The Cleveland Indians head out west for a two-game interleague series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, beginning Tuesday night at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks have struggled this season, opening the season in Australia against the Los Angeles Dodgers and ending April with a 9-22 record. Since then, Arizona has managed a 23-25 record, and sits comfortably in last place in the NL West, 14.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants. The Diamondbacks are a miserable 14-29 at home, easily the worst home record in MLB. The Indians are 14-24 on the road. Someone and somethings has to give!
Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson, surprisingly, still have their jobs as GM and manager after the miserable start, as ownership may hope that there isn’t anywhere to go but up, but with Paul Goldschmidt (.308/.385/.552, 43 extra-base hits) the only daily contributor, it could be a long season in the desert. The Snakes lost A.J. Pollock to a broken hand on June 1 on a hit-by-pitch (by Cincinnati Reds’ ace Johnny Cueto, who just did the same thing to Toronto infielder Brett Lawrie), and Arizona hasn’t had anyone step up to take on his production in his absence. Starting shortstop, Chris Owings, is dealing with shoulder issues and, while Miguel Montero is rebounding from a miserable 2013 season, the bats haven’t come alive yet, and it’s fair to question if they ever will.
The Diamondbacks are getting solid contribution out of the bullpen, where Brad Ziegler, Joe Thatcher, and Oliver Perez are pitching well in their setup roles, but Addison Reed is rocking an early season, small sample size inflated 4.02 ERA, three losses, and eight home runs allowed in 32 appearances and 31.1 innings. It isn’t what management was expecting out of Reed, but the 36:4 K:BB is somewhat encouraging regarding the type of stuff that the 25-year-old closer possesses.
The rotation is in shambles with Trevor Cahill‘s struggles (which led to a bullpen demotion after just four starts earlier this season), Brandon McCarthy has 10 losses in 16 starts with a 5.38 ERA and a 2.98 xFIP, and Bronson Arroyo just went to the disabled list for the first time in his 19-year career…only in Arizona in 2014, or so it seems.
Enough about the background, this is what we will see on the mound…