last night, we did watch the Jason Statham/Guy Ritchie action-thriller Wrath of Man. It was decent, though clearly no Snatch. The character Statham played was right in his tough-guy wheel-house, though until the end, it was a bit less action-oriented than I expected. Didn’t realize it was a remake of a French film. Anyway: full review, should you be interested.

Torey Lovullo notes

Torey first addressed the relief and the layers of anxiety and stress peeling off in the late innings of last night’s ball game. He still feels “there is time” with 4 months left and the season and they just need to keep whacking away.

Caleb Smith’s return to the rotation:

Caleb has been throwing the ball really really well. I know at times as I was getting asked that question by you guys if he was considered... he was always under consideration. But he’d been throwing the ball so well out of the bullpen at the time we felt like that was where we need him most. We had some coverage in the starting rotation. Then it finally just got to the point where we felt like he deserved another chance and he’d done it the right way. He was patient, he showed us that he deserved this opportunity. He never once was kicking or screaming or causing a problem, he just went out there and did his job every day in the bullpen, which I appreciate. At times I would have conversations with him one on one that he was making sure that I knew where he wanted to be. I know that he wants to start. I’ve known that the entire time. He;’s back in a spot that he’s comfortable with... We’ll see how it goes.’

He went on to acknowledge the bullpen settling down lately was part of the equation, but having two additional lefties, Joe Mantiply and Ryan Buchter was not really a factor in the decision. Whether or not Smith gets chances beyond tomorrow is still TBD, he’ll continue to be evaluated based on what they give the team.

NOTE: Smith was used almost exclusively in low leverage situations with the team behind. 12 of his 18 relief appearances were Low Leverage, and just 3 were high leverage. 13 of his 18 outings were with the team trailing. He had zero holds and zero saves. His .560 Average leverage index (aLI) is the 3rd lowest on the team. So this calls into question how much he was “needed” in the bullpen. But I didn’t get a chance to follow up with that question.

D-backs Reliever Leverage Stats

  • Zac Gallen threw out to 90 feet today and will throw a bullpen tomorrow.
  • Taylor Widener is still in the treatment phase of his return.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is progressing quickly and may actually proceed to full running by the end of this week.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]