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2020 Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Houston Astros

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The Astros (25-25, 2nd in AL West) will face a familiar NL foe as the Diamondbacks (19-32, 5th in NL West) come to town for the weekend

Arizona Diamondbacks v Houston Astros Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

D-backs Quick Notes

The Narrative

The Diamondbacks head to Houston after a week of .500 ball, something they haven’t seen too often this year. After losing 2 of 3 to the Mariners, they were able to take a couple from the Angels during a mid-week series. That marked just the fourth series win that Arizona has been able to pull off this season, though one of those wins was against the Astros.

The snakes have fallen off sharply from where they sat just a few seasons ago when people thought they could possibly challenge the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West. However, that potential seemingly topped out with a Wild Card win in 2017 followed by an NLDS sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. Since then, the D-backs haven’t been very competitive in the division, though they did come within 4 games of the Wild Card last season.

They are in a bit of a tailspin in 2020 as their batting and pitching both rank near the bottom of the MLB. In theory they Astros should have an easy time of it this weekend, but such thoughts are always dangerous when dealing with any major league team.

The Offense

There’s really not a whole lot to get excited about in Arizona’s lineup, though there are a few bright stops nonetheless. Kole Calhoun, who came over from the Angels in the offseason, has been hitting for power in comparison to other batters. He has 12 home runs and 9 doubles. He also leads the team with 25 walks, and has certainly established his veteran presence in the desert.

First baseman Christian Walker is probably the second most dangerous hitter in Arizona’s lineup and leads the team in doubles by a good sized margin with 18. He also leads the team with 44 strikeouts, but he’s hardly the only Diamondback near that mark.

Things get distinctly average for the Diamondbacks after that, with David Peralta the only player currently on the MLB roster with an OPS over .750. Peralta does lead the team in average with a .295 mark and 32 hits. He also has some pop with 7 doubles and 5 home runs, but his stats aren’t too much write home about after that.

One of the things the Diamondbacks do well is hit doubles, having logged 90 so far in 2020, which is good enough for 6th place in the league. They also are good at avoiding strikeouts, which they also rank 6th in. After that they don’t really crack the top ten in any other stat.

The Bullpen

The Diamondbacks’ bullpen started the season being anchored by Archie Bradley before his trade to the Reds threw the back end of games into question. Since then, Stefan Crichton has nailed down the role as closer, and has had the stats to match. He’s tossed a 2.66 ERA this season in 23.2 innings and has converted 3 of 5 save opportunities. Crichton has a 4.07 career ERA, so his run of good games may be more illusion than reality.

Junior Guerra is the most likely candidate for the set up job at the moment and could easily step into the 9th inning role if it becomes necessary. Guerra is sitting at 2.91 in 21.2 innings, but also leads Arizona relievers with 13 walks.

Taylor Clarke is the only other reliever with more than 20 innings this season, though he’s more of a swingman, having started 4 games this season. His last appearance was in relief though, where he went 5 innings against the Angels just two days ago, so he probably won’t be involved in this series.

Like the offense, the bullpen is not inspiring much confidence in Arizona with the relievers owning a collective 4.85 ERA across the course of the season. Opponents are batting .258 against Arizona’s bullpen, which is good for 22nd in the league.

The Starters

Zac Gallen will be the first pitcher on the mound for the snakes, and the rookie has looked pretty good during his debut season. He is coming off the roughest start of his career, though, after getting rocked for 7 runs against the Mariners. This may be a bit of a trend as his second worst game was just before that when the Giants tagged him for 4 runs in 5. The righty is currently sitting at 3.15 ERA in 60 innings for 2020.

Right hander Luke Weaver will start Saturday’s game, and unlike Gallen he stumbled hard right out of the gate this season. Gallen started the season by posting an 11.85 ERA in his first four starts before showing a 4.18 ERA across his last six. Martin Maldonado is the only Astros better to have faced Weaver before now, but has only seen him for 3 at bats.

Madison Bumgarner will be the final pitcher of the series for Arizona, and the legendary lefty has come way down from his previous high as one of the best pitchers in the game. He is winless so far in 2020 and has an 8.53 ERA this year. His last time out he tied a career high with eight runs surrendered across 5 innings of work against the Angels.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Friday, September 18th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: D-backs - ESPN Phoenix 620, KHOV 105.1 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: D-backs - FS-A, FS-A+(Sp.) / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 2: Saturday, September 19th @ 6:10 pm CDT
Listen: D-backs - 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, KHOV 105.1 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: D-backs - FS-A, FS-A+(Sp.) / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 3: Sunday, September 20th @ 1:10 pm CDT
Listen: D-backs - ESPN Phoenix 620, KHOV 105.1 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: D-backs - FS-A, FS-A+(Sp.) / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (16 votes)
  • 72%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (53 votes)
  • 2%
    D-backs Win 2-1
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    D-backs Sweep 3-0
    (2 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now