Diamondbacks Report: Four-Game Sweep of Rockies; Three with Braves Next

Ronald Acuna of the Braves getting tagged out by Josh Rojas of the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks, after sweeping the Rockies, face the Braves in a three-game series Friday through Sunday.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Report: Four-Game Sweep of Rockies, Braves Next

PHOENIX, June 2 — The Arizona Diamondbacks (34–23), after sweeping the Colorado Rockies (24–34), are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in both the NL West and the entire NL. They will play the final three games of their ten-game homestand Friday through Sunday against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves (33–23). This edition of Diamondbacks Report will briefly review the Rockies series before previewing the key details of the three games with the Braves.

Diamondbacks – Rockies Series Summary

In Game One, the Diamondbacks rallied from an early 4–0 deficit, jumping on rookie Karl Kauffman for five runs in the second. These came via a two-run Jake McCarthy single and three-run Pavin Smith home run. They tacked on one more each in the third and fourth, taking a 7–4 lead they did not relinquish. Ultimately, they hung on for a 7–5 victory.

Game Two was the marquee pitching matchup of the series, with Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen facing Rockies ace Kyle Freeland. Gallen dominated, scattering five hits across six scoreless innings while walking two and fanning seven. Home runs by Ketel Marte, Evan Longoria, and Corbin Carroll gave the Diamondbacks four runs. A sacrifice fly by Gabriel Moreno gave them a fifth, making for the 5–1 final score.

Games Three and Four

Game Three was the Tommy Henry show. The rookie pitched seven scoreless innings, holding the Rockies to two hits while walking two and striking out seven. Rockies starter Dinelson Lamet, making his first start since 2021, had an outing to forget, giving up five runs on seven hits in three innings. A Christian Walker solo home run in the fifth made for the final run in a 6–0 whitewash.

The Rockies took a 3–0 lead into the bottom of the sixth in Game Four, but the Diamondbacks slashed it to 3–2 in the bottom half on a two-run Lourdes Gurriel Jr. double. Ezequiel Tovar homered to lead off the seventh, making the score 4–2. But a Ketel Marte double in the bottom of the seventh plated Emmanuel Rivera, cutting the deficit to 4–3. In the bottom of the ninth, the Diamondbacks handed Rockies closer Pierce Johnson his first blown save of the season, as Corbin Carroll doubled home Gabriel Moreno and Ketel Marte for a thrilling 5–4 win.

Diamondbacks and Braves Storylines

This series needs little introduction, as the Diamondbacks and Braves own two of the three best records in the National League. However, the two teams are moving in opposite directions, as the Braves are 4–6 in their last 10, while the Diamondbacks are 7–3. Both teams will view this as a good test. It is well-timed, as it comes right after the traditional Memorial Day barometer date.

Two of the leading Cy Young candidates will pitch in this series, Spencer Strider for the Braves and Zac Gallen for the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately for baseball fans, they will not face each other, however, missing it by one day. Another key player in the series is Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who is in the NL top ten in batting average (third), on-base percentage (fifth), slugging (fourth), runs scored (second), total bases (second), and doubles (fourth). In addition, he leads the NL in stolen bases (23) and WAR (3.0). This series will also feature the runner-up in stolen bases (16), dynamic rookie Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll, who is tenth in the NL in runs scored and toward the top in several advanced offensive categories.

Pitching Matchups between the Diamondbacks and Braves

Game One — Friday, June 2, 6:40 pm Arizona Time

Game One is a matchup between Braves right-hander Charlie Morton (5–5, 3.59 ERA, 81 ERA-minus) and Diamondbacks righty Merrill Kelly (6–3, 2.83 ERA, 64 ERA-minus).

