Diamondbacks Report: Two of Three from Phillies; Three with Red Sox Next

Christian Walker of the Diamondbacks sliding in against the Red Sox. The Diamondbacks host the Red Sox after taking two of three from the Phillies on the road.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Report: Two of Three from Phillies, Red Sox Next

PHOENIX, May 26 — The Arizona Diamondbacks (29–21), second place in the NL West and 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (31–20) after taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies (23–27), open a ten-game homestand Friday. It begins with a three-game weekend series with the Boston Red Sox (26–24) in an interleague series. This edition of Diamondbacks Report will briefly review the Phillies series before previewing the key details of the three games with the Red Sox.

Diamondbacks – Phillies Series Summary

In Game One, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 4-for-4 with two RBI, falling a triple short of the cycle to lead the way. Geraldo Perdomo added a two-run double, and Pavin Smith added a solo homer to lead the Diamondbacks to a 6–3 victory. Tommy Henry notched the victory, with scoreless relief from Miguel Castro, Kyle Nelson, and Andrew Chafin preserving the lead.

Game Two saw a terrific effort from Ryne Nelson, who allowed one run on three hits in six innings, walking none and striking out four. The lead vanished when Kyle Nelson and Jose Ruiz had a rough seventh inning. But a leadoff double by Gurriel in the eighth, a walk by Christian Walker, and an RBI single by Corbin Carroll re-took the lead. Andrew Chafin, Scott McGough, and Miguel Castro combined for two innings of scoreless relief to slam the door on a 4–3 victory.

A Missed Opportunity to Sweep

Game Three saw a taxed pitching staff. Zac Gallen pitched well but took 100 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings. He left with a 5–0 lead, but bequeathed two runners to Ginkel. Two singles and a throwing error by Dominic Fletcher led to both inherited runners scoring, and a third runner score an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth. Ginkel and Scott McGough combined for a scoreless seventh and eighth to keep the Diamondbacks ahead, 5–3.

Jose Ruiz, acting as the closer with the unavailability of Chafin and Castro, coughed up a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth. It wouldn’t have mattered if not for the following hitter, Trea Turner, who belted a game-tying home run. The tenth was an even bigger mess, as two walks — the first being intentional — loaded the bases for Bohm, whose walk-off single gave the Phillies the win. Especially frustrating for the Diamondbacks was their inability to score any runs off the Phillies relievers.

Diamondbacks and Red Sox Storylines

The Diamondbacks, led by manager Torey Lovullo, have won seven of their last ten and nine of their past twelve, and 16 of their past 25. They have the third-best record in the National League. Scoring is their strength, being third in the NL in runs per game with 5.14. The biggest area that needs improvement is performance from starting pitchers not named “Zac” or “Merrill.” In addition, their relievers need to get their WHIP down — in other words, give up fewer baserunners — and reduce the amount of inherited runners that score.

The Red Sox, led by manager Alex Cora, have lost 10 of their last 15. They are currently mired in a four-game skid. Like the Diamondbacks, scoring runs is not a problem, as they are third in the AL in runs scored per game. Pitching is their problem, as both their starters and relievers have trouble keeping runs off the board. Despite their fourth place standing in the AL East, their 26–24 record is the same as the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins. Given how bunched up the whole division is behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox need to start winning series in order to keep pace.

Pitching Matchups between the Diamondbacks and Red Sox

Game One — Friday, May 26, 6:40 pm Arizona Time

Game One is a matchup between the oft-injured Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale (4–2, 5.01 ERA, 112 ERA-minus) and Diamondbacks rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (0–1, 7.65 ERA, 174 ERA-minus).

In Sale’s nine appearances, all starts with five as a quality start, he has struck out 62, walked 13, and has a 1.172 WHIP across 50 1/3 innings. On average, he pitches 5 2/3 innings per start and gets about 4 1/2 runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .238 against him, six points lower than the AL average of .244. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the AL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Sale 1.172 29.0% 6.1% 3.7%
AL Average 1.292 22.9% 8.6% 3.1%

 

In Pfaadt’s four appearances, all starts with four as a quality start, he has struck out 14, walked eight, and has a 1.550 WHIP across 20 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 .291 against him, 40 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 1.550 15.9% 9.1% 8.0%
NL Average 1.341 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%

 

Matchups with Current Rosters

Sale has never started a game against the Diamondbacks. He made one relief appearance against them back in 2011 while with the Chicago White Sox, tossing the third out of the seventh inning in a 4–1 Diamondbacks victory.

Three Diamondbacks on the active roster have faced Sale, all former American Leaguers. Two played in the AL East with him. Evan Longoria faced him 39 times while with the Tampa Bay Rays. Longoria is 6-for-38 with a double, three RBI, a walk, and 15 strikeouts. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the former Toronto Blue Jay, is 3-for-18 with a double, a homer, two RBI, and seven strikeouts. The last Diamondback to face Sale did so while with the Seattle MarinersKetel Marte. Marte is 1-for-6 with a strikeout.

