Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (2-0) at Arizona Diamondbacks (1-2)

In Series Previews by berselius8 Comments

That was certainly a…okay…kickoff to the season. Unlike the Dodgers they allowed a run to their opening series opponent, so we might as well just pack it in now. This team just doesn't have what it takes smh.

The DBacks made big splashes on several fronts this offseason in an attempt to break up the narrative stranglehold that the Dodgers-Giants rivalry has had in their division over the past five years or so. As focused as we are at the Cubs eating the Cardinals lunch over Heyward and Lackey, Arizona had just as big of a coup in picking up Zack Greinke. A lot of the talk surrounding Greinke and the Dodgers seemed just as inevitable as the talk about Heyward re-upping with St. Louis, and they were left scratching their heads when it fell through.

The Diamondbacks also made another big splash in trading for Shelby Miller. If a generic team had set their sights on him it might look like a solid target – he had a terrible win-loss record on a bad team last year and turned around his peripherals somewhat. If this were 1987 or 2004 that would have made him an interesting buy-low candidate, maybe even someone a team like the 2012 Cubs might go after to try to get some value. Oakland GM Dave Stewart and mugshot model Tony La Russa, however, traded two top prospects, including the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, as well as a MLB-level outfielder for the guy.  Maybe they just wanted to do a solid for Jim Hendry to help people forget about the Matt Garza trade. 

Finally, the D-Baxx kicked an anthill by unveiling new uniforms this year, which almost everyone seems to despise. But I….kind of like them? I usually like when teams experiment with uniforms, especially a team with no real History of Tradition like Arizona. 

Team Leaders


  • OBP: Rizzo (.387)
  • ISO: Schwarber (.241)
  • HR: Rizzo (31)
  • R+RBI: Rizzo (195)
  • wrC+: Rizzo (145)
  • BSR: Bryant (7.1)
  • UZR: Heyward (20.2)
  • DRS: Heyward (22)
  • SP K/9: Arrieta (9.28)
  • SP BB/9: Arrieta (1.89)
  • SP FIP-: Arrieta (60)
  • RP K/9: Grimm (12.14)
  • RP BB/9: Richard (1.85)
  • RP FIP-: Wood (65)
  • WAR: Arrieta (7.3)

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OBP: Goldschmidt (.435)
  • ISO: Goldschmidt (.249)
  • HR: Goldy (33)
  • R+RBI: Goldy (213)
  • wrC+: Goldy (164)
  • BSR: Pollock (7.0)
  • UZR: Ahmed (11.3)
  • DRS: Ahmed (19)
  • SP K/9: Ray (8.39)
  • SP BB/9: Greinke (1.62)
  • SP FIP-: Greinke (72)
  • RP K/9: Burgos (13.0)
  • RP BB/9: Ziegler (2.25)
  • RP FIP-: Burgos (74)
  • WAR: Goldy (7.4)

Paul Goldschmidt is good. Just going out on a limb here. I had no idea Ahmed was such a plus defender, but he can't hit his way out of a paper bag (pegged for .242/.288/.351). Which might explain why they acquired Jean Segura…and his .269/.302/.367 projected bat. Though it looks like Segura is going to play mostly 2b.

Pitching matchups

For now I am listing last year's FIP and this year's projected ERA for each starter.

Thursday: John Lackey, RHP (3.57, 3.34) vs Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (4.81, 4.36), 8:40 PM CT

De La Rosa provided this moonshot last year for KB:

Lackey is a man on a mission this season, and that mission is to prove the regenerative powers of hobo blood. At least until the new CBA kicks in.

Friday: Jason Hammel, RHP (3.68, 3.93) vs Robbie Ray, LHP (3.53, 3.86), 8:40 PM CT

I remember Ray from his days in the Nationals system, but he's change hands a few time since then. He went to the Tigers in 2013 in the Doug Fister  trade, then was traded a year later in the three team trade that sent Gregorius to the Yankees. He's the kind of pitcher who will always be intriguing to talent evaulators simply because he's a lefty that can throw 93-94, even if the rest of his pitch mix and control is kind of iffy. But lefties who throw hard are the baseball equivalent of inaccurate college QBs with big arms, someone is always going to be convinced that they can turn them around. He posted a 2.1 fWAR season last year in his first relatively full season in the bigs, and it looks like a big part of the success was a big jump in ground balls. If he can keep that up he'll be a great piece for this team, but to my completely untrained eye he seems like a guy who might see a big league adjustment, like fellow hard throwing lefty Tony Cingrani. But I'll take a wait and see approach.

Saturday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (3.36, 3.61) vs Zack Greinke, RHP (2.76, 2.78), 7:10 PM CT

Greinke got hammered in his opening day start, though it looks like he just had a case of whatever flu was going around Arizona clubhouses late this spring (see also: Sonny Gray, Madison Bumgarner). Selfishly, it would have been nice if the Cubs had skipped Hendricks in the rotation to make this an Arrieta vs Greinke matchup. I think it's probably safe to go out on a limb and say he had a great season in 2015, though I was very surprised to see that his BABIP was so insanely low (.229 vs a career .298), along with a very high strand rate. The projection systems priced that in to have him 'regress' to merely a 2.78 ERA.

Sunday Sunday Sunday: Jay Carrieta, RHP (2.35, 2.56) vs Shelby Miller, RHP (3.45, 3.65), 3:10 PM CT

As mentioned above, Miller isn't really the prototypical guy that you empty out your farm system for. He was a top prospect when coming up with the Cardinals, but was not inconsistent once he got to the bigs (the MLB equivalent of saying that someone looks tired, imo). While with the Cardinals he pretty much just threw two pitches – 93-94 mph fastballs and a large percentage of curveballs, and he saw his strikeout rate drop all the way down to 6.25 in 2014. He reinvented himself with the Braves in 2015 by mostly ditching the curveball and throwing a ton of sinkers and cutters instead, drastically bumping up his ground ball rate. His strikeout rate bumped up a bit as well, but he's nothing like the pitcher he was when he broke out with the Cards three years ago.

*I will be at the Fri-Sun games, if anyone reading this is going and wants to grab a beer or something, shoot me an email/tweet/telegram/carrier pigeon. 

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  1. Mucker

    Anybody playing The Show? On opening day, I took a perfect game into the 9th with 2 outs until Giavatella hit a single off Arrieta. He had 18 Ks. Pretty realistic.

    Then Segura absolutely owned Hendricks. Went 5-5 with 3 2Bs and game tying RBI in bottom of 9th off Rondon. But I won it with a Baez pinch hit 2B and Fowler basehit in bottom of 13th and Strop shut em down.

    So I’m 4-0 and so far Rizzo, Fowler, Soler and Baez have been killing it. Baez has been subbing in and getting crucial pinch hits. Bryant, Schwarber, Heyward and Russell have been crap.

    Hammel gets the nod tonight. I might give Baez the start, ride the hot hand.

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  2. JonKneeV


    Isn’t your record kind of dependent on the difficulty setting you have it at? I just got it and haven’t played The Show for probably about 4 years, so I started a Road to the Show and have it on Rookie setting.

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  3. Author

    To-day’s base ball squadron


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