In Morton’s 10 appearances, all starts with five as a quality start, he has struck out 63, walked 24, and has a 1.474 WHIP across 57 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches 5 2/3 innings per start and gets about seven runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .269 against him, 17 points higher than the league average of .252. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Morton 1.474 24.5% 9.3% 2.3%
NL Average 1.344 22.4% 8.9% 3.0%

 

In Kelly’s 11 appearances, all starts with six as a quality start, he has struck out 69, walked 25, and has a 1.068 WHIP (seventh in the NL) across 63 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches 5 2/3 innings per start and gets 3.3 runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .192 against him — third-lowest in the NL among qualifiers — 60 points lower than the NL average of .252. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Kelly 1.068 27.4% 9.9% 2.0%
NL Average 1.344 22.4% 8.9% 3.0%

 

Matchups with Current Rosters

Morton has faced the Diamondbacks 12 times in his career, all as a starter. He is 5–1 with a 4.01 ERA, 69 strikeouts, 29 walks, five home runs allowed, and a 1.337 WHIP across 67 1/3 innings. Nine Diamondbacks on the active roster have faced the 39-year-old Morton, who is in his 16th big-league season. Evan Longoria is 3-for-15 (.200) with two doubles, three RBI, and five strikeouts. Ketel Marte is 2-for-7 with a homer, two RBI, two walks, and three strikeouts. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is 1-for-7 with a sacrifice bunt. Nick Ahmed is 2-for-6 with a double. Josh Rojas is 1-for-6 with a double and three strikeouts. Pavin Smith is 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. Christian Walker is 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBI. Jake McCarthy is 1-for-2 with a double, while Geraldo Perdomo is 0-for-2.

Kelly has started against the Braves three times. He is 0–2 with a 4.05 ERA, 20 strikeouts, four walks, three homers allowed, and a 1.100 WHIP across 20 innings. Eleven Braves on the active roster have faced Kelly. Kevin Pillar is 2-for-13 with a double, a homer, an RBI, and three strikeouts. Ronald Acuña Jr. is 3-for-7. Ozzie Albies is 1-for-5 with a homer, three RBI, and a strikeout. Austin Riley is 3-for-6 with a double, a homer, an RBI, and a strikeout. Orlando Arcia and Matt Olson are both 0-for-6, Arcia with a strikeout and Olson with two. Sam Hilliard is 0-for-5 with a walk. Eddie Rosario is 0-for-4 with two walks and a strikeout. Travis d’Arnaud is 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts. Michael Harris II is 0-for-2 with a strikeout, and Sean Murphy is 1-for-1 with a double and a walk.

Game Two — Saturday, June 3, 7:10 pm Arizona Time

Game Two features a pair of young right-handers, the mustachioed Spencer Strider (5–2, 2.97 ERA, 67 ERA-minus) for the Braves and Ryne Nelson (2–2, 5.37 ERA, 122 ERA-minus) for the Diamondbacks.

In Strider’s 11 appearances, all starts with six as a quality start, he has struck out an NL-leading 106, walked 22, and has a 0.990 WHIP across 63 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches 5 2/3 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 .178 against him — lowest in the NL amongst qualifiers — 74 points lower than the NL average of .252. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average. (Note: His K% is the highest in the NL among those who qualify for the ERA lead. It is 8.6 percentage points higher than the runner-up.)

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Strider 0.990 41.6% 8.6% 2.4%
NL Average 1.344 22.4% 8.9% 3.0%

 

In Nelson’s 11 appearances, all starts with three as a quality start, he has struck out 37, walked 18, and has a 1.439 WHIP across 57 innings. On average, he pitches 5 1/3 innings per start and gets 6.5 runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .291 against him, 39 points higher than the NL average of .252. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Nelson 1.439 15.2% 7.4% 3.3%
NL Average 1.344 22.4% 8.9% 3.0%

 

Matchups with Current Rosters

Strider, in his second full major league season, has faced the Diamondbacks once — May 30, 2022, at Chase Field. He struggled, allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits and one homer, walking two and striking out seven across 4 1/3 innings. Seven Diamondbacks on the active roster have faced Strider, and oddly enough, they each have two plate appearances against him. Both Jose Herrera and Pavin Smith are 1-for-2, but Smith also has a three-run homer. Ketel Marte is 1-for-1 with a walk. Jake McCarthy and Josh Rojas are both 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, while Geraldo Perdomo is 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Evan Longoria is 0-for-1 with a walk.

Nelson has never faced the Braves, nor have any Braves on the active roster ever faced him.

Game Three — Sunday, June 4, 1:10 pm Arizona Time

Game Three will see the Braves start right-hander Michael Soroka (0–1, 6.00 ERA, 135 ERA-minus) against Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen (7–2, 2.72 ERA, 62 ERA-minus).

