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D-backs Preview #84: 7/2 vs. Giants

Zac Gallen tries to give us back-to-back wins

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

LaMonte Wade - 1B Josh Rojas - LF
Mike Yastrzemski - RF Nick Ahmed - SS
Buster Posey - C Eduardo Escobar - 2B
Alex Dickerson - LF Christian Walker - 1B
Brandon Crawford - SS Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B
Wilmer Flores - 3B Pavin Smith - RF
Steven Duggar - CF Stephen Vogt - C
Thairo Estrada - 2B Nick Heath - CF
Alex Wood - LHP Zac Gallen - RHP

Tonight’s starting pitchers, Alex Wood and Zac Gallen, have only 17 characters between them in their names. I wonder how many shorter match-ups there have been in D-backs history? At nine letters, Zac is among the shorter names among our starting pitchers. But not quite the shortest. Going by the names listed on Baseball Reference, one letter less would be Dan Haren, Omar Daal, Juan Cruz, and Zach Duke, each only eight letters long. A little light Googling was not able to shed any further light on the matter. There were a number of position players with shorter names: Ty Cobb and Mel Ott were the first to come to mind. But it would take a good combo of starters to come in below tonight’s number.

The D-backs have another chance tonight to win consecutive games for the first time since May 10-11, against the Marlins. Since then, the team have gone 0-5 after a win, though two of those games were one-run losses - the D-backs did have the lead at some point in both contests.

  • May 16: 0-3 vs. Nationals
  • May 31: 2-6 vs. Mets
  • June 2: 6-7 vs. Mets
  • June 22: 0-5 vs. Brewers
  • June 27: 4-5 vs. Padres

Of course, with this being a four-game set. the team would still need to win two of the remaining three to break their long, ongoing series losing streaks. That dates back even further than the consecutive victories drought, with the last series victory being against Colorado at Chase Field, ending on May 2.

Torey Lovullo notes

Eduardo Escobar has been visibly hobbled of late, with some very awkward running and strides. Asked about whether he was concerned about Eduardo setting himself back at all, and whether he needs a week off his feet or not, Torey seemed to contradict some of his previous comments regarding protecting injured players:

We’re seeing the same thing. We know that there’s obviously some concern there. He’s protecting it, we know that. We’ve talked to him about getting that stride length, and picking up that leg the same exact way he normally would if he wasn’t injured. I think there’s just the natural progression of trust in that leg that there won’t be a breakdown. But we see the same thing.

Torey indicated he was going to give Eduardo a day off in tandem with an off day, so most likely he sits on July 4th, as the 5th is the off day.

We don’t think he’s going to cause more damage to it. He’s able to play, he’s playing at a high level. We just want to make sure that he feels comfortable enough in which he’s been told that he can pick that leg up and continue to test it and not have things back up on him.

Fingers crossed he doesn’t hurt himself badly before then.

Roster Construction: The team currently has 5 left handed outfielder and two left handed catchers. I asked what kind of challenges this creates or frustrations it causes Torey said:

We know what we’re dealing with. We know what our 26 man roster and 13 position player roster looks like. It’s constructed the way it is. No matter what type of challenge that it presents I think it’s an opportunity for somebody to go out there in certain situations and show that they can handle left on left pitching. I think every roster is imperfect and we have to work through those challenges. You see that today’s lineup has a number of left hand hitters in it (vs. Lefty Alex Wood), but once again it’s a chance for them to go out there and show what they can do. We’re missing two very important pieces to this puzzle, Ketel Marte and Carson Kelly , two very good right hand hitters. But we know what the cards are all about. They’re dealt a certain way, we got em in our hand and we’re gonna fight through it.

  • Torey went on to acknowledge at this point it’s less about protecting some of the younger players against tougher match-ups and more about seeing what they can do and developing them for the long term. It should be noted however the team DOES have a right handed outfield bat on the 40 man Roster in Stuart Fairchild. Since coming back from the minor league IL on June 26th he’s 5 for 14 with 3 HR. Fairchild is an above average defender who can play CF. and may be looking to make his MLB debut sometime soon.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]