The Reds will begin a four game series on Thursday, at Chase Field in Phoenix, against the Arizona Diamondbacks (22-33). The Diamondbacks .400 win percentage is the second worst in the MLB, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (.373). Their -61 run differential is the worst in the MLB, and it’s not even close. The next worst run differential in the MLB is the Astros at -40.
You can now go ahead and throw away all those numbers I just gave you. The Diamondbacks got off to a horrendous 8-22 start in 2014, and at that point had a run differential of -63. They have been much, much better since then, going 14-11, and have a run differential of +2.
Also worth noting (in case you missed it), about 10 days ago the Diamondbacks hired former Reds nemesis Tony La Russa to be their Chief Baseball Officer.
*please note: all stats listed below only include games played through 5/27/14.
The Reds and Diamondbacks are just about even offensively, with the Dbacks having slightly better power,and the Reds having slightly better OBP. The Reds are slightly better on the basepaths, but the big difference in these two teams are defensively. If you don’t prefer the defensive metric (where the Reds have a 33.2 defensive value to the Dbacks 1.5), the Diamondbacks have committed 40 errors (.980 fielding %, tied 24th in the MLB), while the Reds have just 23 errors (.988 fielding %, tied 1st in the MLB).
Manager Kirk Gibson has shaken up his lineup quite a bit, as you might expect for a team with a 21-33 record. Paul Goldschmidt has batter 3rd in all 55 of the Diamondbacks games, and Miguel Montero has batted cleanup 34 times. Outside of that, it looks like Gibson mixes and matches. Here is my best guess based on their most recent lineups:
- CF – A.J. Pollock: .290/.339/.500, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 128 wRC+, 1.4 WAR
- RF – Gerardo Parra: .263/.306/.382, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 86 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
- 1B – Paul Goldschmidt: .302/.356/.526, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 136 wRC+, 1.5 WAR
- C – Miguel Montero: .256/.361/.393, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 105 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
- 3B – Martin Prado: .264/.313/.348, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 80 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
- 2B – Aaron Hill: .255/.314/.404, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 95 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
- LF – Cody Ross: .189/.230/.242, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 25 wRC+, -0.9 WAR
- SS – Chris Owings: .258/.302/.396, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 89 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
The Pitching Matchups
Every pitching matchups looks pretty favorable for the Reds. It will certainly be intriguing to see our old friend Bronson Arroyo pitch against the Redlegs on Friday night. Brandon McCarthy is pitching the best of any Diamondbacks starter at the moment. Over McCarthy’s last three starts, he has posted a 3.05 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.