clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It’s been a tough month for the Dbacks

The Giants’ lineup woes will at least have a chance against an Arizona pitching staff that’s been simply dreadful.

New York Mets v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

On the last day of June, the Arizona Diamondbacks led the NL West by two games over the Dodgers and two and a half games over the San Francisco Giants. FanGraphs projected them to have a 76.4% chance of making the playoffs.

Here on the last day of July, thanks to just 7 wins in 23 games played this month, the Dbacks have just 41.8% odds of making the postseason and have slipped to four games behind the Dodgers and two games behind the Giants in the NL West race who hosts them for four games starting tonight.

How did Arizona here? How did it come to this? It’s as simple as the pitching. Since July 1st, they have the second-lowest fWAR (0.1) in Baseball behind just the Washington Nationals (-0.3). Yesterday, they were shutout by the Mariners 4-0, but starter Merrill Kelly and three relievers combined for 13 strikeouts against 4 walks and that helped raise the team’s month totals from -0.1 and a sub-8 K/9 to the +0.1 and 8.2 K/9.

In the three months prior, Arizona had #10 staff in MLB (5th in NL) with 8.6 fWAR across 82 games. They struck out 8.3 per 9, walked 3.4 per 9, and allowed 1.1 HR per 9 on an 11.6% HR/FB ratio. From a bird’s eye view, it’s really coming down to home runs allowed: 39 is second-most behind the Nationals’ 45.

With the exceptions of Tommy Henry (20.2 IP, 3.57 FIP) and Merrill Kelly (11 IP, 3.55 FIP) — who missed a good chunk of the month because of right calf inflammation that put him on the IL at the end of June — Arizona’s starters have been bad. That’s right. Zac Gallen (32.1 IP, 4.49 FIP), Ryne Nelson (29 IP, 6.38 FIP), Zach Davis (14.2 IP, 6.48 FIP), and Brandon Pfaadt — pronounced FOUGHT — (11.2 IP, 6.71 FIP) have not been good enough to help out what’s also a bit of a struggling offense.

Could all of this actually come down to 23-year old stud catcher Gabriel Moreno’s absence? Back in June, Baseball Info Solutions said that he was the best catcher by Defensive Runs Saved in a comparison of just how well Patrick Bailey had been doing since his callup. We know that Bailey has been the straw that’s stirred the Giants’ drink, and even though their offense has absolutely spun into the back of a manure truck, they’re still 12-12 on the month.

Moreno has been on the IL since July 23rd with left shoulder inflammation, and prior to his placement on it, the Diamondbacks were 5-6 in July when he played. If his absence has set off this streak of struggles for the Diamondbacks it would not be a surprise. Hopefully, the Giants can take advantage.

The Giants’ staff will still have to navigate Corbin Carroll, just 2-for-14 when he played at Oracle at the end of June, but has an .857 OPS in July (.264/.357/.500) with 4 homers, 2 triples, and a double in 19 hits to go with 10 walks against 18 strikeouts. He’s also 8/9 in SBs.

Even if the San Francisco TBDs can hold Carroll and the rest of the Diamondbacks in check — as they did with Boston’s #5 offense this past weekend — the Giants’ almost equally anonymous lineup will have to overcome the simple fact that they are, right now, the worst lineup in Major League Baseball. They’ve scored the fewest runs in July (80) and have the lowest overall value of any group (76 wRC+). It’s not a matter of bad luck. They’re just bad.

Still, the Giants are getting them during a moment of vulnerability. This isn’t one of those situations like when the Rockies came into town having lost so many road games that the mathematical inevitability of them winning run assured us that the Giants would not sweep them. This is a four-game series and the Diamondbacks’ pitching is scuffling a bit. The Giants’ pitching has stayed true despite their offensive woes.

Somehow, they took two out of three against a Red Sox team that is in much better shape than these Diamondbacks, and so at the very least there’s a chance the Giants have a competitive series against division opponents who will be desperate to right their ship. That Red Sox series kicked off what would be the toughest stretch of the season for the Giants, and that series win coupled with Arizona’s vulnerability with the A’s next on the schedule could set them up to weather what figures to be a very tough storm.

