Diamondbacks@Mariners: Breaking Down the Starting Pitching Matchups


The Arizona Diamondbacks will play the Mariners in Seattle for the first time since 2009 starting tonight.

After taking 3 of 4 from the Brewers the Diamondbacks head to Seattle to start a criticial 6 game road trip against the Mariners and the Astros. Its trade deadline week and the Diamondbacks are one of those bubble teams: there not really a buyer or a seller and they could just do nothing.

The criticial question is this team ready to contend and make a run this season. The Dbacks are suppposedly interested in Cole Hammels which could signal their going for it. I dont know if there ready to make that move right now, but they can improve their chances by winning 2 sereis against A.L. West foes that they dont always play.

Earlier today, my colleague Tom Lynch looked at 5 players to watch in this series. Now I will break down the starting pitching matchups we will see this week at beautiful Safeco Field.

Jul 22, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher

Robbie Ray

in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1: LHP Robbie Ray (3-5 2.72 ERA) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (4-4 3.25 ERA)

Two left-handers face off in game 1. Since joining the rotation, Robbie Ray has been the Diamondbacks best starter. He has the lowest ERA of any Dbacks starter this season, and has a FIP of 2.63.

Their are many reasons for Ray’s success this season. His 0.30 HR/9 rate is the lowest in the majors and he has a HR/FB% of 2.7%. This has to suprise most fans considering which park is his home. He has made the majority of his starts (33.1 IP vs. 26.1 IP) on the road, and he is much better on the road with a 1.35 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .171 against him on the road, compared to .291 at home.

Thanks to better control Ray has also reduced his walk rate and increased his strikeout rate from last year. His fastball velocity sat at 93.5 mph in early July, and it is at 91.3 right now. To put that in prespective according to FanGraphs, Clayton Kershaw is at 93.6, and David Price is at 93.8.

Ray features a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. He will throw his fastball 61.6% of the time, and he will throw his changeup 83.4% of the time. He will mix in the other 2 pitches on occasion.

Ray has struggled as of late. In the 2nd half he has a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched, and opponents are hitting .310. He gave up 5 runs in 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Marlins at Chase Field.

Ray lost to the Mariners in his only career start against them.

The big problem for Ray this season has been the 2nd and 3rd innings. He has given up 6 ER in 20 innings in those innings. Hitters are batting .275 in the 3rd against him.

The Dbacks will face rookie southpaw Mike Montgomery who is filling in for the injured James Paxton. He has done well overall going 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA and a 4.80 FIP. His ERA is helped thanks to a good Mariners defense.

Montgomery also hasn’t pitched well lately going 0-2 with a 9.27 ERA in his past 3 starts. Last Wednesday he lasted just 2 and 2/3 innings in Detroit.

Montgomery features a fastball, cutter, curveball, and a changeup. He will throw his fastball 51.9% of the time at 90.8 mph. His changeup is his primary offspeed pitch at 21.9% of the time.

Montgomery also doesn’t give up home runs, and he has struck out 45 compared to 21 walks in 63.2 IP.

The key against him is to hit with RISP. He has a 5.73 FIP and a .216 BABIP in that situation.

Zach Godley was untochable during his major league debut. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.

Game 2: RHP Zack Godley (1-0 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1 4.50 ERA)

Zack Godley was historically fenomenale in his major league debut last Thursday against the Brewers tieing Max Scherzer‘s record for most strikeouts in a debut with 7, and he became the first pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) to pitch six scoreless innings with 7 K’s and 0 BB’s.

His stuff is great. We will see if he can repeat his control and command. Godley mainly relies on his cutter which he will throw 59.1% of the time at 90.7 mph. He also has a four seamer, a curevall, and a changeup.

Iwakuma has never faced the Dbacks, but he has been a staple in the Mariners rotation in recent years. He is pitching his best as of late. He is 2-0 with a 1.74 over his last 3 outings.

He spent most of the first half on the D.L. He started the season going 0-1 with a 7.17 ERA in his first 4 starts. He features a fastball, splitter, sinker, slider, and a curevall. He throws his fastball 32.7% of the time, and his slider 19.6% of the time.

Iwakuma has given up 10 HR’s this season. Righties do better (.266) than lefties (.250) against him, and the time to get him is in the 1st inning (7.71 ERA).

Jul 24, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher

Felix Hernandez

(34) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Game 3: LHP Patrick Corbin (1-3 3.68 ERA) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (12-5 2.69 ERA)

This is the matchup of the series and it should be a ton of fun. Before undergoing Tommy John Surgery, LHP Patrick Corbin was the Dbacks ace.

Last time out against the Brewers, he had his best start of the season giving up 1 run in seven innings while striking out 10. He has never faced the Mariners.

Corbin features a fastball which he will throw 68.9% of the time at 90.9 mph. He relies on his slider as his out pitch and that is the pitch he gets most of his strikeouts. He also features a changeup.

Lefties in limited action against Corbin this season have hit him hard. They are hitting .286 in 3.1 innings with 4 hits. He has made one start on the road and has a 7.20 ERA.

The key for Corbin this season is keeping the ball in the ballpark. He has given up 5 home runs this season and his HR/9 rate has skyrocked (2.05) compared to 2013 (0.82).

The Diamondbacks get their crack at one of the best pitchers in baseball, the King Felix Hernandez. King’s Court will be out in full force during this game and for good reason.

Despite the Mariners struggles, Hernandez has put together another great season. He has struck out 124 batters in 130.1 innings pitched. Nobody is hitting him with lefties at .213 and righties at .212.

Hernandez is leading the A.L. with 12 wins and 2 shutouts.

He has also been pitching his best baseball since the 2nd half started. After struggling in June, he has a 1.38 ERA in 13.0 IP after the all star break.

The one problem for Hernandez is keeping the ball in the park. He has surrendered 11 home runs.

It will be fun to see Paul Goldschmidt face off against Hernandez. In 2 career starts against the Dbacks he is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA giving up 13 hits in 14.1 innings.