Pfaadt has neither faced the Red Sox nor faced any player on their active roster in his brief major league career.

Game Two — Saturday, May 27, 4:15 pm Arizona Time

Game Two features Red Sox right-hander Garrett Whitlock (1–2, 6.19 ERA, 138 ERA-minus). Whitlock, as of Friday morning, is not on the active roster but will be recalled to make this start. The same is true about Zach Davies (0–0, 5.79 ERA, 132 ERA-minus), who — it was confirmed pregame — will return from the injured list and start for the Diamondbacks.

In Whitlock’s three appearances, all starts with one as a quality start, he has struck out 11, walked three, and has a 1.375 WHIP across 16 innings. On average, he pitches 5 1/3 innings per start and gets about two runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .311 against him, 67 points higher than the AL average of .244. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the AL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Whitlock 1.375 16.9% 4.6% 6.2%
AL Average 1.292 22.9% 8.6% 3.1%

 

(Note: The Davies sample size is extremely small, so take these with a grain of salt.) In Davies’ two appearances, both starts with neither as a quality start, he has struck out seven, walked six, and has a 1.607 WHIP across 9 1/3 innings. On average, he has pitched 4 2/3 innings per start and received about seven runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .257 against him, six 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%
Davies 1.607 16.7% 14.3% 4.8%
NL Average 1.341 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%

 

Matchups with Current Rosters

Whitlock has never faced the Diamondbacks in his career. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the only active Diamondback to have ever faced him, is 2-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Davies, a career National Leaguer, has never faced the Red Sox. Four players on the current Red Sox roster, all former NL West foes, have faced Davies. Turner, including the postseason, is 10-for-29 with two homers, five RBI, and four strikeouts. Tapia is 1-for-9 with a triple and a strikeout. Hernandez is 1-for-8 with two strikeouts. Verdugo has only faced him once, coming away with a pinch-single.

Game Three — Sunday, May 28, 1:10 pm Arizona Time

Game Three pits a pair of righties — Tanner Houck of the Red Sox (3–3, 4.99 ERA, 112 ERA-minus) and Merrill Kelly of the Diamondbacks (5–3, 2.98 ERA, 68 ERA-minus).

In Houck’s nine appearances, all starts with two as a quality start, he has struck out 46, walked 17, and has a 1.253 WHIP across 48 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches 5 1/3 innings per start and gets about 5 1/3 runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .242 against him, two points lower than the AL average of .244. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the AL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Houck 1.253 22.6% 8.3% 2.5%
AL Average 1.292 22.9% 8.6% 3.1%

 

In Kelly’s ten appearances, all starts with five as a quality start, he has struck out 59, walked 23, and has a 1.081 WHIP across 57 1/3 innings. On average, he pitches 5 2/3 innings per start and gets about three runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .194 against him, 57 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 1.081 26.0% 10.1% 2.2%
NL Average 1.341 22.5% 8.9% 3.0%

 

Matchups with Current Rosters

Houck has never faced the Diamondbacks in his career. The only Diamondback on the active roster to have faced him is Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., who is 0-for-4 with one strikeout.

Kelly has faced the Red Sox once — his second major league start, back on April 7, 2019. He was terrific, scattering four hits across eight innings while striking out nine and walking none. His lone run allowed came on a seventh-inning Mitch Moreland home run. Ultimately, the Diamondbacks lost, 1–0, due to an incredible lack of baserunners (four in the entire game).

Six current Red Sox have faced Kelly, three former Dodgers — Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez, and Alex Verdugo — and one — Raimel Tapia — who is a former member of the Colorado Rockies. Turner is 9-for-23 with two doubles, two RBI, four strikeouts, and a sacrifice fly. Tapia — a perpetual thorn in the Diamondbacks’ side — is 7-for-15 with a double and three RBI. Hernandez is 1-for-8 with two strikeouts. The remaining Red Sox to have faced Kelly are Rafael Devers, 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Verdugo, 0-for-3; and Pablo Reyes, 0-for-1.

Reliever Comparisons

Red Sox

The Red Sox have eight relievers currently active. All pitchers are right-handed unless followed by (L).

