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Series Preview: Diamondbacks at Pirates

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The post-Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks feel a little like the post-Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole Pirates in a way. Former playoff teams stripped of the guys for whom casual fans tuned in, but, upon closer inspection, groups with a bunch of solid, decent ballplayers. If one doesn’t spend a lot of time following the Diamondbacks (or Pirates), they can quickly be dismissed as a bit irrelevant, but, these are teams well above the tanking organizations, with a cautious eye pointed toward winning.

It’s not a perfect one-to-one comparison. Arizona still has its ace, one it was paying handsomely in the first place. The farm systems were a bit divergent until the Pirates shipped out three big prospects last season.

The D-backs are in the awkward middle of Major League Baseball. The Pirates, presumably, are, too, though fans should enjoy this hot start for all its worth. That’s the funny thing about the middle ground. For most teams’ fears of going there, you’re just a little luck away from bumping up to the higher level of contention.

The Pirates (12-7) saw a five-game winning streak end with a loss to the Giants on Sunday.

Arizona has won five of its last seven, but both losses in that span came in a three-game series at the Cubs over the weekend.

Schedule

Monday, 7:05 p.m. — Zack Godley (1-1, 6.26 ERA) vs. Joe Musgrove (1-1, 0.81), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. — Luke Weaver (1-1, 3.92) vs. Trevor Williams (1-0, 2.59), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. — Merrill Kelly (1-2, 4.37) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-0, 0.53), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Thursday, 12:35 p.m. — Zack Greinke (3-1, 4.60) vs. Jameson Taillon (1-2, 3.12), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Diamondbacks

11-11 (11-11 Pythag, 5.05 RS/G, 5.00 RA/G)

Offense

Once one of the more highly-regarded Orioles prospects (for what that’s worth), 28-year-old Christian Walker (.353/.421/.706, 6 HR) has first base to himself with Jake Lamb’s injury, and he might be brewing up some post-hype magic. Plucked from Keuchel Land, Adam Jones (.299/.371/.540) is second on the team with five home runs. Carson Kelly (.211/.250/.342) no longer has to get around Yadier Molina’s barricade in St. Louis. The 24-year-old should get a chance to show what he can do. Then again, Arizona acquired Blake Swihart from the Red Sox, giving the D-backs four (!!!!) catchers on their roster at present. Zack Greinke popped two homers on April 2 and is sporting a rad .500/.545/1.300 line.

Pitching

Luke Weaver (10.45 K/9, 2.18 BB/9) should also have an easier time in Arizona than in St. Louis, slotting into a spot in the middle of this rotation. Zack Godley (7.83 K/9, 3.91 BB/9) regressed last year after bursting onto the scene in 2017. Merrill Kelly (8.74 K/9, 3.97 BB/9) climbed the minor-league ladder with the Rays, then spent four years in the KBO. He came back to the states on a two-year, $5.5 million deal and made his MLB debut this season at age 30.

Poll

How many times will the Pirates tame the Snakes?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    4
    (35 votes)
  • 51%
    3
    (180 votes)
  • 32%
    2
    (114 votes)
  • 4%
    1
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (7 votes)
351 votes total Vote Now