Things to Know About the Arizona Diamondbacks

The Mets hang around Citi Field this weekend for a three game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here’s some stuff you might want to know about them:

Record: 8-9
Manager: Kirk Gibson.
Park: Home games for the Mets. Citi Field reduces scoring, home runs, and attendance.

Quickly . . .
Can they hit? Yes.
Can they pitch? Goodness, no.
Can they field? Sorta.
Who’s their best player? Justin Upton

Lineup:
LF – Willie Bloomquist – R
2B – Kelly Johnson – L
RF – Justin Upton – R
SS – Stephen Drew – L
CF – Chris Young – R
C – Miguel Montero – L
3B – Melvin Mora – R
1B – Juan Miranda – L

If you can ignore that Willie Bloomquist (.317 career on-base percentage) is batting leadoff, there’s plenty to like about Arizona’s lineup. That is, there is plenty to like if you like Mets opponents scoring runs. The D-Backs are strongest up the middle, as Miguel Montero, Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew, and Chris Young — the one not born on giant island — form a quartet of talented players in their (relative) primes. Montero in particular is off to a hot start at the plate, hitting .358/.443/.585, but a less hot start behind it (5 errors). Throw in Justin Upton, still just 23, and Arizona has a core of young players that can put runs on the board.

Oh yeah, they strike out. Everyone strikes out a lot. You should probably know that.

Rotation:
4/22: LHP – Joe Saunders (vs. Mike Pelfrey)
4/23: RHP – Barry Enright (vs. Dillon Gee)
4/24: RHP – Armando Galarraga (vs. Jon Niese)
Miss: RHP – Ian Kennedy
Miss: RHP – Daniel Hudson

Hey, guess what: Arizona sports the most extreme fly ball pitching staff in the National League, with Game 1 starter Joe Saunders the only ground ball pitcher. Hey, guess what else: The Diamondbacks play their home games in one of the most homer-happy parks in baseball, where the desert air carries fly balls. Does anyone see how this could go wrong? Anyone? Please show all work for full credit.

Somewhat predictably, the Diamondbacks’ starters have been about as bad as the Mets’ through the season’s first three weeks. They walk people, give up home runs, and have thrown the fewest innings in the league. All three starters the Mets face this series have ERAs above 6.00. Arizona’s offense can score plenty of runs, but their pitching gives up even more.

On the other hand, Citi Field might prove a nice retreat for the flyball bunch. So who knows.

Bench:
C – Henry Blanco
1B – Russell Branyan
IF – Ryan Roberts
OF – Gerardo Parra
1B/OF – Xavier Nady

Kirk Gibson, in his first full year as manager, has shown that he likes to use his bench so far (or, alternatively, that he is indecisive about playing time). Russell Branyan and Xavier Nady have each received multiple starts at first this season, while Ryan Roberts has split time with Melvin Mora at third. Old friend Hank White does the caddying behind the plate and remains as photogenic as ever.

Bullpen:
RHP – J.J. Putz
RHP – David Hernandez
RHP – Juan Gutierrez
RHP – Sam Demel
LHP – Joe Paterson
RHP – Esmerling Vasquez
RHP – Josh Collmenter

This group’s 4.19 ERA ranks them 14th in the league, but the D-Backs’ pen have been the victims of some misfortune (they’re 1st in xFIP), and Aaron Heilman (who allowed 3 home runs and 9 runs in 4 outings before being DL-ed). That said, closer-person J.J. Putz and setup-person David Hernandez have pitched well at the end of games, allowing just 1 run each in 16 collective outings. Rule 5 pick Joe Paterson serves as the only lefty in the bullpen, and with Saunders the only other lefty on the staff, expect plenty of chances for the Mets’ lefty bats, William Charles Harris and Daniel Thomas Murphy.

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2 Comments

Filed under Columns, Words

2 responses to “Things to Know About the Arizona Diamondbacks

  1. LOVE this write-up format. Thank you for listening to your fan(s).

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