Diamondbacks gearing up for their biggest season series

Diamondbacks vs Braves. Need I say more?
Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

I have said it once and I will say it again.  Don’t panic.  Whatever you do, do not panic.  This team will rebound, this team will be fine.

Arizona is 2-8 in their last 10 games.  They are also losers of 4 in a row.  In their last 4 games, they have averaged less than 3 (2.75) runs of offense per game and they have a team ERA of 5.75.  Not ideal.

Despite the recent woes, the Diamondbacks still hold a wildcard spot with a 52-42 record.  The Phillies are creeping up however and remain only a half-game back of Arizona for the final wildcard position.

Today, the Diamondbacks get the day off as they travel to Atlanta.  They face their biggest challenge of the season, and this 3 game series will tell us a lot about this Arizona team.

Atlanta is red-hot.  They are 30 games above .500 and own the best record in baseball. They are also 31-14 (69% win rate) at home.  The Braves boast the best offense in the NL while simultaneously boasting the best pitching staff in all of baseball.

Buckle up, the ride begins tomorrow, and it sure will be a rollercoaster.  Let’s hope the Diamondbacks are the ones laughing after the ride is over…

Diamondbacks @ Braves game 1 pitching matchup

For the D-backs, Zach Davies will get the ball to start the game.  After an atrocious start to the season, Davies has settled down some.

In his last 3 starts, he has pitched 18 innings and surrendered 7 earned runs (3.50 ERA).  His overall numbers are still not great, but in his recent stretch, he has been reliable.

In his career against the Braves, Davies is 1-1 with a 4.98 ERA in 4 starts.  On paper, this looks like a brutal matchup for Arizona given the Braves powerhouse offense.  

But baseball is weird, and about 3 weeks ago Davies pitched a 7-inning gem (0 ER) against the 2nd best offense in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays.

For the Braves, young star Bryce Elder will make his 19th start.  Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, Elder has been one of the best starting pitchers in the NL all season.

Among NL starters, Elder is 6th in ERA (2.97), 13th in batting average against (.237), and 16th in WHIP (1.20).

Elder was completely dominant in April and May, but he slowed down a little in June and got shelled in his last start against the Rays (7 ER in 3.1 innings).

Once again, this seems like a brutal matchup for Arizona, but a hope they can cling to is that Elders' numbers are worse at home than on the road.

Diamondbacks @ Braves game 1: Players to watch 👀

For Arizona, the bats have been cold.  Ketel Marte however, continues to stay hot.

In Marte’s last 21 games, he has 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, and an OPS of .852.  In the month of June, Ketel had an OPS of 1.040 which was 5th in all of baseball.

Let’s see if Marte can sparkplug this offense.  It would be a treat to see this whole unit return to creating the fun at-bats we were starting to get used to.

For Atlanta, first basemen Matt Olson is on another planet right now.

In his last 21 games, Olson has hit 10 HRs, 27 RBIs, and has recorded a ridiculous OPS of 1.239.  He has 19 extra-base hits in his last 21 games; that is insane.

Over the last 30 days, the only big league hitter that has been more potent than Olson is Dodgers star, Mookie Betts…

Can you imagine how fun the plane ride to Cincinnati will be after the Diamondbacks win this series?