Soroka will be making his second start since suffering a torn Achilles tendon mid-game on August 3, 2020. (Yes, you read that correctly. August 3, 2020.) His first start since the injury was Monday night at the Oakland Athletics. It was not a quality start, as he allowed four runs on five hits, walking two while striking out three and surrendering a home run. This has given him a 1.167 WHIP across six innings. In that game, he received a rate of 1.5 runs of support per nine innings from his team while he was in the game. Opponents are batting .227 against him, 25 points lower than the NL average of .252. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Soroka 1.167 11.5% 7.7% 3.9%
NL Average 1.344 22.4% 8.9% 3.0%
Zac Gallen

Gallen is tied for the NL lead in both wins (seven) and starts (twelve). All his appearances have been starts, with seven as a quality start. In the 12 starts, he has struck out 82, walked 16, and has a 1.032 WHIP across 72 2/3 innings. On average, he pitches slightly more than six innings per start and gets about 4.9 runs of support per nine innings from his team while he’s in the game. Opponents are batting .218 against him — fourth-lowest in the NL among qualifiers — 34 points lower than the NL average of .252. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the NL average. (Note: His BB% is tied for fourth-lowest in the NL among qualifiers. In addition, his HR% is tied for the lowest in the NL.)

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Gallen 1.032 28.4% 5.5% 0.7%
NL Average 1.344 22.4% 8.9% 3.0%

 

Matchups with Current Rosters

Soroka has faced the Diamondbacks twice, both as a starter. He took a no-decision in one and the loss in the other. Across the two starts, both in 2019, Soroka has allowed two runs on eight hits, walking five while striking out ten and hitting four batters. This has given him a 1.182 WHIP across 11 innings.

Three Diamondbacks on the active roster have faced him: Christian Walker, Nick Ahmed, and Ketel Marte. Walker is 1-for-6 with a triple and three strikeouts. Ahmed is 0-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, while Marte is 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Gallen has faced the Braves twice, both as a starter. One of those two outings was a one-hit, seven-inning complete game shutout. That came in the first game of a double header, with the second game being Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning no-hitter. Across the two starts, Gallen is 2–0 with a 1.42 ERA, allowing two runs on eight hits with a homer, walking two and plunking one while striking out 12. This has given him a 0.947 WHIP across 12 2/3 innings.

Eleven Braves on the active roster have faced Gallen. Sam Hilliard is 1-for-9 with a homer, an RBI, a walk, and six strikeouts. Marcell Ozuna, for whom Gallen was once traded, is 1-for-9 with a double and four strikeouts. Both Matt Olson and Kevin Pillar are 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. Ozzie Albies is 1-for-5 with a walk. Austin Riley is 1-for-4 with a homer, an RBI, a walk, and a strikeout. Ronald Acuña Jr. is 1-for-3 with two walks. Charlie Culberson is 1-for-3 with a double and a strikeout. Both Travis d’Arnaud and Eddie Rosario are 1-for-3, and Michael Harris II is 0-for-2.

Reliever Comparisons

Braves

The Braves have seven relievers currently active. All are right-handed unless followed by (L).

Long relief
Middle relief
  • Kirby Yates — 20 GR, 19 1/3 IP, 2 inherited runners (IR)/1 inherited runners scored (IS) (50%), 1.397 WHIP, 29.1 K%, 17.4 BB%, 3.5 HR%.
  • Joe Jimenez — 20 GR, 18 1/3 IP, 10 IR/4 IS (40%), 1.418 WHIP, 29.3 K%, 7.3 BB%, 4.9 HR%.
  • Jesse Chavez — 25 GR, 24 IP, 10 IR/5 IS (50%), 1.000 WHIP, 29.5 K%, 6.3 BB%, 1.1 HR%.
  • J. Minter (L) — 27 GR, 25 2/3 IP, 8 IR/4 IS (50%), 1.325 WHIP, 30.2 K%, 5.7 BB%, 2.8 HR%.
Set-up
  • Collin McHugh — 14 GR, 20 1/3 IP, 13 IR/3 IS (23%), 1.918 WHIP, 11.6 K%, 10.5 BB%, 1.1 HR%, 0/0 SV/OPP (—).
  • Nick Anderson — 22 GR, 23 1/3 IP, 5 IR/1 IS (20%), 0.814 WHIP, 32.2 K%, 3.5 BB%, 2.3 HR%, 1/3 SV/OPP (33%).
Closer
  • Raisel Iglesias — 11 GR, 9 2/3 IP, 0 IR/0 IS (—), 1.241 WHIP, 26.2 K%, 11.9 BB%, 2.4 HR%, 5/6 SV/OPP (83%).
Scoreless Outings

