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Series Preview: Diamondbacks at Cardinals, May 25-May 27

Jhonny Peralta tags out AJ Pollock in last season's September matchup.
Jhonny Peralta tags out AJ Pollock in last season's September matchup.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchups

  • Monday 5/25 3:15 CT: Chase Anderson (1-1, 2.54 ERA, 3.27 FIP) vs. Carlos Martinez (4-2, 4.08 ERA, 4.53 FIP)
  • Tuesday 5/26 7:15 CT: Archie Bradley (2-1, 4.00 ERA, 4.11 FIP) vs. Jaime Garcia (0-1, 2.57 ERA, 6.59 FIP)
  • Wednesday 5/27 7:15 CT: Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.19 ERA, 4.55 FIP) vs. TBD

Cardinals Notes

It's concerning that the Cardinals have "TBD" listed in place of Wednesday's starter.  This is Lance Lynn's spot in the rotation, though after his last outing, he told reporters that he was pitching through back cramps.  He received treatment and was supposed to be reevaluated on Saturday.  According to FSM's Luke Thompson, Lynn is fine:

Still, the TBD is odd.  Tim Cooney is scheduled to pitch for Memphis on Wednesday (Nick Greenwood and Tyler Lyons are starting Monday and Tuesday, respectively).  Unless they switch up the rotation before that, I imagine Cooney would get the call if needed to start in Lynn's spot.  Marco Gonzales, by the way, will miss his next start in AAA, after experiencing "renewed discomfort" in his pectoral.

Jaime Garcia gets his second start of the season on Tuesday.  He had generally good results in his last outing against the Mets, but it appeared to be largely luck, mixed with a bit of talent.  Garcia struck out three, but walked five.  His 93% strand rate helped keep the game 0-2, but is of course unsustainable.  It will be interesting to see how he fares against Arizona's hitters, who are fairly aggressive at the plate, but a ground ball hitting team.

On the hitting side, the Cardinals are pretty banged up.  Matt Holliday sat yesterday after being hit on the forearm by a pitch on Saturday.  Seems like the baseball would be more hurt than Holliday's forearm.  No word yet on whether he'll be ready to play today.  Jason Heyward has also missed the last two games for hip tightness.  After missing the game Saturday, he was expected to play on Sunday, but then just didn't.  Yesterday, Matheny said Heyward needed one more day to heal and he wasn't concerned about his health long-term.  We'll see this afternoon if that's true.  Jon Jay is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, but the club has not announced whether he'll be activated.

Diamondbacks Notes

The Diamondbacks are a pretty interesting team this year, if you consider a roughly-.500 team with a bunch of no-name pitchers pitching (possibly) over their heads interesting.  The D-backs team ERA ranks fourth in the NL (the starters-only ERA also ranks fourth), but watching them play, you wouldn't exactly know why.  Their success seems aided by lowish HR/9 and HR/FB rates - 0.98/9 and 10.5%, respectively.  I say "lowish" because these numbers put the Diamondbacks just about in the middle of the pack in the NL, but the numbers are more impressive when you consider they pitch in hitter's haven that is Chase Field (check out MLB 2015 park factors here).

In this series, we will see Chase Anderson, a 2009 9th round draft pick who made his debut last season and has pitched well thus far.  Anderson's plus pitch is his changeup - or, perhaps, his changeups.  Archie Bradley got name recognition at the beginning of the season when he outpitched Clayton Kershaw, striking out six and allowing only one Dodgers hit through six innings.  But he also walked four batters.  Control continues to be a problem for Bradley, as he has a 5.33 BB/9 coming into this series.  Josh Collmenter will take the mound Wednesday.  He has bounced back and forth between starter and bullpen long relief for several years now, and seems to handle the transitions well.

Paul Goldschmidt is, of course, the most dangerous hitter in the D-backs lineup, putting up MVP-caliber numbers again in this young season.  With 12 home runs and a .333/.438/.635 (!) slash line, Goldy has been worth 2.2 fWAR already and is on pace for about a 6-fWAR season.  A.J. Pollock has been a nice surprise, supplementing Goldschmidt's efforts by adding pop and speed to the lineup.  With 10 stolen bases, eight infield hits, and a .313/.355/.444 line, Pollock is looking at a 4+ fWAR season.

Speaking of stolen bases, Yadier Molina should expect a lot of work behind the plate this series.  The Diamondbacks run a LOT.  They have 41 stolen bases on the year (3rd in the NL), and have been caught 15 times.  Only the Cubs have made more attempts.

Although the Diamondbacks are a (just barely) sub-.500 team, they are not the same team the Cardinals took five of six from last season.  They are the youngest team in baseball, and play with a lot of nebulous "heart."  Only five games back from first place in the NL West, the team expects to compete for at least a wild card spot.  This should be a fun series.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  Eat, drink, and be both merry and responsible today.