Diamondbacks Report: Two of Three from Athletics; Three with Pirates Next

Emmanuel Rivera of the Diamondbacks tags Ke'Bryan Hayes of the Pirates. The Diamondbacks face the Pirates after taking two of three from the Athletics.
(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Report: Two of Three from Athletics, Pirates Next

The Arizona Diamondbacks (25–19), second place in the NL West and 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (28–17) after taking two of three from the Oakland Athletics (10–35), continue their nine-game road trip Friday in Pittsburgh. There they will face the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates (23–20) in a weekend series. This edition of Diamondbacks Report will briefly review the Athletics series before previewing the key details of the three games with the Pirates.

Diamondbacks – Athletics Series Summary

Game One was all about Merrill Kelly, who allowed one earned run on four hits in seven-plus innings. He walked one while striking out nine. Miguel Castro and Andrew Chafin pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively, to seal the win. Of note in this game was the ejection of manager Torey Lovullo in the eighth after first base umpire Brock Ballou ruled no swing on an eighth-inning appeal, leading partly to Kelly’s lone walk. When Kelly left the game, he also got the thumb, verbally disputing Ballou’s decision while leaving the field.

Game Two saw a costly seventh-inning error by Evan Longoria — on a play that would have ended the inning — be the turning point of the game. After the error, five unearned runs — four on a Ryan Noda grand slam the batter after the error — turned an 8–4 Diamondbacks lead into a 9–8 Athletics victory in 12 innings. (Note: While the run scored by Noda was earned for Kyle Nelson, who gave it up, it went down as a team unearned run due to Rule 9.16(i).) Of particular frustration to the Diamondbacks was their lack of offensive output from the eighth inning onward. In extra innings, their only baserunners came either from the ghost runner or an intentional walk.

Game Three saw Luis Frias cough up three runs, all earned, in the seventh inning after two walks and a home run. This blew the 3–0 lead he inherited from starter Ryne Nelson. No other Diamondbacks pitcher, however, gave up a run. Two ninth-inning runs gave the Diamondbacks a 5–3 lead, which Miguel Castro preserved with a 1–2–3 ninth.

Diamondbacks and Pirates Storylines

With the Dodgers having won 15 of their past 19 games, the Diamondbacks could have lost far more than 3 1/2 games of ground in the standings, but they didn’t. They cannot control what the Dodgers do. Therefore, taking care of their own business is their only course of action. They’ve gone 11–7 over the same span. Since the Dodgers cannot stay this hot forever, winning every series should keep the Diamondbacks in good shape. In addition, given that Pirates relievers are lights out when protecting a close late-game lead, the Diamondbacks must get to the Pirates starters to have the best chance of winning.

The Pirates began the season 20–8, the best record in the National League up to the end of play on April 29. Since then, they have lost 12 of 15, stumbling to second place in the NL Central. However, they are only a game behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. A series win here is important for them to either keep pace with or surpass the Brewers.

Pitching Matchups between the Diamondbacks and Pirates

Game One — Friday, May 19, 6:35 pm Eastern/3:35 pm Arizona Time

Game One is a matchup between Pirates righty Johan Oviedo (2–3, 5.14 ERA, 119 ERA-minus) and Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen (6–1, 2.35 ERA, 54 ERA-minus).

In Oviedo’s eight appearances, all starts with three quality starts, he has struck out 36, walked 20, and has a 1.643 WHIP across 42 innings. On average, he pitches 5 1/3 innings per start and gets about six runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .282 against him, 31 points higher than the NL average of .251. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Oviedo 1.643 18.3% 10.2% 1.5%
NL Average 1.342 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%

In Gallen’s NL-leading nine appearances, all starts with six quality starts, he has struck out 70, walked eight, and has an NL-leading 0.855 WHIP across 57 1/3 innings. On average, he pitches 6 1/3 innings per start and gets about four and a half runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .197 against him, 54 points lower than the NL average of .251. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Gallen 0.855 32.1% 3.7% 0.9%
NL Average 1.342 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%
Matchups with Current Rosters

Oviedo has only faced the Diamondbacks once, a start at Chase Field on May 28, 2021, while with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 4 1/3 innings, he gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking six and striking out three. He took a “no decision” in a game the Cardinals ultimately won.

Only three members of the Diamondbacks’ current roster have faced Oviedo in major league play. Pavin Smith is 1-for-1 with a double and two walks. Josh Rojas is also 1-for-1 with two walks, but his hit was a single. Nick Ahmed is 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout.

Gallen has faced the Pirates twice in his career, both in 2022. Combined, he was 1–1. His win saw him scatter three hits across seven scoreless innings, walking two while striking out eight. The loss was a tough loss, meaning he took a loss while still producing a quality start. In six innings, he allowed two runs on five hits, walking three while striking out four and surrendering a solo home run.