The Braves relievers on the active roster have pitched a combined 139 games in relief (GR). Of the 139, 97 have been scoreless — 69.8%, 12th in the National League, whose active roster average is 72.4% and overall average is 69.4%. Here is the scoreless percentage (ScOtg%) for each reliever on the active roster, as of the end of play on Thursday.

Also included is the percentage when only considering earned runs (ER Only). When doing so, the Braves jump to 71.9%. This is 10th in the NL, whose active roster average is 74.6% and overall average is 71.6% in this category.

 

Name GR ScOtg ScOtg % ER Only
A.J. Minter 27 17 63.0% 63.0%
Collin McHugh 14 9 64.3% 64.3%
Jesse Chavez 25 21 84.0% 88.0%
Joe Jimenez 20 12 60.0% 65.0%
Kirby Yates 20 15 75.0% 75.0%
Nick Anderson 22 15 68.2% 68.2%
Raisel Iglesias 11 8 72.7% 81.8%

 

Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have eight relievers currently active. All are right-handed unless followed by (L). Drey Jameson’s statistics only include his relief appearances. Jose Ruiz’s statistics only include his time with the Diamondbacks and do not include his time with the Chicago White Sox.

Long relief
  • Drey Jameson — 4 GR, 12 IP, 5 IR/0 IS (0%), 1.333 WHIP, 27.5 K%, 11.8 BB%, 3.9 HR%.
Middle relief
  • Kevin Ginkel — 22 GR, 25 1/3 IP, 10 IR/4 IS (40%), 1.224 WHIP, 21.7 K%, 7.6 BB%, 1.9 HR%.
  • Jose Ruiz — 20 GR, 22 1/3 IP, 5 IR/3 IS (60%), 1.433 WHIP, 21.8 K%, 8.9 BB%, 3.0 HR%.
  • Kyle Nelson (L) — 26 GR, 22 IP, 21 IR/8 IS (38%), 1.409 WHIP, 29.2 K%, 7.3 BB%, 4.2 HR%.
  • Austin Adams — 4 GR, 3 IP, 2 IR/0 IS (0%), 0.667 WHIP, 36.4 K%, 9.1 BB%, 0.0 HR%.
Back End
  • Scott McGough — 26 GR, 29 2/3 IP, 8 IR/0 IS (0%), 0.944 WHIP, 29.7 K%, 10.2 BB%, 4.2 HR%, 1/4 SV/OPP (25%).
  • Andrew Chafin (L) — 26 GR, 20 1/3 IP, 16 IR/8 IS (50%), 1.230 WHIP, 36.1 K%, 8.1 BB%, 2.3 HR%, 8/10 SV/OPP (80%).
  • Miguel Castro — 26 GR, 24 1/3 IP, 10 IR/4 IS (40%), 0.986 WHIP, 22.9 K%, 8.3 BB%, 1.0 HR%, 5/6 SV/OPP (83%).
Scoreless Outings

The Diamondbacks relievers on the active roster have pitched a combined 155 games in relief (GR). Of the 155, 117 have been scoreless — 75.5%, fifth in the National League, whose active roster average is 72.4% and overall average is 69.4%. Here is the scoreless percentage (ScOtg%) for each reliever on the active roster, as of the end of play on Thursday.

Also included is the percentage when only considering earned runs (ER Only). When doing so, the Diamondbacks jump to 78.7%. This is third in the NL, whose active roster average is 74.6% and overall average is 71.6% in this category.

