Diamondbacks Report: Running to a Split with Dodgers, Padres

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Diamondbacks Report: Split Salvaged with Dodgers, Padres

A season-opening six-game road trip matched the Arizona Diamondbacks with their 2022 nemeses, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. The Diamondbacks finished 2022 with a combined 10–28 record against the Southern California Powers — 5–14 against each — while going 64–60 against the rest of their schedule. It goes without saying that the Diamondbacks need to improve their performance against this duo. Thanks in large part to their speed, they pulled off a split — 2–2 against the Dodgers; 1–1 against the Padres.

Diamondbacks Offense Report

Immediately glaring was the lack of plate production. The Diamondbacks were dead last in the NL in run production, both measured by wOBA and wRAA. Alek Thomas went 0-for-the series. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had five hits, but they were all singles and did not drive in any runs. Ketel Marte was too aggressive, hitting into outs on the first pitch. Gabriel Moreno is tied for the league lead in double-play groundouts with three — which is one more than his total number of hits.

But there were bright spots. The biggest was Geraldo Perdomo, who made the most of his 10 plate appearances. In one, he laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored a run. During his remaining nine plate appearances, he reached base in six of them — three hits, two walks, and a plunking. Half the time he reached base, he scored. Of his three hits, two were doubles. He also had a stolen base for good measure.

Evan Longoria made his hits count. Two of his three hits went for extra bases — one was a double and the other a go-ahead home run. Christian Walker and Corbin Carroll each had six hits, with Carroll eventually scoring three of those six times.

Some causes for concern are being overaggressive at the plate, which led to the Diamondbacks having drawn only one walk in their first five games combined. They were more patient in the sixth game, drawing seven. In addition, they grounded into nine double plays, tied with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins for the most in the National League.

Diamondbacks Offense ReportTable of offensive stats by player through April 4
* = left-handed; # = switch hitter

Baserunning and Defense

Baserunning helped them greatly in their three wins and kept them in the game for one of their three losses. They swiped nine bases, tops in the NL. It included a first-and-third double steal by Marte (on first) and Josh Rojas, who timed his run home perfectly and accentuated it with a tricky slide. The only time a Diamondback was caught stealing (Jake McCarthy), it took a perfect throw from the catcher to nab him. Also of note — Carroll swiped all three of his in the same game.

In addition, the Diamondbacks were fourth in extra base taken percentage (XBT%), which is how often a baserunner advances more bases than the batter took. In other words, this is how often a runner advances three bases on a double or two-plus on a single. The percentage was 53% — 11 percentage points higher than the league average and trailing only the Padres (67%), Pittsburgh Pirates (60%), and New York Mets (57%).

Their defense has been the best in the NL so far, as the team leads the Senior Circuit in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). With seven DRS, they are seven better than the league average and two better than the second-place team, the Dodgers. On a side note, Moreno and Thomas are in the lineup more for their defense than their offense, and both have done well in that category thus far.

Diamondbacks Pitching Report

Pitching has been hit or miss. With the starters, Madison Bumgarner and Zac Gallen have struggled so far. Ryne Nelson has as well, although not to the extent of the other two. Merrill Kelly did not allow any runs, but had to be pulled so early that it put a heavy burden on the relievers. Zach Davies pitched the best of the five, but also was pulled early enough that it also put a burden on the relievers.

Walks have been high, and so has WHIP. In recent years, the average walk percentage in the NL has been between 8.5 and 9.5%. League average after the first week in 2023 is 9.5%. Davies has a walk rate even with the league average. Gallen is below it. Nelson is 3.5 percentage points above it, while Bumgarner and Kelly are both more than twice as high as the league average. In WHIP, the league average consistently sits in the low 1.300s. Of the Diamondbacks starters, only Davies has a WHIP at or below 1.300. Especially alarming is the WHIP of Gallen, who has a WHIP of 1.594 despite have a better walk percentage than the NL average. This means that he’s giving up a high amount of hits.

Diamondbacks Starting Pitching ReportStarting pitcher statistics through April 4
* = left-handed

Relievers

Drey Jameson has been effective in long relief despite a higher-than-average WHIP and despite giving up a single run in each of his appearances. For the rest of the relievers, look at their WHIPs. If it is below 1.300, the pitcher has been anywhere from effective to outstanding. Those with a WHIP above 1.300 have struggled. Of note — Kevin Ginkel has three appearances. Two were scoreless, yet his ERA is 10.13, which means his high ERA came as a result of one nightmarish outing. Looking at his game logs shows that in his second outing, he allowed three earned runs in a one-inning appearance. With his K%, BB%, K–BB%, and WHIP being where they are, expect his ERA to come back to Earth quickly.

Andrew Chafin, Kyle Nelson, and Miguel Castro have put up zeroes each time they’ve taken the mound. Carlos Vargas has allowed at least one run in each of his appearances.

Diamondbacks Report, Relief PitchingDiamondbacks reliever statistics through April 4.
* = left-handed

Looking Ahead

Keep in mind that there have only been two series. All but one starter have only made one appearance, and the remaining one has made two. The relievers have all made two or three appearances. Aside from Drey Jameson, who has pitched in long relief, and Cole Sulser, who has 4 1/3 innings pitched, no reliever has pitched so much as three innings. Furthermore, the lineups they’ve faced — the Dodgers and Padres — are two of the most frightening in baseball. If the concerns that came from the first two series continue for the rest of the season, that will be cause for alarm. However, if the numbers came as a result of facing lineups with strong hitting prowess, the numbers should settle down.

The same is true with the hitting. Expect the base stealing and good baserunning to continue, as that tends to stay steady no matter who the opponent is. But the Dodgers and Padres have two of the best pitching rotations in the majors. Again, if the run production does not increase after facing teams with lesser pitching, that will be cause for alarm. But if the production was low due to facing tougher-than-usual pitching, the numbers should rise.

The Diamondbacks will face the Dodgers (four games) and Milwaukee Brewers (three games) on their homestand, which begins Thursday.

For more on the reliever statistics used in this report, click here.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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