Eight Pirates on the active roster have faced Gallen. Connor Joe, the former Rockie, is 1-for-9 with four strikeouts. Bryan Reynolds is 1-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts. Tucupita Marcano is 0-for-4 with two walks and three strikeouts. Austin Hedges — a former San Diego Padre — is 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Jack Suwinski is 2-for-3 with two doubles. The remaining Pirates who have faced Gallen are Carlos Santana, 1-for-3; Ke’Bryan Hayes, 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout; and Jason Delay, 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Game Two — Saturday, May 20, 4:05 pm Eastern/1:05 pm Arizona Time

Game Two features Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller (W–L, 2.63 ERA, 55 ERA-minus) and Diamondbacks rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (0–1, 8.59 ERA, 196 ERA-minus).

Keller has not given up an earned run in either of his last two starts. Two starts ago, he threw a complete-game four-hit shutout against the Colorado Rockies. He last gave one up three starts ago in the last inning of the appearance. This puts his scoreless streak at 16 innings. In his nine appearances, all starts with seven as a quality start, he has struck out 69, walked 14, and has a 1.024 WHIP across 56 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches 6 1/3 innings per start and gets about four runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .208 against him, 43 points lower than the NL average of .251. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Keller 1.024 30.1% 6.1% 1.8%
NL Average 1.342 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%

In Pfaadt’s three appearances, all starts with none as a quality start, he has struck out 11, walked six, and has a 1.568 WHIP across 14 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches five innings per start and gets about four runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .293 against him, 42 points higher than the NL average of .251. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Pfaadt 1.568 16.9% 9.2% 10.8%
NL Average 1.342 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%
Matchups with Current Rosters

Keller has faced the Diamondbacks once in his career. That came in a start on August 10, 2022, at Chase Field. Keller went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, walking one and striking out three while earning the win.

Five Diamondbacks on the active roster have faced Keller. Evan Longoria is 2-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout. Ketel Marte is 1-for-3 with an RBI. Christian Walker is 1-for-2 with an RBI, a strikeout, and a sacrifice fly. Geraldo Perdomo and Emmanuel Rivera are both 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Brandon Pfaadt has never faced the Pirates in his brief major league career, nor has he faced anyone on their active roster.

(Author’s Note: The only way Pfaadt could have faced anyone on their roster would have been if the Pirates had — within the last 16 days — traded for a position player on the Texas Rangers, Miami Marlins, or San Francisco Giants.)

Game Three — Sunday, May 21, 1:35 pm Eastern/10:35 am Arizona Time

Game Three pits another pair of right-handers, Roansy Contreras (W–L, 4.40 ERA, 102 ERA-minus) for the Pirates and Merrill Kelly (W–L, 2.92 ERA, 67 ERA-minus) for the Diamondbacks.

In Contreras’ eight appearances, all starts with four as a quality start, he has struck out 32, walked 20, and has a 1.444 WHIP across 45 innings. On average, he pitches 5 2/3 innings per start and gets about two and a half runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .265 against him, 14 points higher than the NL average of .251. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Contreras 1.444 16.6% 10.4% 2.1%
NL Average 1.342 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%

In Kelly’s nine appearances, all starts with five as a quality start, he has struck out 55, walked 21, and has a 1.089 WHIP across 52 1/3 innings. On average, he has pitched 5 2/3 innings per start (although it’s rising) and gets about three runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .197 against him, 54 points lower than the NL average of .251. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Kelly 1.089 26.6% 10.1% 2.4%
NL Average 1.342 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%
Matchups with Current Rosters

Contreras has faced the Diamondbacks once — June 4, 2022, in Pittsburgh. His start lasted 5 2/3 innings, and he allowed one run (unearned) on four hits, walking two and striking out eight. He would have taken the loss if not for a two-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth by Jack Suwinski.

Seven Diamondbacks on the active roster have faced Contreras. Ketel Marte is 2-for-3 with two doubles. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is 1-for-3 with a double. Josh Rojas is 0-for-3 with a strikeout, while both Pavin Smith and Christian Walker are 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The other active Diamondbacks to face him are Geraldo Perdomo, 1-for-2 with a walk, and Jose Herrera, 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Kelly has faced the Pirates three times in his career. All were starts. He is 2–0, having allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 15 hits (two homers), walking nine while striking out 13.

