The Arizona Diamondbacks are in town for a three game set. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday, April 22nd: RHP Mike Pelfrey vs. LHP Joe Saunders
Saturday, April 23rd: RHP Dillon Gee vs. RHP Barry Enright
Sunday, April 24th: LHP Jon Niese vs. RHP Armando Galarraga
The D-Backs pitchers are guided by rookie pitching coach Charles Nagy. You might remember him from those 1990s Cleveland Indians teams that scored like a billion runs. Rick Sutcliffe called Nagy a "gamer" on Baseball Tonight two days ago. Now a little on the D-Backs pitchers we'll see this weekend:
#34 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Jun 16, 1981
|2011 - Joe Saunders||0-2||3||3||0||0||0||0||15.2||23||12||11||2||10||6||6.32||2.11|
Word association: winZ
Interesting fact: Saunders attended Virginia Tech and MLB granted him a dispensation to wear his alma mater's hat during a game on April 20th, 2007, following the awful Virginia Tech Massacre.
What's the story? Lefthanded throwing Saunders was sent to Arizona in the Dan Haren trade last summer, after 5+ seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Jerry Dipoto, the D-Backs GM at the time, stated that W-L record was a reason why he was sought:
He's a pedigreed major league pitcher who has accomplished quite a bit. I believe it's a .630 winning percentage in his major league career.
There's a difference between what a GM says publicly and what he really thinks but that statement is a hanging curveball for the Sabermetric Internet Snark Machine. Saunders chalked up some nice W-L records with the Angels but his peripherals tell a different story. His strikeout rate is poor and his walk rate is just a bit better than average. His groundball rate has been trending downward and was 43.7% last season (for comparison, Mike Pelfrey's career GB% is 49.4% and Derek Lowe's is 62.8%). As a result, he gives up a decent amount of home runs. It has been a struggle in the early going for Saunders. He was shellacked in each of his last two starts and has more walks than strikeouts. Saunders features a changeup and curveball to go with his ~90 mph fastball.
Against the Mets: This is Saunders' first time facing the Mets.
#54 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Mar 30, 1986
|2011 - Barry Enright||0-1||4||3||0||0||0||0||17.1||20||12||12||3||6||12||6.23||1.50|
Word association: Traid Barry Enwrong!
Interesting fact: Enright is prominent on Twitter. He is known for interacting with fans. Here's a sample of his work:
What's the story? The D-Backs drafted Enright out of Pepperdine in 2007 and he made his big league debut in 2010. He's a low-strikeout, flyball pitcher with an ~89 mph fastball. He has struggled with the longball in his brief major league career, which comes as no surprise given his 49.6% flyball rate. That rate is second highest in the league over the last two seasons, behind only Ted Lilly. Overall, his stuff is underwhelming and Keith Law wonders how he gets anyone out. Enright sports a Blaine Boyer leprechaun beard, as seen above.
Against the Mets: Enright made two starts last year against the Mets, holding our heroes to just three runs on nine hits in fourteen innings of work.
#59 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Jan 15, 1982
|2011 - Armando Galarraga||3-0||3||3||0||0||0||0||18.0||18||12||12||6||6||14||6.00||1.33|
Word association: The Big Cat
Interesting fact: Galarraga co-authored a book with umpire Jim Joyce: Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call And A Game For Baseball History. It is #390,029 on the Amazon bestsellers list, well behind the Amazin' Avenue Annual ranking of #74,832.
What's the story? Galarraga is best known for his almost perfect game with the Tigers last summer. It wasn't enough for Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski to keep him around though and he was traded to the D-Backs after being designated for assignment. Galarraga doesn't strike many out and allows a ton of flyballs. He's a fastball-slider pitcher and his velocity sits around 90 mph. Like Saunders and Enright, Galarraga has struggled early on. Home runs have been his bugaboo -- six allowed in just eighteen innings.
Against the Mets: Galarraga allowed four runs over six innings against the Mets last June in a Tigers 6-5 victory. He recorded one strikeout and three walks. Galarraga doesn't think highly of DIPS.
Overall outlook: The antidote for a struggling offense is facing the Diamondbacks pitching staff. This trio of starters is unimpressive and that's being charitable. I expect a laser show.