The Diamondbacks lost their first two regular season games. The Dodgers won in convincing fashion. Clayton Kershaw was the story in Game 1, giving up only one run in nearly seven innings of work. Game 2 featured an implosion by Trevor Cahill – he gave up eight hits and four walks in four plus innings. These games are especially discouraging because of the schedule; there are no more regular season games until March 31. There’s lots of time to dwell on these two losses.
The overall performance was not encouraging, but there were some good signs. I’m going to sort notable events into “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” because everyone loves Clint Eastwood.
Ryan covered this yesterday, and what we saw in Australia was encouraging. I’ll just add this: Gerardo Parra was worth 4.5 WAR last year while being a bad base runner and below average offensive player. With his stellar defense, if Parra’s offense becomes even just slightly above average, he could be a six win player. That’s pretty astounding.
Expect more on this topic from Inside the Zona in the very near future, but I couldn’t exclude Miley from this section. He got unlucky with a Scott Van Slyke homer that barely got over the fence, but Miley struck out eight batters while only walking two. Not bad at all.
Schultz pitched one inning in relief, giving up a hit and no runs. It was pretty uneventful and the game was essentially over at that point. The good news is that Schultz did not look out of place while making his major league debut. He flashed his mid to high 90s fastball, proving that the D-Backs have some starting pitching depth. He will most likely be sent to triple-A before the rest of the regular season commences, but he reassured us that there is some pitching depth.
All we saw was one at-bat from Tuffy Gosewisch, but it’s an indicator of what’s to come. Tuffy is in a battle with Henry Blanco for the backup catcher spot and is a career .239 hitter in the minor leagues. I concede that he is a very good defensive catcher, but his .171 wOBA in 45 at bats last year did not exactly inspire confidence. Blanco is 42 years old. With two different teams last year, with wOBA was .220. Again, there’s nothing here to write home about. It might be wise to look into the free agent market for a competent backup catcher, especially considering Montero missed time due to injuries last year. The team could move Didi Gregorius to get help at catcher via a trade.
Gibson left Trevor Cahill in long after it was clear that he was having a bad day. Since the D-backs had no games in the upcoming week, the long-term costs normally associated with going to your bullpen early did not exist. Cahill walked two guys in the fifth before being yanked, and both of those guys came around to score.
Also, Gibson used the aforementioned Gosewisch to pinch-hit. It was a four-run game at that point, but I will never advocate giving up at bats. Eric Chavez and other more able hitters were on the bench.
Mark Trumbo’s Defense
So there’s this GIF. Trumbo and others blamed this misplay on the wind, and Trumbo did make a good throw in the series. But expect sub-par defense over the course of the season. Hopefully his bat can wipe out the defensive inefficiencies.
There’s not much to say here. Cahill gave up lots of hits and lots of walks in four plus innings. This has been a recurring theme during his time in Arizona. His inconsistent release point and bad control came back to haunt him once again. Let’s hope this isn’t indicative of his performance this year.
Like anything else, the first two games of the season provided some good, bad, and ugly times. The negative things seem correctable, and all of the good news was encouraging. Let’s hope the good outweighs the bad and the D-backs can finish above .500 this year.
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FanGraphs Stats Glossary
Nick Piecoro Author Page
Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).