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D-backs Preview #134: 8/31 vs. Padres

And so, August ends. It was... okay.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Trent Grisham - CF Nick Ahmed - SS
Jake Cronenworth - SS Ketel Marte - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Carson Kelly - C
Fernando Tatis - RF Christian Walker - 1B
Eric Hosmer - 1B Pavin Smith - LF
Austin Nola - C Andrew Young - 2B
Adam Frazier - 2B Drew Ellis - 3B
Jurickson Profar - LF Jake McCarthy - RF
Blake Snell - LHP Zac Gallen - RHP

I was a bit surprised to see the D-backs record, going into tonight’s final game of August is 11-17. That’s the same number of wins as in July - but it’s also five more losses than last month, where they played almost .500 ball (going 11-12). But it’s interesting to note that, in terms of runs scored and allowed, they have actually played a little better in August, on both sides of the ball.

  • Runs scored per game: July 4.17; August 4.32
  • Runs allowed per game: July 5.78; August 5.32

The difference is that only three of July’s eleven wins were by more than two runs. Five of the dozen losses were blowouts, with more than a five-run margin - and, of course, there was that franchise-worst 22-1 defeat at the hands of the Dodgers. This month, despite starting with another murder at the hands of LA (0-13), that has been balanced by things like the three-game streak against the Padres, where the D-backs outscored them 22-5. All told, this month’s record is a more accurate reflection of runs scored/allowed than last month, where the D-backs over-performed in close games.

Torey Lovullo notes

  • Luke Weaver has been announced as the starting pitcher for tomorrow. This was surprising as Torey had previously indicated that Luke would need to face live hitters again before being recalled. Taylor Widener was originally scheduled to make the start. “We feel like he’s extremely ready for this, he’s been working very hard for this day... he was extremely close before he was put on the 7 day COVID list. We felt like there was enough of a buildup where he could throw a bullpen and be ready to go. We never really cemented any of our decisions on one side of the other
  • Rotation going forward: They are still deciding whether to remove anyone from rotation or to go with a 6 man rotation.
  • Last night’s bunt play, what happened and who was more responsible for the ball, or was it just whoever can get to it? [A topic of some discussion in last night’s recap]

I think there was just a lack of communication. Two players aggressively going after the ball. That’s something that we talk about. We talk about stalking the baseball when there’s a bunt or a swinging bunt. Then there’s got to be communication, obviously with a verbal command of I got it and then footwork to get in or out of the play. If you’ve got footwork that keeps you in the play you rotate and finish the play off. If you’re not, you fall out of the play. I just think it was two players that were eagerly going after the baseball, trying to make a baseball play on a bunt that was well placed - but not well placed enough that we shouldn’t have gotten it.

It’s really who can get to it first. So you’re just judging your space. And we practice it so much in spring training, and we practice at full speed for this very reason. Because you’re going to be traveling to the baseball as fast as you can to save as much time as you possibly can. The pitcher was hustling down the line so there was a need for some aggressive moves to the baseball. Daulton does a great job of getting out from behind home plate. He’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. I think maybe Christian was a little surprised by how fast he got out there. Once again, it’s something we talk about in practice, but I think the breakdown happened when nobody used the command to call one another off.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]