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D-backs Preview #143: 9/12 @ Mariners

Maybe this time?

NHL: JUL 21 2021 NHL Expansion Draft Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Nick Ahmed - SS J.P. Crawford - SS
Ketel Marte - CF Mitch Haniger - RF
Daulton Varsho - C Ty France - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Kyle Seager - 3B
David Peralta - LF Abraham Toro - 2B
Henry Ramos - RF Luis Torrens - DH
Seth Beer - DH Tom Murphy - C
Andrew Young - 2B Jarred Kelenic - CF
Josh VanMeter - 3B Dylan Moore - LF
Tyler Gilbert - LHP Yusei Kikuchi - LHP

The last time the Diamondbacks won a series on the road was April 25: that remarkable day in Atlanta when the team blanked the Braves in a seven-inning double-header, that included Madison Bumgarner’s no-hitter [quotes NOT used advisedly]. Since then Arizona has played seventeen series on the road, without winning one of them. They are 0-16-1, with a split of a two-game series in Texas the only thing standing between them and complete failure. They have had opportunities to win some of those seventeen sets, though even those have been relatively few and far between. It has been more than a month since the last, in San Diego on August 8. But since Atlanta, they’re 0-5 in potential series winning games, as follows:

  • June 27 @ Padres: 4-5
  • July 11 @ Dodgers: 4-7
  • July 25 @ Cubs: 1-5
  • August 7 @ Padres: 2-6
  • August 8 @ Padres: 0-2

This futility is clearly on the offense, who have scored a total of 11 runs across those five contests. Doing better than that will almost be essential. if the Diamondbacks are to end the streak of road failure which has lasted 412 months - over which time, they have gone a feeble 9-45 away from Chase Field. With their remaining road series against the Dodgers, Astros and Giants, opponents who have three of the best five records in baseball, further opportunities for Arizona may be difficult to come by.

Last night’s victory did lift Arizona’s interleague record this year to 2-14. While that .125 W% is still the worst in the history of play between the two leagues, it is at least within touching distance of the next worst. The current worst mark for a full season is shared by the 2010 Pirates and 2012 Rockies, who both were 2-13 (.133). With four games left to play, the D-backs need just one win over those contests to finish at .150, and thereby avoid setting a new low win percentage.

Torey Lovullo notes

  • Caleb Smith Suspension Impact is considered to be minimal. While down a man from 28 man roster expansion, “We managed to play through the season with 26 guys, so minus one, [27 guys] we should be just fine. We’re missing Caleb, he’s an important part ot the team”
  • Tyler Gilbert: He has some adjustments he’ll need to make facing the same team back to back, but he’s been good at making adjustments so far.
  • J.B. Wendelken got the ball in the 9th. He was going to pitch last night no matter what, as he hadn’t thrown in a while. ”He has been everything we had hoped for. He’s shown us an aggressive fastball on both sides of the plate, swing and miss secondary stuff that he can land and bury”
  • Daulton Varsho moving up in the lineup: I asked Torey last night if he was considering moving Varsho up, and the MLB reporter asked him about that today. Torey decided to take the opportunity to tease me a bit, joking. ”I just was following the advice of these unbelievable writers that give this unbelievable advice.” Turning serious he said “It’s my job to consider changes and stay ahead of it. Timing is everything. The mind of a young player works differently than anybody on this call realizes. I just wanted to be sensitive to where he was going and what he was doing day by day. But it’s a 1.000 OPS since the all star break. I felt like it was the right time.”
  • Seth Beer will likely get at least some time at first base during the upcoming series in LA. He feels he’s an engaged player, gets excited by good results and has a high baseball IQ
  • Asked about the DH again, and whether having it would make his job easier he didn’t mention lineup decisions, but rather joked about looking forward to not having to deal with angry starters getting pulled as early due to needing to pinch hit for them. “They all think they can hit like Roger Maris”

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]