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2020 Series Preview: Houston Astros @ Arizona Diamondbacks

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The Astros (5-4, 2nd in AL West) continue their road trip with a three game series against the Diamondbacks (3-7, 5th in NL West)

MLB: Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

D-backs Notes

Since making the playoffs in 2017 as the NL Wild Card, the Diamondbacks have not been able to make a repeat appearance. In that time the fans have seen the team trading away some of the more popular and successful players, mainly in the forms of Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt.

The team still played well enough in 2019 to finish with an 85-77 record and second place in the NL West, but they weren’t much of a playoff threat down the stretch. They have not looked nearly as good this year though, stumbling out to a 3-7 record thanks to an anemic offense and some suspect pitching.

Their biggest move in the offseason was to sign Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $85 million contract. Bumgarner’s control has looked good in the short season so far, but there is some concern over his four-seamer’s lack of velocity. He only managed to average 87.9 mph in his last two starts, which is the lowest he’s ever averaged in his entire career. The Astros will face Bumgarner in the opening game tonight.

Other key components of the D-back’s rotation have not been doing as well. Robbie Ray, who the Astros will face on Wednesday, has not looked good in his first two starts. Ray reworked his mechanics in the offseason in an attempt to improve his command. He had looked very impressive during Arizona’s summer camp, but has been decidedly less so during the regular season.

At the same time, Arizona’s offense has really struggled to put runs on the board for their pitchers. The team has only managed 2.7 runs per game so far this season, scoring 2 runs or less in five out of ten contests. They have definitely been lacking in the power department, only hitting two home runs so far in 2020.

CF Starling Marte, 2B Ketel Marte, and 1B/DH Christian Walker look like the best hitters so far this season for Arizona. They are the only members of the team who have hit .300 or higher, or with an OPS over .750. The next closest player who has had significant playing time is C Carson Kelly, who is slashing a paltry .208/.269/.250.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s bullpen has been decent this year, for the most part. Archie Bradly remains the team’s closer, with 2 saves in three opportunities under his belt. Kevin Ginkel and old friend Hector Rondon seemed to be penciled in for the setup roles at the beginning of 2020, but neither of them seem to be getting off to a good start in 2020. Both have double digit ERA’s, but that doesn’t mean quite as much thanks to the short sample size.

The Diamondback’s hopes for 2020 may already be sunk after getting out to such a poor start, 10 games is a full sixth of the season and they currently sit dead last in a division that features one of the best teams in baseball (the Dodgers), and one of the more likely to improve (the Padres). They’ll need to turn it on in a big way if they want to move back into contention, but a strong week could still easily do that for any team.

Fun Fact

2019 was the first year that the Astros hadn’t played a series against the Diamondbacks since 2013.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Tuesday, August 4th @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM / D-backs - 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, KHOV 105.1
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / D-backs - FS-A

Game 2: Wednesday, August 5th @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM / D-backs - 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, KHOV 105.1
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / D-backs - FS-A - MLBN (out-of-market only)

Game 3: Thursday, August 6th @ 6:07 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM / D-backs - ESPN Phoenix 620, KHOV 105.1
Watch: FOX

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (29 votes)
  • 63%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (76 votes)
  • 7%
    Diamondbacks Win 2-1
    (9 votes)
  • 4%
    Diamondbacks Sweep 3-0
    (5 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now