I wish the word "Schadenfreude" were easier to type, because it so perfectly captures my feelings toward the Diamondbacks right now that I'm tempted to use it a dozen times in this preview. The D'backs have spent the better part of two years cultivating a team identity of "toughness," "grit," and "playing like assholes." When the General Manager (Kevin Towers) and manager (Kirk Gibson) openly talk about how their players need to bean more opposing hitters, they're starting to court the Giants and Dodgers in terms of pure hateability.
So how has this hard-nosed attitude worked out for them in 2014? Answer: a slick 8-20 record, a spiraling starting rotation, and rumblings about hot seats in the front office. That is some sweet, sweet suckiness. Ah yes, more of that beautiful shade...schadden...pleasure derived from someone else's problems.
That said, the D'backs have cobbled together four straight quality starts to bring their team ERA from historically bad to just worst-in-the-league-but-within-shouting-distance-of-second at 5.17. Tonight's starter Wade Miley hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire (4.50 ERA), but he sure dominated the Rockies earlier in the year. In that tilt at Coors Field he breezed through eight innings and gave up only a couple of runs. Miley features a fantastic sweeping slider from the left side. Rockies hitters are going to have to lay off of it.
It's nights like tonight where the Michael Cuddyer injury really hurts. Justin Morneau has handled lefties admirably so far this year--an .857 OPS--but the plan going into this year was to get Cuddyer starts at first base against tough lefties. Morneau added a pair of doubles against the lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu yesterday, so maybe he's channeling his prime years again.
The lineup is also missing lefty-masher Wilin Rosario. Rosario's left hand is bothering him. By all indications it won't lead to a DL stint, but we are now seeing our second straight Jordan Pacheco start. Get well Wilin.
The Diamondbacks' lineup has been lousy this year, with an 82 wRC+. But they are certainly better than they have shown thus far (they'd have to be, right?). There aren't any easy outs throughout this team, and Paul Goldschmidt is a star. They are pretty much underperforming to a man, and presumably they will get closer to their career norms. Hopefully that happens after the Rockies leave town.
The Rockies always struggle in Arizona, but with the series victory in Los Angeles it feels like Colorado is playing with some house money. Hopefully they play well in these next three games and secure a winning road trip.