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Up Next: Arizona Diamondbacks

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After taking two of three from the Dodgers, the Mets head to Arizona for a four game series with the Diamondbacks. Here's a quick analysis of the Snakes.

Record

NL WEST     W   L   PCT   GB   HOME   ROAD    RS   RA
Arizona         34  25  .576    -  17-12  17-13   311  258
LA Dodgers      33  27  .550  1.5  19-14  14-13   332  266
San Francisco   31  28  .525  3.0  16-14  15-14   290  274
San Diego       31  28  .525  3.0  15-16  15-16   263  251
Colorado        29  30  .492  5.0  15-14  14-16   250  277
The Mets will be playing their fourth straight series against the NL West, the second against Arizona. Based on their adjusted record the Diamondbacks have actually been worse than the Dodgers despite leading L.A. by a game and a half:
 W    L     RS        RA     W1     L1     W2     L2     W3     L3
34   25    311    258    34.7   24.3   31.4   27.6   31.9   27.1
W1 and L1 are the expected wins and losses based on runs scored and runs allowed.
W2 and L2 are the expected wins and losses based on BP's equivalence runs scored and allowed.
W3 and L3 are similar to W2 and L2 but adjusted for strength of schedule.

The Diamondbacks have been surprisingly good this year -- very good, in fact -- but the data suggests that they may be lucky to be in first place right now.

Starting Pitching

                  W   L    ERA    IP     H/9    SO/9    BB/9    HR/9    VORP
Brandon Webb*     8   0   2.14   96.2   8.47    6.05    1.21    0.56    40.2
Miguel Batista*   6   2   4.12   74.1  10.90    5.81    3.51    0.85     7.8
Claudio Vargas*   6   2   5.40   53.2  10.40    5.87    3.02    1.51     3.7
Russ Ortiz*       0   4   6.52   19.1   9.31    7.91    8.38    1.40    (1.0)
Dustin Nippert    0   1  10.80    5.0  12.60    5.40    7.20    3.60    (2.5)
                        
*  asterisks denote probable starters vs Mets
() parentheses denote negative numbers
italics denote left-handed pitchers
Basically, the Mets will be seeing the same guys as last week in Shea with the addition of Russ Ortiz. Ortiz came to the D'Backs two years ago in arguably one of the worst free agent deals (for a team) in recent history, inking for four years and $36 million. His BB/9 is not a misprint: Ortiz has walked almost a batter an inning, admittedly in a limited sample. WPA Top Two
Brandon Webb, 300.0% WPA
Juan Cruz, 54.1% WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Russ Ortiz, -49.3% WPA
Miguel Batista, -25.2% WPA

Starting Lineup

                 Pos    PA    AVG    OBP    SLG    SB  CS   VORP   NL Rank
Johnny Estrada     C   173   .323   .349   .475     0   0    9.8     4/15
Conor Jackson     1B   197   .286   .371   .458     0   0    7.6    12/18
Orlando Hudson    2B   232   .250   .316   .356     5   2    1.0    15/18
Craig Counsell    SS   212   .279   .328   .350     6   4    1.3    14/18
Chad Tracy        3B   251   .284   .339   .489     3   1    8.9     8/17
Luis Gonzalez     LF   248   .271   .355   .444     0   0    5.2    12/18
Eric Byrnes       CF   195   .307   .364   .564     7   0   19.8     3/20
Shawn Green       RF   224   .328   .384   .456     4   1   10.4     7/16
                                           
rankings are based on VORP for players with at least 100 PA
Eric Byrnes and Johnny Estrada have been the D'Backs best hitters this year. Byrnes is especially surprising considering that he has been little more than a decent major league outfielder up until this point. Estrada was terrific three years ago with the Braves, but has been a real boost this year. Everyone on the team benefits -- to varying degrees -- from the dry air in Phoenix. Shawn Green, who looked washed up in L.A. two years ago, appears to have resurrected his career with Arizona.

WPA Top Two
Shawn Green, 106.8% WPA
Eric Byrnes, 82.6% WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Orlando Hudson, -20.9% WPA
Luis Gonzalez, -5.9% WPA

Bullpen

               G    ERA    IP     H/9    SO/9    BB/9    HR/9    VORP
Jose Valverde      23   5.16   22.2   9.13   11.91    4.76    1.59     2.1
Brandon Lyon       27   4.55   27.2   8.13    7.16    1.95    0.98     3.5
Brandon Medders    20   2.45   22.0  11.45    6.95    4.09    0.00     0.6
Luis Vizcaino      29   2.54   28.1   6.99    9.53    3.49    1.27    10.8
Jorge Julio         7   1.29    7.0   2.57    7.71    2.57    1.29     3.6
Original closer Jose Valverda has struggled in May and was replaced, at least temporarily, by ex-Met Jorge Julio. Julio has been terrific with the D'Backs, though his hit rate should quadruple before all is said and done. Luis Vizcaino has been their best reliever by about a mile.

WPA Top Two
Luis Vizcaino, 98.1% WPA
Brandon Lyon, 94.7% WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Jason Grimsley, -60.5% WPA
Terry Mulholland, -49.5% WPA

Bench

                 Pos    PA    AVG    OBP    SLG    VORP
Chris Snyder       C    68   .233   .309   .383    (0.4) 
Tony Clark        1B    87   .203   .322   .349     0.7
Damion Easley     IF   109   .276   .387   .563     9.5
Andy Green        IF    54   .261   .346   .391     1.3
Jeff DaVanon      OF   125   .300   .376   .464     7.7
Tony Clark, who was terrific with increased playing time last season, has been relegated to the bench full-time and is struggling. Damion Easley has been a pest to the Mets in the past, but he helped the Mets out last week by belting four homeruns in two games en route to a four-game sweep of the Braves.

Manager

The Diamondbacks are managed by Bob Melvin, who is in his second year with the team after two seasons managing the Mariners. Here are some of his managerial tendencies:

                          # Times    NL Rank
Pinch Hit                    80       10/16
Stolen Bases Attempts        40       12/16
Sacrifice Bunts              22       10/16