Long relief
  • Corey Kluber, — 0 GR (9 G), 41 2/3 IP, 1.536 WHIP, 17.7 K%, 9.4 BB%, 5.7 HR%. Kluber is expected to be designated for assignment when the team calls up Garrett Whitlock for Saturday’s start.
Middle relief
  • Kutter Crawford — 6 GR, 27 2/3 IP, 2 inherited runners (IR)/0 inherited runners scored (IS) (0%), 0.976 WHIP, 24.3 K%, 3.6 BB%, 5.4 HR%.
  • Brennan Bernardino (L) — 11 GR, 12 1/3 IP, 3 IR/2 IS (67%), 1.378 WHIP, 18.5 K%, 5.6 BB%, 3.7 HR%.
  • Josh Winckowski — 17 GR, 29 1/3 IP, 1 IR/0 IS (0%), 0.989 WHIP, 19.1 K%, 5.2 BB%, 1.7 HR%.
  • Justin Garza — 5 GR, 4 2/3 IP, 2 IR/0 IS (0%), 0.000 WHIP, 21.4 K%, 0.0 BB%, 0.0 HR%.
  • Nick Pivetta — 2 GR, 45 1/3 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 1.478 WHIP, 23.4 K%, 9.3 BB%, 4.9 HR%.
Set-up
  • Chris Martin — 13 GR, 13 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 1.000 WHIP, 17.7 K%, 3.9 BB%, 2.0 HR%, 0/0 SV/OPP.
  • Joely Rodriguez (L) — 3 GR, 2 1/3 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 3.000 WHIP, 21.4 K%, 21.4 BB%, 7.1 HR%, 0/0 SV/OPP.
Closer
  • Kenley Jansen — 16 GR, 14 2/3 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 1.636 WHIP, 25.0 K%, 14.7 BB%, 1.5 HR%, 10/13 SV/OPP (77%).
Scoreless Outings

The Red Sox relievers on the active roster have pitched a combined 72 games in relief (GR). Of the 72, 50 have been scoreless — 69.4%, 11th in the American League, whose active roster average is 71.3% and overall average is 68.8%. Here is the scoreless percentage (ScOtg%) for each reliever on the active roster, as of the end of play on Sunday. Also included is the percentage when only considering earned runs (ER Only).

When only considering earned runs, the Red Sox drop to 13th despite the percentage rising to 70.8%.

 

Name GR ScOtg ScOtg % ER Only
Brennan Bernardino 11 6 54.5% 63.6%
Chris Martin 13 11 84.6% 84.6%
Joely Rodriguez 3 1 33.3% 33.3%
Josh Winckowski 17 12 70.6% 70.6%
Justin Garza 5 5 100.0% 100.0%
Kenley Jansen 15 12 80.0% 80.0%
Kutter Crawford 6 3 50.0% 50.0%
Nick Pivetta 2 0 0.0% 0.0%

 

Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have eight relievers currently active. All pitchers are right-handed unless followed by (L).

Long relief
Middle relief
  • Kevin Ginkel — 19 GR, 21 1/3 IP, 10 IR/4 IS (40%), 1.266 WHIP, 21.1 K%, 8.9 BB%, 1.1 HR%.
  • Luis Frias — 4 GR, 4 1/3 IP, 3 IR/0 IS (0%), 2.769 WHIP, 12.5 K%, 20.8 BB%, 4.2 HR%.
  • Jose Ruiz — 16 GR, 19 IP, 4 IR/3 IS (75%), 1.474 WHIP, 23.0 K%, 8.1 BB%, 3.5 HR%.
  • Kyle Nelson (L) — 23 GR, 19 1/3 IP, 18 IR/6 IS (33%), 1.345 WHIP, 26.5 K%, 7.2 BB%, 2.4 HR%.
  • Austin Adams — 2 GR, 1 1/3 IP, 1 IR/0 IS (0%), 0.750 WHIP, 40.0 K%, 20.0 BB%, 0.0 HR%.
Back End (They have no true closer, using matchups instead.)
  • Scott McGough — 24 GR, 25 2/3 IP, 8 IR/0 IS (0%), 0.974 WHIP, 25.2 K%, 9.7 BB%, 4.9 HR%, 1/4 SV/OPP (25%).
  • Miguel Castro — 24 GR, 22 1/3 IP, 10 IR/4 IS (40%), 1.030 WHIP, 22.5 K%, 9.0 BB%, 1.1 HR%, 4/5 SV/OPP (80%).
  • Andrew Chafin (L) — 24 GR, 19 1/3 IP, 13 IR/7 IS (54%), 1.190 WHIP, 35.8 K%, 7.4 BB%, 2.5 HR%, 7/9 SV/OPP (78%).
Scoreless Outings

The Diamondbacks relievers on the active roster have pitched a combined 136 games in relief (GR). Of the 136, 101 have been scoreless — 74.3%, seventh in the National League, whose active roster average is 72.7% and overall average is 69.2%. Here is the scoreless percentage (ScOtg%) for each reliever on the active roster, as of the end of play on Sunday. Also included is the percentage when only considering earned runs (ER Only).

When only considering earned runs, the Diamondbacks jump to fourth with 77.9%.

