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D-backs Preview #157: 9/28 @ Giants

Of shutouts and strikeouts...

MLB: JUN 29 Diamondbacks at Cardinals

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - SS Tommy La Stella - 2B
Ketel Marte - 2B LaMonte Wade - 1B
Daulton Varsho - C Buster Posey - C
Kole Calhoun - RF Brandon Crawford - SS
David Peralta - LF Kris Bryant - LF
Pavin Smith - 1B Mike Yastrzemski - RF
Josh VanMeter - 3B Evan Longoria - 3B
Jake McCarthy - CF Steven Duggar - CF
Luke Weaver - RHP Logan Webb - RHP

Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Dodgers was the fifteenth time the Diamondbacks have been shut out this season. That’s just one off the franchise record, set in their inaugural season of 1998. But there’s a case to be made that these shutouts have been more woeful: Arizona’s OPS across those fifteen games is fifteen points lower than the figure posted across the sixteen games of 1998. The collective line this year is .137/.191/.169, for a .360 OPS. What stands out particularly, however, are the strikeouts. In 1998, the Diamondbacks averaged 6.75 strikeouts per shutout. This year, they have averaged 10.87 K/SO. [Walks are almost the same, at 2.07 vs. 1.94] But then, strikeouts overall have been coming at a high rate.

With six games left, Arizona have already surpassed all but four seasons in franchise history, having struck out 1,413 times: 9.06 per game. If that is sustained the rest of the way, they will end up at 1,467, which is good enough for second place. However, it will still be more than sixty behind the all-time Arizona mark. That was set back in 2010, when they had 1,529 K’s. Five players that year had over 140 strikeouts; we may have no-one there this year, Josh Rojas’a 131 currently leading the team. 2010 was led by Mark Reynolds’s 211. That still sits =6th all-time across MLB, though Joey Gallo (205) may challenge Special K. Of course, Reynolds’s 2009 (223 K’s) is still the all-time record.

Torey Lovullo notes

How do you view these last 6 games: ”Like we have all year all year long, we want to go out and play our type of baseball, do what we do best, throwing strikes, picking up the baseball behind those strikes, having at bats where we control the zone.... we don’t want to be the team that sets the franchise all time record in losses”

How COVID impacted your season: ”Our team has been very diligent in their efforts to maintain good health. It has affected us. It has affected a couple players. But it hasn’t spread beyond the player. Each time we had somebody step out. It leads me to believe we are following the protocols that MLB and the CDC set before us”

On being one of 7 teams not to reach 85% vaccination rate: It’s presented some challenges for us. We don’t have the relaxed protocols that some organizations do....we came very close to the 85%... I respect the decision that everybody made individually whether they wanted to get vaccinated or not. I wish it was a different story where we were 100% vaccinated where we wouldn’t have to face some of the issues with the illness or the virus, but that’s not the case.”

First time facing Logan Webb this season: “As I’m looking at some of the match-ups they’re not so plentiful. I see a lot of guys with maybe one at bat, or two at bats, several with no at bats.”

How much emphasis do you put on head-to-head match-ups when making lineups: “It’s there, There’s a familiarity when you see a pitcher and you know his release point, you know what kind of stuff is going to be coming out of his hand, and what the shape looks like. I think there’s an advantage once you’ve faced a guy a couple of times. But the pitchers can do so much in advance they can attack holes. There’s no secrets.

I know there are some expected numbers, that’s done with some really crisp and accurate data where the Trackman is picking up the type of pitches, the shape of pitches, and matching bat angles and that game is played 10,000-15,000 times. That gives you some probabilities. It’s not always something that I totally rely on but we weigh it all in there. I know probably your next question, Jack, is how many at bats are going to be necessary for somebody to feel comfortable and show that it’s a trend, Probably around 10 to 15.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]