Seven Pirates on the active roster have faced Kelly. Austin Hedges is 0-for-10 with a strikeout. Connor Joe is 2-for-6 with a walk. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3-for-6 with a double and a strikeout. Bryan Reynolds is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Tucupita Marcano is 0-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout. Two others have faced Kelly as well — Rodolfo Castro, 1-for-3, and Jack Suwinski, 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Reliever Comparisons

Pirates

The Pirates have eight relievers currently active. All pitchers are right-handed unless followed by (L). For reference, the NL average save percentage is 63%, and the inherited runners scored percentage is 31%.

Long relief
  • Yohan Ramirez — 8 GR, 12 1/3 IP, 2 inherited runners (IR)/0 inherited runners scored (IS) (0%), 1.297 WHIP, 28.3 K%, 11.3 BB%, 1.9 HR%.
Middle relief
  • Rob Zastryzny (L) — 7 GR, 5 2/3 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 1.941 WHIP, 22.2 K%, 18.5 BB%, 0.0 HR%.
  • Jose Hernandez (L) — 16 GR, 17 1/3 IP, 3 IR/1 IS (33%), 1.038 WHIP, 27.5 K%, 4.4 BB%, 2.9 HR%.
  • Dauri Moreta — 17 GR, 20 IP, 13 IR/1 IS (8%), 1.000 WHIP, 37.2 K%, 15.4 BB%, 2.6 HR%.
  • Duane Underwood Jr. —17 GR, 21 IP, 8 IR/5 IS (63%), 1.429 WHIP, 12.8 K%, 10.5 BB%, 2.3 HR%.
Set-up
  • Colin Holderman — 16 GR, 16 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 1.313 WHIP, 27.9 K%, 5.9 BB%, 1.5 HR%, 0/1 SV/OPP (0%).
  • Robert Stephenson — 13 GR, 11 IP, 9 IR/2 IS (22%), 1.091 WHIP, 27.3 K%, 13.6 BB%, 2.3 HR%, 0/0 SV/OPP (—).
Closer
  • David Bednar — 16 GR, 16 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 0.750 WHIP, 34.4 K%, 1.6 BB%, 0.0 HR%, 9/10 SV/OPP (90%).
Scoreless Outings

The Pirates relievers on the active roster have pitched a combined 109 games in relief (GR). Of the 109, 87 have been scoreless — 79.8%, best in the National League, whose active roster average is 72.3% and overall average is 69.3%. Here is the scoreless percentage (ScOtg%) for each reliever on the active roster, as of Friday early afternoon. Also included is the percentage when only considering earned runs (ER Only).

When only considering earned runs, the Pirates slip to third, since their percentages do not change but the percentages of the second-place San Diego Padres (81.8% from 78.5%) and third-place Philadelphia Phillies (81.1% from 77.5%) do.

Name GR ScOtg ScOtg % ER Only
Colin Holderman 16 14 87.5% 87.5%
Dauri Moreta 17 14 82.4% 82.4%
David Bednar 16 15 93.8% 93.8%
Duane Underwood Jr. 16 12 75.0% 75.0%
Jose Hernandez 16 11 68.8% 68.8%
Rob Zastryzny 7 4 57.1% 57.1%
Robert Stephenson 13 11 84.6% 84.6%
Yohan Ramirez 8 6 75.0% 75.0%

Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks also have eight relievers currently active. All pitchers are right-handed unless followed by (L). Jose Ruiz’s stats are with the Diamondbacks only; they do not include his time with the Chicago White Sox. For reference, the NL average save percentage is 63%, and the inherited runners scored percentage is 31%.

Long relief
  • None.
Middle relief
  • Luis Frias — 3 GR, 2 1/3 IP, 3 IR/0 IS (0%), 3.857 WHIP, 13.3 K%, 20.0 BB%, 6.7 HR%.
  • Anthony Misiewicz (L) — 6 GR, 6 2/3 IP, 1 IR/0 IS (0%), 1.500 WHIP, 13.8 K%, 10.3 BB%, 0.0 HR%.
  • Kevin Ginkel — 17 GR, 18 1/3 IP, 8 IR/2 IS (25%), 1.255 WHIP, 20.8 K%, 9.1 BB%, 1.3 HR%.
  • Kyle Nelson (L) — 20 GR, 17 IP, 18 IR/6 IS (33%), 1.412 WHIP, 27.0 K%, 6.8 BB%, 2.7 HR%.
  • Jose Ruiz — 14 GR, 17 1/3 IP, 2 IR/1 IS (50%), 1.212 WHIP, 25.7 K%, 5.4 BB%, 2.7 HR%.
Set-up
  • Scott McGough — 21 GR, 22 IP, 6 IR/0 IS (0%), 1.045 WHIP, 24.4 K%, 8.9 BB%, 5.6 HR%, 1/4 SV/OPP (25%).
  • Miguel Castro — 21 GR, 19 2/3 IP, 9 IR/3 IS (33%), 0.966 WHIP, 20.8 K%, 7.8 BB%, 1.3 HR%, 3/4 SV/OPP (75%).
Closer
  • Andrew Chafin (L) — 21 GR, 16 2/3 IP, 13 IR/7 IS (54%), 1.200 WHIP, 37.1 K%, 7.1 BB%, 2.9 HR%, 6/8 SV/OPP (75%).
Scoreless Outings