 

Name GR ScOtg ScOtg % ER Only
Andrew Chafin 24 21 87.5% 87.5%
Austin Adams 2 1 50.0% 50.0%
Jose Ruiz 16 11 68.8% 68.8%
Kevin Ginkel 19 13 68.4% 78.9%
Kyle Nelson 23 17 73.9% 82.6%
Luis Frias 4 1 25.0% 25.0%
Miguel Castro 24 21 87.5% 87.5%
Scott McGough 24 16 66.7% 70.8%

 

Lineup Comparisons

Here is each team’s typical lineup against right-handed starters. wRAA = Weighted Runs Above Average

Opponent

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA
Alex Verdugo RF .283 .359 .455 5 19 3 6.2
Masataka Yoshida LF .299 .373 .482 6 29 3 8.1
Justin Turner DH .263 .361 .400 5 18 2 3.5
Rafael Devers 3B .249 .290 .513 13 44 0 3.0
Jarren Duran CF .300 .353 .483 3 19 7 4.6
Enrique Hernandez SS .236 .298 .348 3 17 2 -4.6
Triston Casas 1B .181 .312 .354 6 15 0 -2.3
Emmanuel Valdez 2B .273 .324 .470 3 10 3 1.5
Connor Wong C .231 .286 .452 5 12 1 -0.1

 

Given Raimel Tapia’s success against the Diamondbacks and against Merrill Kelly, do not be surprised if he starts. He is slashing .265/.342/.353 with one homer, seven RBI, five stolen bases, and a -0.3 wRAA.

Diamondbacks

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA
Pavin Smith DH .230 .336 .390 4 18 0 0.6
Ketel Marte 2B .279 .341 .464 6 20 4 4.9
Corbin Carroll CF .286 .380 .509 7 17 14 9.9
Christian Walker 1B .249 .313 .492 11 34 1 3.7
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF .317 .372 .557 8 27 1 11.7
Josh Rojas 3B .254 .316 .341 0 21 5 -3.3
Jake McCarthy RF .143 .229 .238 1 3 2 -5.8
Gabriel Moreno C .304 .341 .400 2 19 2 0.7
Geraldo Perdomo SS .315 .413 .519 4 23 5 9.0

The Diamondbacks are not planning to start any left-handers against the Red Sox. Since the Red Sox are starting one in the first game, here is a probable Diamondbacks lineup against left-handed starters.

Diamondbacks against Left-handed Starters

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA
Ketel Marte 2B .279 .341 .464 6 20 4 4.9
Emmanuel Rivera 3B/DH .323 .354 .452 1 10 0 1.8
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF .317 .372 .557 8 27 1 11.7
Christian Walker 1B .249 .313 .492 11 34 1 3.7
Evan Longoria 3B .221 .269 .477 6 10 0 -0.2
Corbin Carroll CF .286 .380 .509 7 17 14 9.9
Nick Ahmed SS .238 .273 .321 1 10 3 -4.0
Gabriel Moreno C .304 .341 .400 2 19 2 0.7
Jake McCarthy RF .143 .229 .238 1 3 2 -5.8

Recent History between the Diamondbacks and Red Sox

Given that the two teams are in opposite leagues, and one is in the East and the other is in the West, they have not faced one another very often. This will be the eighth season where they meet. The last three times were 2013, 2016, and 2019. In 2013, the Red Sox — who ultimately won the World Series that season — took two of three from the Diamondbacks at Fenway Park. (Side note: their bench coach? Torey Lovullo.) Three years later, in 2016, the Red Sox swept the Diamondbacks at Fenway Park. The most recent meeting came in 2019, when the Diamondbacks took two of three at Chase Field. All-time, the Red Sox lead head-to-head, 13–8.

Schedules for the Rest of their Divisions

AL East Slate for the Weekend

Every AL East team, including the Red Sox, is playing outside of their division on the weekend. Three face NL West opponents, one faces an AL West opponent, and the remaining team faces an AL Central foe. Two teams are on the road, with the fifth-place Toronto Blue Jays (26–25) facing the Twins. The remaining three teams are at home. In Baltimore, the Orioles will host the AL West-leading Texas Rangers (31–18). Both the third-place New York Yankees (30–22) and first-place Tampa Bay Rays (37–15) will host an NL West team. The Yankees host the fourth-place San Diego Padres (23–27), while the Rays host the Dodgers in a 2020 World Series rematch. Each series is a three-gamer.

NL West Slate for the Weekend

Every NL West team is also playing out of its division. Aside from the Diamondbacks, the only NL West team playing at home is the fifth-place Colorado Rockies (22–29), who are hosting the New York Mets. At 26–25, the Mets are second in the NL East, 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves (31–19). The only remaining series that has not yet been mentioned involves the third-place San Francisco Giants (25–25), who opened a four-game road series against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers (27–23) Thursday night with a 5–0 victory.

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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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