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The Dbacks have it all!

The Giants have one thing in this matchup that they didn’t have last month. Will that be the equalizer or will Arizona’s top to bottom talent prove to be superior again?

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Anything the San Francisco Giants can do, the Arizona Diamondbacks can do better.

This morning, I opened up my scroll to a nice article on Sports Info Solutions about Patrick Bailey’s defense (there’s even an interview with him), only to find that as good as the rookie has been since he debuted on May 19 (+7 Defensive Runs Saved), there’s still one catcher who has been better overall this season: the Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (+8).

Then I saw a dumb Talkin’ Baseball post about LaMonte Wade Jr. ticking off Jack Flaherty for possibly stealing signs and was reminded of how great LaMonte Wade Jr. has been this season (8th in the NL with a 147 wRC+), and that led me to think about how it’s a bummer he and Thairo Estrada were both snubbed by MLB fans in the All-Star voting, as Estrada is the 9th-best position player in the NL, period.

But there was Sports Info Solutions again to remind me that neither of these Giants can compare even the slightest to the Dbacks’ Corbin Carroll. Yesterday, they wrote up Carroll’s dominance when it comes to pitches on the outer third of the zone. Folks, he’s tremendous:

Carroll’s .362 avg is well above the league average of .221 on pitches away. While his slugging percentage of .686 is more than double the league average(.325). [...]

If you pitch him up and away he’s going to torch the ball.

And FanGraphs reminds that Carroll is the most valuable position player in the entire sport (by their Wins Above Replacement). Pair him with their ace, Zac Gallen (3.4), and Arizona currently rosters the two most valuable players in the sport.

They hit a little bit better, pitch better, and run the bases better than the Giants do. And, oh yeah — about that! They got even more glowing press today via Jayson Stark for The Athletic (subscription required) that explains why the new rules have helped them (and the Orioles and Reds) break out this season. Here are just a couple of bullet points among six and a couple of key quotes to really explain it all:

• They’re fourth in the big leagues in stolen bases (75) — but they’re first in success rate (86 percent) among teams that have attempted at least 65 steals.

• They’ve scored from first on a double more than any team in the NL (23 times).

They’ve also been great at limiting stolen bases against... but hold that thought. We’ll revisit in a moment.

For now, let’s just talk about how the Diamondbacks are, top to bottom, a better team than the Giants. Sure, our favorite team might have the edge in a few matchups:

  • Camilo Doval is a touch better closer (1.87 ERA, 20 saves) than Arizona’s triumvirate of Andrew Chafin, Scott McGough, and Miguel Castro (2.90 ERA, 20 saves)
  • J.D. Davis (1.9 fWAR) bests the combo of Emmanuel Rivera (0.3) and Evan Longoria (0.5) at third base
  • The bullpen, in the aggregate (2.4 fWAR vs. 1.8 fWAR).

... but it’s simply the case that the Diamondbacks have great players. The Giants have a good roster. There’s a distinction in this. The Diamondbacks are doing what the Giants do in terms of usage/platooning, but their roster’s floor, by virtue of having some superstars on it, is simply higher. They’re about a year and a half younger, on average, than the Giants’ roster, too, so that youth and speed really does seem to be adding to the separation between these two teams, now just 3.5 games.

On paper, the Diamondbacks are just better. The Giants have the homefield advantage, such as it is, and they won’t face Zac Gallen in this series — only Merrill Kelly, who has a 5.40 ERA in 7 starts at Oracle — and so the opportunity is really there for the lineup, providing one of either LaMonte Wade Jr. or Mike Yastrzemski is in it, to get to Zach Davies on Friday and Ryne Nelson on Sunday... or even Merrill Kelly on Saturday, if that 5.40 ERA means anything.

After a 10-game winning streak, I’d like to think that the Giants have built up some confidence and will be competitive against the same team that handled them just five and a half weeks ago.


Where they stand


Record: 46-30, 1st in NL West
Run differential: +37 4th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1st in NL West
Momentum: 2-game winning streak; 5-5 in their last 10 games


Record: 42-33, 2nd in NL West
Run differential: +44, 3rd in the NL
Postseason standing: 2nd Wild Card ending June 22nd, 3.5 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak; 9-1 in their last 10 games


Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Friday (7:15pm PT), Saturday (1:05pm PT), Sunday (1:05pm PT)

National broadcasts: MLB Network simulcast (Friday & Sunday)

Projected starters:

Friday: Logan Webb vs. Zach Davies
Saturday: TBD vs. Merrill Kelly
Sunday: Anthony DeSclafani vs. Ryne Nelson


Dbacks to watch

Corbin Carroll: He’s this weekend’s headliner. He does everything great: .298/.379/.576 — 16 HR, 57 RBI, 22 SB (2 CS). Looking at his Statcast values and there’s even more to gawk at:

+12 Run Value against 4-seam fastballs
+10 Run Value against Sinkers
+3 Run Value against Sliders

He missed one of the four games the Giants played in Arizona last month, and that was the game the Diamondbacks lost. The other three games, though, the Giants held him to 1 hit in 11 at bats with two walks against one strikeout. In 9 career games against the Giants, he’s hit just .177/.263/.265 (.528) with just 3 extra base hits (all doubles) 4 walks, 8 strikeouts and one stolen base.