 

Name GR ScOtg ScOtg % ER Only
Andrew Chafin 26 23 88.5% 88.5%
Austin Adams 4 3 75.0% 75.0%
Drey Jameson 4 2 50.0% 50.0%
Jose Ruiz 20 15 75.0% 75.0%
Kevin Ginkel 22 14 63.6% 72.7%
Kyle Nelson 26 18 69.2% 76.9%
Miguel Castro 26 23 88.5% 88.5%
Scott McGough 26 18 69.2% 73.1%
Tommy Henry 1 1 100.0% 100.0%

 

Lineup Comparisons

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

Opponent

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA DRS
Ronald Acuña Jr. RF .324 .406 .554 11 31 23 19.0 4
Matt Olson (L) 1B .233 .357 .533 17 42 1 12.3 -1
Austin Riley 3B .263 .332 .452 10 29 0 4.2 0
Sean Murphy C .286 .398 .553 11 38 0 14.2 3
Marcell Ozuna DH .213 .293 .460 11 22 0 0.5
Eddie Rosario LF .239 .269 .405 5 18 1 -4.4 1
Ozzie Albies 2B .251 .294 .465 11 36 1 0.9 1
Orlando Arcia SS .314 .371 .471 4 13 0 5.3 3
Michael Harris II CF .174 .260 .266 2 8 5 -7.7 3

 

Diamondbacks

  POS AVG OBP SLG HR RBI SB wRAA DRS
Pavin Smith DH .220 .333 .390 5 22 0 0.5
Ketel Marte 2B .284 .342 .486 8 23 6 6.9 2
Corbin Carroll CF .287 .372 .511 9 24 16 10.8 -1
Christian Walker 1B .252 .316 .485 12 35 1 4.0 2
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF .309 .357 .546 9 33 1 11.5 3
Josh Rojas 3B .232 .299 .310 0 22 6 -6.5 1
Gabriel Moreno C .289 .323 .380 2 21 3 -1.5 4
Jake McCarthy RF .200 .277 .282 1 5 8 -4.9 4
Geraldo Perdomo SS .278 .377 .476 5 24 5 6.4 2

Since neither team is starting a left-handed pitcher, we will skip the “typical lineup vs. left-handed starters” section.

Recent History between the Diamondbacks and Braves

Being in separate divisions but in the same league, the Diamondbacks and Braves have played in 24 of the Diamondbacks’ 25 seasons prior to 2023, with 2020 being the lone exception. The Braves lead the overall series, 91–73, although neither team has won more than six in a row against the other one. (Both have done it; the Braves twice and Diamondbacks once.)

Over the past five full seasons, the Braves took the season series in four of them. They won four of six in 2017 and 2022 and took four of seven in both 2018 and 2021. In 2019, the Diamondbacks took the season series by winning four of seven. Of note in 2022 was a team meeting Braves manager Brian Snitker had with the team after losing the first two games in Phoenix. The Braves won the third game of that series, which came on June 1. They proceeded to make that the first win of a 14-game winning streak en route to a 21–6 record in June and major league-leading 78–34 record over the rest of the season. This enabled them to overcome a ten-and-a-half-game deficit to the New York Mets and win their 17th NL East title.

Schedules for the Rest of their Divisions

NL East Slate for the Weekend

There is one intradivision NL East matchup on the weekend — the fifth-place Washington Nationals (24–32) at the fourth-place Philadelphia Phillies (25–31). The other two NL East teams are both hosting an interleague series. In Miami, the third-place Marlins (29–28) play host to the Oakland Athletics (12–46, fifth in AL West), while the second-place New York Mets (30–27) will take on the Toronto Blue Jays (30–27, fourth in AL East). Each of these series will be three games.

NL West Slate for the Weekend

The fifth-place Rockies (24–34) are the only NL West team on the road over the weekend. They will be facing their geographically closest neighbors, the Kansas City Royals (17–39, fifth in AL Central). (Interesting note: The Royals are 564 miles to the east of the Rockies. Only the Seattle Mariners, 679 miles from the San Francisco Giants, are more isolated from their nearest neighbor than the Rockies.)

The Los Angeles Dodgers will, like the Diamondbacks, be hosting a marquee franchise — the New York Yankees (34–24, third in AL East). Meanwhile, the fourth-place San Diego Padres (26–30) will host the Chicago Cubs (24–31, fifth in NL Central), while the third-place Giants (28–28) will take on their color partners, the Baltimore Orioles (35–21, second in AL East). Each of these series will be three-gamers.

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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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