Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Next Up: The Arizona Diamondbacks

The Pirates wrap up a ten-day homestand--the longest of the season, along with ten straight at home in early September--with three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They took two out of three against the Diamondback in April in Arizona despite being outscored 24-21. This is the last time the teams will meet this season.

How Are They Doing Lately? Arizona's 11-16 over the past 30 days, the third worst record in the National League. The Pirates's 15-10 is the league's fifth best record. Arizona's scored 4.7 runs per game (fourth in the league; the Pirates are second at 5.0) and given up 4.9 per game (the second most in the league; the Pirates have given up the third most at 4.7. By their run differentials, the Pirates should've won two fewer games and the Diamondbacks should've won two more. In any case, Arizona enters play at 21-25, fourth in the West, 6.5 games behind the Giants.

What's Going Right? Offense. Over the last 30 days, they're third in the league with a .276 batting average and .444 slugging percentage and fourth with a .336 on base percentage. That's been supported by an unsustainably high .330 batting average on balls in play, and they hit a lot of balls (51%, second most in the league) on the ground--hard to get an extra-base hit on a ground ball--but they're made more hard contact than any team in the league.

What's Going Wrong? Pitching. The starters' ERA is 4.42, fourth highest in the league over the last 30 days, and the relievers' ERA of 4.98 is worse than any team but the execrable Reds. The team's stranded only 71% of baserunners, the fifth worst in the league. They've been good at getting opposing batters to chase pitches outside the strike zone, getting swings at a second-best-in-the-league 33% rate, but they've been challenged to find the zone in the first place, with a league-worst 46% rate.

Who's Hot? Rookie Brandon Drury, who's split his time between left, right, and third, has been the team's best hitter over the past 30 days, with a .318/.348/.561 slash line and leading the team with six home runs. Third baseman Jake Lamb, who plays only against right-handed pitchers, has hit .259/.344/.506, and Wellington Castillo has been one of the top-hitting catchers at .325/.353/.488. Backup catcher Chris Herrmann, acquired in an offseason trade with the Twins, has been a folk here, batting .370/.412/.739 in 52 plate appearances over the past 30 days.

On the mound, the top two starters over the past 30 days have been Rubby de la Rosa (2-1, 2.03 ERA in four starts) and Zack Greinke (4-1, 4.20 ERA over six starts). Setup man Daniel Hudson has a 1.74 ERA in eleven games and 10.1 innings over the past 30 days, and Jake Barrett has a 1.80 ERA in eleven games and 10 innings, along with 12 strikeouts and no unintentional walks. 

Who's Not? Many Diamondbacks fans would say that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's .244 batting average over the past 30 days is a disappointment, but I'm more inclined to focus on his .421 on base percentage and .444 slugging percentage, both well above average. The only really bad hitter's been shortstop Nick Ahmed (.190/.242/.250), who's in there for his glove, not his bat. The bullpen, other than Hudson and Barrett, have a 5.98 ERA over the last 30 days, and starters Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray have combined for a 2-7 record and 5.56 ERA over eleven starts.

What's the Outlook? The two teams combined for an average of 15 runs per game in April. Expect a lot of runs this time around, too. The Pirates are the better team, and have better pitchers (Liriano-Locke-Cole) starting than Arizona (Miller-de la Rosa-Corbin).

No comments:

Post a Comment