The D’backs start an important nine-game stretch – where they play the Reds, Nationals and Braves – today with the weekend series against the Reds at Chase Field.
The Reds (44-30) have the second-best record in the National League, only behind divisional rival Cardinals. Cincinnati is third in the NL in runs scored, OBP and home runs. But their pitching staff has also been very good, compiling a 3.35 team ERA, the fourth best in the NL.
The Reds and D’backs have not yet met this season, but Cincinnati took 5-of-7 last year.
Cueto has continued to be brilliant despite being on the DL twice this season with a “sore muscle behind his pitching shoulder,” according to ESPN. He sports that outstanding ERA with an even better 0.87 WHIP with 37 strikeouts and only 13 free passes in 43.1 innings pitched across seven starts this season. In his last outing, on June 16 – his first off the DL – he tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Brewers, striking out three and walking no one. He will make it very difficult on an already struggling D’backs offense, and he already owns a 5-0 record with a 1.66 ERA in six career starts against Arizona. That means Miley will have to get back on track quickly if the D’backs have a shot of winning this matchup. Miley has three straight quality starts but he has not completed seven innings in any of them and gave up three in two of them while looking nothing close to dominant. Though, his last outing was his best, lasting six innings and only giving up one earned with four Ks and one walk in San Diego on June 15.
Leake may be having his “breakout” season this year, compiling that 2.64 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 14 starts and 88.2 innings. Leake increased his K% from 15.3 last season to an even 17 this season and has decreased his BB% from 5.4 down to 5.2 this season, his third straight season of improving in that category. The only instance that shows Leake may be getting a tad luck is his 6.3 percent HR/FB ratio when his career average is 9.2. However, even if that regresses, Leake should still hover at or below a 3.00 ERA. In Leake’s last outing, he tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Pirates for the win. Another starter breaking out this season is, of course, Corbin. He’s shown no signs of slowing down despite a two four-run appearances in his last four. In those four starts, he still has struck out 18 and walked only three. And most of the hits that fell in were dying quails that just happened to fall in. In his last start, he held the Marlins to two runs over eight innings, striking out seven and only walking one.
Game 3 (Sunday): TBD vs. Mat Latos (6-1, 3.20)
Latos is yet another starter that has been having a great season for the Reds. Though, an outstanding April, when he posted a 1.83 ERA in six games, is the driving force behind most of his numbers. Still, Latos has been right below a 3.50 ERA pitcher since 2011 and will most likely finish near there this year. However, the D’backs have had their way with Latos in his career, pushing his ERA to 4.05 in six starts. With Kennedy’s suspension, the D’backs have to fill in on Sunday and it is yet to be determined who that is officially. But it seems probable that it will be Randall Delgado. His last time out, he allowed two runs across seven innings against the Marlins on June 18. In the process, he whiffed six and walked none.