September 17, 2010

Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Adam LaRoche triumphantly returns to PNC Park for this long awaited matchup between the National League's two worst teams. Truthfully there's not much drama left in this season. With 14 games to play the Pirates have the top draft pick all but wrapped up - our 48-98 record is seven games worse than Seattle.

Arizona (59-88) has allowed 15 fewer runs than the Pirates, meaning Pittsburgh is now last in both runs scored and runs allowed. The D-Backs' bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster, yet they throw a triumverate of good young pitchers this weekend - all of whom are 25 or younger and have sub-4.00 ERAs.

The Diamondbacks offense has been around league average. LaRoche (.261/.323/.464) is hitting slightly worse than the .265/.340/.469 line he put up in Pittsburgh, yet already has a career high 91 RBI and counting out of the cleanup spot. Kelly Johnson (.275/.362/.479) keeps up the ex-Braves theme and has had a really solid year hitting second in the order. Mark Reynolds (.205/.323/.452) already has 197 strikeouts to go with his 32 home runs. He needs another 26 K's to break his own all time single season strikeout record, set last year. And of course, off the bench Arizona has former Pirate great Ryan Church (.197/.261/.337).

Arizona Diamondbacks - Friday 7:05, Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35
Tonight, Ian Kennedy (9-9, 3.87) takes the hill for Arizona against Brian Burres (3-3, 5.22). Burres is coming off of two very good starts in which he allowed only one run a game while pitching six and seven innings. Kennedy for his part has been one of the league's better rookie pitchers, managing to strike out 157 in 179 innings despite a below average fastball. Speaking of 179 innings, is there really any reason for Kennedy to make this start? He's already thrown 30 innings more than his career high and missed four months of last season with an arm injury, yet he's going to make three more starts for a .400 club. My pick is the Pirates.

Tomorrow night it's a pretty good pitching matchup of Barry Enright (6-4, 3.39) and John McDonald (3-5, 4.13). I covered McDonald yesterday. Enright, a 24-year-old rookie, somehow has a great ERA even though he gives up a lot of home runs (1.6 per nine innings) and doesn't strike anyone out. You can't pick against McDonald at this point...My pick is the Pirates.

Sunday afternoon, Daniel Hudson (7-2, 2.58) faces Zach Duke (7-14, 5.78). Duke apparently is staying in the rotation because he threw a good side session, which is apparently more important than throwing an awful game every time out. Hudson, 23, came over in the Edwin Jackson trade to the White Sox - a move that's already looking dumb for Chicago. Hudson is clearly a better pitcher than Jackson now, and he pretty clearly was at the time of the trade too. He has a 93 mph fastball and 85 mph slider, which set up a great chamgeup that is his out pitch. I recently argued that the Pirates should get rid of Duke but I'd like to see him get one last home win. My pick is the Pirates.

No comments:

Post a Comment