The best and worst of August
I hate that the Dodgers are so good. The two MLB leaders in batting WAR are Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman for crying out loud (eye roll).
Diamondbacks fans went into last night's game with high hopes. Their beloved team had won 8 of their last 10 and their ace was on the hill in Zac Gallen.
Unfortunately, things did not fall for their team last night. Gallen gave up 3 runs in the 1st and 3 runs in the 6th; that was all she wrote for him. With a 7-4 victory, The Dodgers improved to 81-49 and the D-backs regressed to 69-63.
But there's no need to worry, Arizona still holds the 3rd wild card spot and after this series with LA, their schedule is going to become a little lighter.
August was a month of extreme highs and extreme lows for Arizona. To start the month, they lost 9 games in a row. Going into their August 12th tilt against the Padres, they were 2 games below .500 and were 3.0 games out of the 3rd wildcard spot.
But a massive turnaround has boosted this once lowly ball club back into the playoff picture. Let’s look at what players aided that turnaround and which players were big reasons for all the L’s in the box scores.
Diamondbacks worst performers in August
You gotta get the negatives out of the way first right?
When the Diamondbacks acquired infielder Jace Peterson from the A’s they knew what they were getting. A below-average hitter with a talented glove at the hot corner.
So far with Arizona, he has been okay defensively (-1 OAA) but he has really struggled at the dish.
In August specifically, Peterson has gone 9-48 (.188 average) and he has struck out in over 30% of his plate appearances. Both of those numbers are very alarming. The 33-year-old looks to turn things around in the last full month of the regular season.
The pitcher with the worst August showing is reliever Miguel Castro. It’s been a rough season for the flame-throwing righty, and things didn't get better for him in the dog days of summer.
In 13 August games thus far, Castro has posted a 1-2 record with a 12.46 ERA. His batting average against this month is .351; .351?! He has also had 3 appearances where he gave up 2 runs or more. Is that bad? I think that is bad.
Hopefully, these two veterans can figure things out for the playoff push…
Diamondbacks best performers in August
Saving the best for last.
Christian Walker has been reliable virtually all season, but he really turned it up a notch in August. So far this month, Walker has gone 28-91 (.308) with 6 homers, 19 RBIs, and 13 runs.
On the season, Walker ranks 4th in the NL in extra-base hits, 5th in RBIs, and 9th in OPS. He also leads all first basemen in outs above average (10) and runs prevented (8).
On the pitching side of things, Merrill Kelly has been excellent this month. In 5 August starts, Kelly is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He has racked up 37 strikeouts and has only surrendered 8 free passes in his 30.1 innings pitched.
Here is where Kelly ranks among all NL starters this season: 3rd in ERA, 5th in batting average against, 7th in WHIP, and 9th in SO/9.
These two have been stars for this team all season and were a huge part of the August U-turn this team took…