This will be a battle for a Wild Card spot, of course, but the Giants still have their sites set on the division. Nothing is ever assured in Baseball, of course, but the tone of this series is wildly different from what it looked like it might be only a month ago. This will

Series details

Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
When: Monday (6:45pm PT), Tuesday (6:45pm PT), Wednesday (6:45pm PT), Thursday (12:45pm PT)
National broadcasts: None.

Projected starters

Monday: Jakob Junis (opener) vs. Ryne Nelson
Tuesday: Alex Cobb vs. Zac Gallen
Wednesday: Logan Webb vs. TBA
Thursday: TBA vs. Brandon Pfaadt

Where they stand


Record: 56-50, 3rd in NL West
Run differential: -1, 8th in NL
Postseason standing: 1.0 games back of Wild Card, 4 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game losing streak; 2-8 in their last 10 games


Record: 58-48, 2nd in NL West
Run differential: +24, 5th in the NL
Postseason standing: +1.0 up in Wild Card, 2 games out of the division
Momentum: 2-game winning streak; 4-6 in their last 10 games

Diamondbacks to watch

Ketel Marte: Not only does he feel like he’s been around forever — and solidly above average — he actually has been around forever and solidly above average. He doesn’t turn 30 until October. He’s hitting .314/.385/.512 in 22 July games. He’s having a season on par with his 2021 and 2019 seasons, the latter of which earned him some MVP votes.

Jake McCarthy: Here’s one of those guys who’s made a career for himself based largely on how well he’s done against the Giants. For his career against them (19 games): .419/.463/.565. That’s despite one home run. In July, he’s hit .279/.362/.344 with just three extra base hits in 70 plate appearances. Hopefully, the Giants’ defense can position itself to soak up some of those would-be singles.

Alek Thomas: Thomas hasn’t done well against the Giants for his career (.555 OPS), but he’s batting .290/.302/.532 in July with 4 doubles, a triple, and 3 home runs. The caveat being that he has struck out 16 times and walked just once.

Miguel Castro, Kyle Nelson, Andrew Chafin: This trio of setup guys have been unreliable for the Diamondbacks this month. Castro is their power setup guy (97 mph average sinker velocity) who has an average exit velocity against that’s in the top 5% of the league, but he’s allowed 7 earned runs in 9 I this month, including 6 walks and 2 home runs; Nelson and Chafin are a pair of lefties who have combined to allowed 18 earned runs in 15.1 IP (4 home runs) but also have combined for 21 strikeouts.

Giants to watch

Wilmer Flores: Since June 1st (min. 100 PA), his 197 wRC+ is 3rd-best in Major League Baseball, behind Shohei Ohtani (239 wRC+) and Corey Seager (200). In the 15 games since the All-Star break, he’s hitting .385/.431/.789 (1.220 OPS) with 5 home runs and 6 doubles.

Ryan Walker: I mentioned Miguel Castro’s exit velocity being in the top 5% of MLB, well, Walker’s 84.4 mph is in the top 1%. On top of that, he’s looked lights out as the opener in his last two appearances. Given the state of the Giants’ rotation, the ridiculous sellers’ market at the trade deadline, and the somewhat unsettling pleasure the team’s front office seems to derive from bullpen game planning (ex: Tristan Beck looks great in a relief role, where I suspect he’ll remain), figure we’ll see Walker try to open with a bang in this series.

Marco Luciano: The Diamondbacks’ staff has given up a lot of home runs of late. Marco Luciano has yet to hit his first major league home run despite 35+-home run power projection. I would like to see the dinger happen in this series. Thanks!

Prediction time


Giants vs. Diamondbacks - How will it go?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Giants win series
    (114 votes)
  • 8%
    Giants sweep
    (15 votes)
  • 18%
    Series split
    (32 votes)
  • 4%
    Dbacks win series
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Dbacks sweep
    (1 vote)
170 votes total Vote Now