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Arizona Diamondbacks Series Preview: A quick pair of games against the snakes

The second half of the home-and-home that started in May has finally arrived.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

We saw the Diamondbacks back in May, but it’s worth reiterating that they lost 110 games last year in a season where everything went wrong and have come back to be better but still not good. Offensively, they get the bulk of their power from Christian Walker, who has 29 homers but they aren’t totally without power beyond him. Still, they don’t score a ton of runs and a lot of that is because they simply don’t get on base enough. But they are giving former Royal Emmanuel Rivera a shot and he’s done very well to start his Arizona career. On their pitching staff, they have two excellent starters, one okay starter and then they pay Madison Bumgarner quite a bit of money. Their bullpen has a couple of guys, but also a couple of gas cans. It’s sort of what you’d expect for a team that is 11 games under .500. They’ll have their moments, but overall just aren’t good enough to sustain that success. I think we can relate to that in Kansas City.

Royals vs. Diamondbacks Matchup Stats

Category Royals Diamondbacks
Category Royals Diamondbacks
Winning % .403 .455
H2H Wins 0 2
Team wRC+ 92 92
Team xFIP 4.47 4.28
Run Differential -147 -33
Highest fWAR Brady Singer, 2.1 Merill Kelly, 3.3

Diamondbacks Projected Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Josh Rojas 3B 368 .286 .359 .416 10.3% 18.5% 116 2.8
Emmanuel Rivera DH 268 .247 .306 .441 6.3% 22.0% 108 0.8
Ketel Marte 2B 431 .257 .341 .431 10.4% 17.9% 114 1.6
Christian Walker 1B 493 .220 .318 .470 11.8% 19.1% 116 2.8
Dauton Varsho RF 493 .235 .305 .417 8.3% 23.2% 99 2.6
Jake McCarthy LF 204 .276 .340 .416 7.8% 21.6% 111 1.2
Carson Kelly C 230 .224 .283 .371 6.5% 20.4% 81 0.8
Alek Thomas CF 327 .241 .294 .370 6.1% 18.7% 84 0.7
Geraldo Perdomo SS 381 .188 .282 .264 10.2% 20.7% 58 0.3

Diamondbacks Projected Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Cooper Hummel C/OF 162 .170 .278 .291 12.3% 31.5% 62 -0.5
Sergio Alcantara INF 156 .211 .253 .324 5.1% 23.1% 59 0.0
Stone Garrett OF 17 .400 .400 .600 0.0% 17.6% 176 0.3
Jordan Luplow OF/1B 199 .166 .261 .383 10.1% 27.1% 77 0.2

Diamondbacks Key Relievers

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Ian Kennedy 45 41.0 4 6 21.0% 9.1% 3.29 4.75 0.0
Joe Mantiply 54 49.1 1 4 25.8% 2.1% 2.19 2.45 1.2
Mark Melancon 47 41.2 3 10 15.8% 8.9% 5.18 4.50 0.5

Royals vs. Diamondbacks Projected Pitching Matchups

August 23 - RHP Zach Davies vs. RHP Jonathan Heasley, 7:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Zach Davies 19 97.0 2 4 18.3% 8.4% 3.99 4.42 0.6
Jonathan Heasley 13 61.0 1 7 16.5% 10.4% 5.61 5.31 -0.4

Zach Davies has generally been a solid pitcher throughout his career. Before last year with the Cubs, he was above average by ERA in five of his first six seasons. Then he just tanked last year and ended up in Arizona on a one-year deal. And he’s been fine. His strikeout rate is about where it was before 2020 and while his walk rate is higher than before that year, it’s still a good chunk lower than last season. Davies is mostly a two-pitch guy throwing a sinker and a changeup. The sinker has been okay, but he doesn’t have an exceptional ground ball rate. Still, he’s allowed a .232 average and .435 SLG on it. The changeup has been his best pitch and really is the only one he gets whiffs on consistently. Davies has been a lot better at home than on the road, which is good for the Royals. He’s also struggled quite a bit more with runners on and specifically with runners in scoring position this season, so a Royals offense that is considerably better at home lately needs to take advantage of all of that.

Career vs. KC: 3 GS, 15.2 IP, 1-1, 5.74 ERA

Jonathan Heasley will return to the big leagues for this start and maybe a couple more, at least until Max Castillo is eligible to return. So this is an opportunity for a young pitcher who was showing a lot before an injury earlier this season. He did make a nice start in a doubleheader against the White Sox a couple of weeks ago, but had to go back down by the rules and now he’s getting a chance with Brad Keller’s shift to the bullpen. I actually think Heasley could see his fastball become a bit of a weapon if he can locate it better, but until then, I’d like to see him throw many fewer. He’s sitting at 46.4 percent usage this year, but he’s allowed a .593 SLG on it. His changeup, slider and curve have all been better pitches. For my money, I’d love to see him cut 7-10 percent of his fastballs and replace them with sliders.

Career vs. ARI: 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 0-0, 5.40 ERA

August 24 - RHP Zac Gallen vs. RHP Brady Singer, 7:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Zac Gallen 23 132.2 9 2 25.1% 6.7% 2.78 3.47 2.6
Brady Singer 20 110.0 6 4 25.6% 6.5% 3.27 3.37 2.1

Sometimes I look at the trade that sent Zac Gallen to the Marlins just to laugh. He went there with Sandy Alcantara and a couple of others for Marcell Ozuna. The Marlins did trade him and got back Jazz Chisholm, so I sort of understand that at least, but I can’t imagine two guys as good as Gallen and Alcantara are traded in the same deal too often. He was very good as a rookie in 2019. Then he finished ninth in the Cy Young voting in 2020. He struggled some last year because I think he missed in the middle just a little bit too much, but he’s come back this year and has been outstanding, particularly lately. Gallen hasn’t allowed a run since August 2. He’s recorded 64 outs since his last run allowed. That’s silly. Gallen throws a four-seam fastball at 94 or so. He mixes in with that a curveball, changeup and cutter. All are really good pitches. He also has reverse platoon splits with a .658 OPS allowed against righties and a ridiculous .505 OPS allowed against lefties. Neither is good for hitters. He does have typical splits in that he gets worse as he faces a lineup more, but because he’s good, he never gets what you’d call “bad” or anything. It’s just a little easier to get to him the third time through. You’ll see it in the stats below, but he did have one of his worst starts of the year against the Royals back in Arizona.

Career vs. KC: 1 GS, 5.1 IP, 0-0, 10.13 ERA

I’m running out of praise for Brady Singer. He’s obviously been very good since his return from AAA back in May, but he has a 1.88 ERA in six starts since the break. He’s thrown 38.1 innings in those starts with 45 strikeouts and 11 walks. His walks have crept up over his last couple of starts with seven of those 11. Now, the first one was against the Dodgers and that’s a lineup that sometimes walks aren’t the worst thing. His last start against Tampa Bay, though, he just didn’t have any semblance of control in his first three innings and settled down after that. I’d like like to see him get back to walking basically nobody (obviously), but even if he’s walking a few, he’s shown that he can get the job done even without his best command.

Career vs. ARI: First Appearance

Royals vs. Diamondbacks Prediction

That’s a juicy pitching matchup in game two that should be a lot of fun. The Royals are a much better team at home right now, but I’m going to say that they split this series and the Royals get to a day off that they desperately need.


How does this short series go?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Royals win both.
    (27 votes)
  • 22%
    Diamondbacks win both.
    (25 votes)
  • 53%
    It’s a boring split.
    (59 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now