Arizona Diamondbacks: A Jekyll and Hyde hitting personality
By Mark Brown
The Arizona Diamondbacks are a much better hitting team at home.
Surrounding the Arizona Diamondbacks, there could be a disturbing trend. It’s no secret teams play better at home, or at least, that’s the way things are supposed to transpire.
A general barometer for success is to take two-of-three at home and spilt on the road. On the Diamondbacks recent road trip, they dropped two-of-three in Washington and dropped another two-of-three to the Rockies in Denver. What is alarming remains the kind of team which shows up to these games.
In Chase Field, the Diamondbacks put up frightening numbers. At home, they lead the National League in hitting with a .301 average and place sixth overall in the league in team batting average. That’s a .256 average and the Washington Nationals top the NL with a .285 average.
As productive as this team is in the desert, the opposite can said for the offense away from Chase Field. In road games this season, the Diamondbacks are dead last in the National League with a team batting average of .205. The Miami Marlins top the NL with a road .276 batting average.
All of which worries manager Torey Lovullo. Telling mlb.com after Sunday’s 5-2 defeat to the Rockies that his team seems to be in a funk, that could be a gross understatement for production away from Chase Field. That includes scoring three runs in during their final two games at Coors Field.
"Offensively, we’re in a rut right now. We’re grinding. I think (Rockies Sunday starter Tyler) Chatwood deserves some credit. He threw the ball very, very well, but I think we’re a better offensive team. It’s just we’re in a little bit of a rut right now and we’ll find our way out of it."
If the Diamondbacks show an early season dichotomy among production in and away from the desert, this may not be a bad time for a visit from a team like the Detroit Tigers. After a day off Monday, the Tigers roll into Chase Field for two games and an opportunity for the Diamondbacks to swing the bats well.
Though the Tigers enter play on Tuesday night with a 15-15 mark, they are only 1.5 games behind the American League Central-leading Cleveland Indians. The Indians are on the schedule Monday night with a game against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
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Despite this close in their division, the Tigers have the worst ERA in the AL. Coming into play Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, the Detroit staff has a 5.79 ERA and that can be measured against the league-leading 3.21 from the New York Yankees.
From an offensive vantage, the Tigers are sixth in overall batting average with a mark of .249 and their .241 road batting average is also sixth in the AL.
Lefty Robbie Ray, who was dealt to the Diamondbacks by Detroit as part of a three-team deal also involving the New York Yankees on Dec. 5, 2014, opens the series for Arizona. Currently, Ray is third in the National League with 49 strikeouts. That’s only four behind league-leader Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ray gets the ball to open a nine-game home stand. Sporting a 2-2 mark and an ERA of 3.47, the lefty draws veteran right-hander Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.21) as his mound opponent on Tuesday night.
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In the wrap-up Wednesday night of a quick, two-game set, righty Zack Godley (0-0, 3.60) opposes Detroit left-hander Matt Boyd (2-2, 3.78). Then, the Pittsburgh Pirates roll into the desert for a four-game, weekend series.