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D-backs Preview #119: 8/14 vs. Padres

Is this the best-played series of the year so far?

MLB: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Fernando Tatis - RF Josh Rojas - 2B
Adam Frazier - 2B Ketel Marte - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Asdrubal Cabrera - 1B
Jake Cronenworth - SS Carson Kelly - C
Tommy Pham - LF David Peralta - LF
Eric Hosmer - 1B Pavin Smith - RF
Victor Caratini - C Drew Ellis - 3B
Trent Grisham - CF Nick Ahmed - SS
Nabil Crismatt - RHP Zac Gallen - RHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Placed RHP Merrill Kelly and LHP Joe Mantiply on the injured list.
  • Recalled LHP Miguel Aguilar and RHP Sean Poppen from Triple-A Reno.

Kelly’s departure is a result of him testing positive for COVID, and Mantiply as a close contact. Interestingly, pitching coach Matt Herges is also not currently with the team, though of course there’s no injured list for staff. We’ll hear what Torey Lovullo has to say about this in a little bit, below.

Arizona came into this series wobbling, having dropped four in a row and been outscored 23-11 over that time. But the last three games have felt almost like an entirely different team: against an opponent with genuine playoff aspirations, the D-backs have got good starting pitching, timely hitting and clutch bullpen work. The results? They go into this finale with the series already won, and a chance to tie their season high winning streak, having blown away the Padres in first three games by a combined tally of 22-5. That +17 run differential is the D-backs’ best for any trio of contests this year, beating the +16 put up over the double-header shutout in Atlanta and the 5-1 win over San Diego which followed it.

I’m feeling hopeful, with the Padres looking at a bullpen game this afternoon. Their starter will be Craig Stammen, who gave up the walk-off home-run to Daulton Varsho in Friday’s game. Can’t be many times a pitcher has done that AND started a different game in the same series! If we can get more #SadStammen, as pictured top, I’ll be fine with that. Never mind, it looks like they are now using something called a Nabil Crismatt. I trust it can only end badly for them.

But it would also be nice to get Gallen a win, since he hasn’t had one of those since April. If you had told me at the start of the season that, on August 15th, Zac would have fewer W’s for the 2021 Diamondbacks than Brett De Geus, I would probably have said, “Who’s Brett De Geus”? It’s been a rough go for Gallen of late; here’s to him turning it around today.

Torey Lovullo notes

As Torey mentioned last night and can be seen from the team’s roster moves, Merrill Kelly has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been place on the IL. Merrill has what Torey described as minor symptoms. Back in May Merrill revealed that he had not been vaccinated. Torey could not discuss his current status in that regard. As part of the contact tracing protocols, Joe Mantiply has been placed on the IL. This is the same situation as happened a couple of weeks ago. He must test negative for 7 days before he can return to the team.

Pitching Coach Matt Herges is also unable to be with the team due to the same contact tracing. Herges is usually seen wearing a mask in the dugout, indicating he is also unvaccinated. There is lengthy discussion in the audio regarding all of this, and it touches on the subjects of added concern for the unvaccinated and issues of personal choice vs. impact on others on the team and roster. While admitting frustration and hinting at his own personal views, he declined to make a statement on this sensitive subject.

On a happier note, there was a pretty cool anecdote right at the end of the session where Torey revealed some comments from Mike Fetters to him. It should be noted that originally Tyler Gilbert was on a 85 pitch count. As the game progressed, Torey had multiple conversations with medical staff and coaches about how far to extend him to go after the No Hitter.

Fet had to ground me a little bit and slowed it down for me because I was really uptight about a pitch count and putting him in a position where he was going to potentially get hurt .......Fet got my attention by saying look, it’s his first career start Torey, think through this the right way. You only have one of those. And he has the potential to throw a no-hitter. This one’s just a little different than any other. That made a lot of sense to me.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]