The Diamondbacks relievers on the active roster have pitched a combined 123 games in relief (GR). Of the 123, 90 have been scoreless — 73.2%, eighth in the National League, whose active roster average is 72.3% and overall average is 69.3%. Here is the scoreless percentage (ScOtg%) for each reliever on the active roster, as of Friday early afternoon. Also included is the percentage when only considering earned runs (ER Only).

When only considering earned runs, the Diamondbacks climb to seventh (76.4%).

Name GR ScOtg ScOtg % ER Only
Andrew Chafin 21 18 85.7% 85.7%
Anthony Misiewicz 6 4 66.7% 66.7%
Jose Ruiz 14 10 71.4% 71.4%
Kevin Ginkel 17 12 70.6% 76.5%
Kyle Nelson 20 15 75.0% 85.0%
Luis Frias 3 0 0.0% 0.0%
Miguel Castro 21 18 85.7% 85.7%
Scott McGough 21 13 61.9% 66.7%

Lineup Comparisons

Here is each team’s typical lineup against right-handed starters. Please note that the Pirates have flipped Santana and Suwinski for Friday’s game. wRAA = Weighted Runs Above Average

Pirates

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA
Andrew McCutchen DH .252 .355 .457 7 19 4 3.9
Bryan Reynolds LF .296 .335 .497 5 23 6 4.8
Jack Suwinski CF .226 .354 .472 7 20 5 4.1
Carlos Santana 1B .241 .333 .372 2 22 4 -0.7
Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B .228 .289 .329 1 10 6 -6.3
Tucupita Marcano SS .259 .338 .397 1 3 1 0.4
Ji Hwan Bae 2B .237 .293 .316 2 11 14 -4.7
Josh Palacios RF .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 -2.4
Austin Hedges C .172 .264 .219 0 7 1 -5.6

Diamondbacks

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA
Josh Rojas 3B .256 .309 .344 0 19 4 -3.5
Ketel Marte 2B .278 .339 .462 5 17 3 3.8
Corbin Carroll RF .279 .363 .493 6 14 10 6.4
Christian Walker 1B .268 .331 .536 11 31 1 6.4
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF .310 .373 .552 7 25 1 10.0
Pavin Smith DH .256 .376 .385 2 14 0 1.9
Gabriel Moreno C .321 .345 .402 1 17 2 0.7
Dominic Fletcher CF .375 .407 .607 2 13 0 5.5
Geraldo Perdomo SS .330 .425 .527 3 20 4 8.3

(Author’s note: Since no left-hander is scheduled to start for either team, we will skip each team’s typical lineup when facing left-handed starters.)

Recent History between the Diamondbacks and Pirates

Being in different divisions, the Diamondbacks and Pirates did not play one another in 2020. However, they have played in the other 24 seasons of the Diamondbacks’ existence. In the most recent three — 2019, 2021, and 2022 — the Diamondbacks have captured the season series. The last time the Pirates, in fact, won the season series was 2016. In 2019, the Diamondbacks won the series, 6–1. The Diamondbacks took 2021, 4–2, and 2022, 4–3.

Schedules for the Rest of their Divisions

NL Central Slate for the Weekend

Every team in the NL Central, including the Pirates, is playing an inter-division series. Two are on the road. One is the third-place Chicago Cubs (19–24), who play three games against the Philadelphia Phillies (20–23, fourth in NL East). The other is the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers (24–19), who have a three-gamer in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays (32–13, first in AL East and best record in the majors). Meanwhile, the fourth-place Cincinnati Reds (19–24) will host three against the New York Yankees (26–20, fourth in AL East), and the fifth-place St. Louis Cardinals (19–26) host a four-gamer with the Dodgers. The Cardinals–Dodgers series played its first game Thursday night, with the Cardinals winning a 16–8 homer-fest.

NL West Slate for the Weekend

The NL West also has nothing but inter-division games on the weekend docket. In addition to the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, the fifth-place Colorado Rockies (19–25) are on the road, facing the AL West-leading Texas Rangers (26–17) in a three-game series. The fourth-place San Diego Padres (20–24) host a three-gamer with the Boston Red Sox (24–20, fifth in AL East), as do the third-place San Francisco Giants (20–23) with the Miami Marlins (23–21, second in NL East).

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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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