He’ll either have a breakout series against them or be the one guy they get while giving ground to the rest of the lineup:

Geraldo Perdomo, 138 wRC+
Ketel Marte, 134 wRC+
Christian Walker, 123 wRC+
Lourdes Gurriel, 122 wRC+

Nick Ahmed: I equate him with a nuisance when the numbers don’t totally support it. Against the Giants for his career (97 games, 352 PA) he’s hitting just .220/.293/.355 (.648 OPS) — BUT! He also has 7 home runs, 18 doubles, and 30 walks. Those are the second-highest totals for this stats behind the Colorado Rockies. He’ll be facing the Giants’ groundball staff, so, I’d like to think they can wrangle a career 46.5% groundball hitter.

Evan Longoria: The Dbacks are using him in a limited capacity (he’s played in just 7 games this month, with a five day gap between his last two), but he’s been effective-ish in that role (.817 OPS in 124 PA, 112 wRC+). He had just one hit (a home run) in the series last month against the Giants, but let’s watch him if, like, the Giants call up Kyle Harrison to start on Saturday (pure speculation). That will almost certainly be an old-past vs. young-future matchup worth seeing.

Zach Davies: His last two starts have been disaster — 6.2 IP, 16.20 ERA — and he’s basically a sinker-changeup guy whose average fastball is 90 mph but it works as a combo with the changeup (30% Whiff rate). He doesn’t give up many home runs, either, but he does walk batters. Patience will be required to extend his bad start streak to three.

Ryne Nelson: The other starter this weekend who the Giants really do need to get to before the Diamondbacks go to their pen. Nelson throws hard (95 mph fastball), but gives up more flyballs and more home runs on flyballs. He doesn’t strikeout a lot of hitters (6.1 K/9), but in his last two starts — 9 IP, 8.00 ERA — he’s picked it up a bit: 11 strikeouts against 2 walks.


Giants to watch

Patrick Bailey: Remember in the intro section when I asked you to hold that thought about the Diamondbacks and their superiority throwing out baserunners? Well, here we are. Jayson Stark makes a big deal out of Arizona’s ability to limit the running game (67% opponent success rate), and so I went and looked and Patrick Bailey has thrown out 9 baserunners in 22 attempts. That’s a 59% opponent success rate.

The Giants are 19-7 in his starts and 22-11 since his callup on May 19. The team with the next-best record in that span (32 games)? The Dbacks (21-11). The Giants also have the edge on them 4.5-4.4 fWAR, pitching-wise over those same 32 games. The Giants are also ahead by offensive fWAR (6.3 to 5.3), and much better defensively (+5.8 Defensive Runs vs. -3.9).

This will be the first time the Diamondbacks have to face Patrick Bailey. How he limits Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarty, Geraldo Perdomo — basically any baserunner — could be the difference-maker, and that’s on top of the value he provides as a receiver and game manager. Does he already know not to pitch Carroll up and away?

Logan Webb: The Diamondbacks’ 45.2% groundball rate is the 4th-highest in MLB (3rd in the NL). Ahead of them? The Marlins (46%) and Nationals (45.8%). Logan Webb leads Major League Baseball in groundball rate (60.7%) and his combined line against the Marlins, Nationals, and Diamondbacks this season (4 starts) is

26.2 IP
2.09 ERA
23 K
6 BB
1.15 WHIP
1 HRA (in Miami)

Webb’s June hasn’t been lights out (4.10 ERA in 26.1 IP - 4 starts), but effective (3-1, 20-5 K-BB), and if the Giants have any shot at staying competitive in this series, in all probability it will come down to him pitching to the reality of the situation: he’s their best starter.

Luis Matos: Time for his first major league home run? Or will he continue his 3:1 walk to strikeout rate and make the Dbacks’ starters work? Either way, this is the Giants’ primary counterpunch to Corbin Carroll — their own exciting player who could fill up a box score.


Prediction time


Giants vs. Diamondbacks - how will it go?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Diamondbacks sweep
    (10 votes)
  • 22%
    Diamondbacks take 2 out of 3
    (41 votes)
  • 55%
    Giants take 2 out of 3
    (103 votes)
  • 16%
    Giants sweep... lol can you imagine?
    (31 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now