The Arizona Diamondbacks have won 3 of their past 4 games, and are on fire offensively.
That is what is being talked about right now. But arguably, the pitching has been better since the 2nd half began.
I saw this note on twitter today and it grabbed my attention: since the All Star Break, only the Cardinals (2.20) who are considered by many the best team in the N.L., and the Mets (3.28), who are leading the N.L. East, have a lower team ERA than the Dbacks (3.47) in the senior circuit.
Considering how much the starting staff has been critized this year, that number is simply amazing. It may not always be pretty as the game goes along, but in the end, the starting staff is getting it done on a consistent basis.
The best example of this is last night’s starter, Rubby De La Rosa. Watching him pitch throughout a game makes you want to pull your hair out, but he is the only starter with 10 wins, and the team has gotten the win in his last 2 starts.
The consistent pitching the Dbacks have gotten from their rotation and the bullpen is one big reason why the Dbacks are only 6.5 GB of the Dodgers in the N.L. West with plenty of baseball to be played.
As long as the starters can go 6 innings, that is what the Dbacks need every night. That has to continue over the next 2 games against the Phillies.
Here is my breakdown of the pitching matchups we will see today and tomorrow.
Aug 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcherJeremy Hellickson
(58) throws to the Washington Nationals during the third inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit:Brad Mills
-USA TODAY Sports
Game 2: LHP David Buchanan (2-6 7.23 ERA) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (7-8 5.06 ERA)
In order to win this series against the Phillies, the Diamondbacks are going to need Jeremy Hellickson to return to the form he was in during July.
In July, Hellickson had a 1.88 ERA and allowed 18 hits in 24.0 innings pitched. Opponents hit .200 against him, and he allowed just 1 HR.
So far in 8.0 innings pitched this month, he has already allowed 12 hits, and more home runs (4). He has given up 11 runs and the team has lost his last 2 starts.
The key for Hellickson is his ability to command his curveball and changeup down in the zone which will allow him to keep the ball in the park.
Hellickson is facing the Phillies for the first time in his career.
Veteran Jeff Francoeur is the only guy on the Phillies who has faced him. In 5 AB’s he is hitting .200. He is batting 5th in the lineup tonight.
A hot offense is a terrible matchup for David Buchanan. He is hittable, and the Dbacks bats are ready.
Buchanan has given up 64 hits in 47.1 innings pitched, and he doesn’t have a very good K/BB ratio (25 K’s/19 B’s). He has given up 5 home runs, and 38 runs. Left-handed batters are hitting .344 against him this season, and righties are hitting .304.
Buchanan features a fastball, cutter, curevall, and changeup.
The Dbacks have the fifth highest average against lefties (.263) this season.
Aug 7, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcherChase Anderson
(57) throws in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Game 3: RHP Aaron Nola (2-1 3.65 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (5-4 4.10 ERA)
Chase Anderson looked like the pitcher we saw for the majority of 2014 in his first outing since coming off the D.L. last weekend against the Reds.
He threw seven scoreless innings against the Reds in his team’s win.
Anderson really likes pitching at Chase Field. In 121 career innigns pitched at home, he has a 3.64 ERA. In 105.1 innings pitched on the road he has a 4.53 ERA. He has given up the same number of long balls (14) at home and on the road.
He made his only start against the Phillies on May 15th at Citizens Bank Park giving up just 1 run on 3 hits over 5.1 innings pitched.
In 3 career at bats, Ryan Howard is hitting .333 against Anderson with 1 RBI.
This will be my first chance to see former LSU standout Aaron Nola.
Nola was the 7th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2014 First Year Player Draft. Nola was called up last month, and will be making his 5th MLB start.
In 24.2 innings pitched he is 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA, a 7.66 K/9, 1.82 BB/9. He has given up 4 HR’s, 10 runs, and 21 hits. Righties are hitting just .189 against Nola, and lefties are hitting .275.
Nola struggled to throw strikes in his last outing.