A series sweep is on the line this afternoon at Chase Field.
Game #95: Nationals at Diamondbacks
|Cesar Hernandez – 2B||Josh Rojas – 3B|
|Juan Soto – RF||Alek Thomas – CF|
|Josh Bell – 1B||Ketel Marte – DH|
|Nelson Cruz – DH||Christian Walker – 1B|
|Yadiel Hernandez – LF||David Peralta – LF|
|Luis Garcia – SS||Daulton Varsho – RF|
|Keibert Ruiz – C||Sergio Alcantara – 2B|
|Ehire Adrianza – 3B||Geraldo Perdomo – SS|
|Victor Robles – CF||Jose Herrera – C|
|Erick Fedde – RHP||Corbin Martin – RHP|
Sergio Alcántara gets the start at second base, shifting Ketel Marte to DH. This should do wonders for the infield defense. But, this also means that Buddy Kennedy continues to sit, despite the opposition running out an underwhelming righty, not some flamethrower to fear the platoon splits of. Hat-tip to Jack Sommers for pointing out that Alcántara has done well in the small time since his return having gone 7-for-23 with a double and a home run.
Martin will need to be careful against the heart of Washington’s order as the trio of Juan Soto, Josh Bell, and Nelson Cruz like to ambush fastballs and put them into the seats. However, if he can keep that trio more or less in check, the Diamondbacks should have some success today.
Erick Fedde entered the 2022 season as a four-pitch pitcher, featuring a mix of fastball, slider, cutter, and change. However, Fedde has almost entirely abandoned the change this season, throwing it only 3.9% of the time. Instead, Fedde has leaned more heavily on his cutter to get outs, featuring a new seam grip he developed in September of last season. Fedde’s fastball sits 92-94 MPH while his slider arrives around 78 MPH. These two pitches account for more than 2⁄3 of the pitches he has thrown this season. When Fedde is going right, he is filling the zone with his fastball and then using the cutter as a wrinkle pitch to induce swings and misses and soft contact. When Fedde is not going well, his fastball command can be spotty and he starts to rely more heavily on his cutter. When he does this, he become hittable. Fedde’s results on the season have been all over the place. He has had dominant outings where he threw six shutout innings. He has also had a number of laughers, including a 1.1 IP outing against the Mets where he gave up six runs back on May 30th. Fedde was also tagged for eight runs through three innings back on July 8th against the Braves, a game in which he surrendered three home runs. Fedde is not a big strikeout pitcher, sporting only 6.9 SO9. This season has seen Fedde’s control waver a bit as well, with a 4.4 BB9. Fedde is prone to giving up the long ball. Walks combined with those long balls are how he gets himself into trouble.
This is a game where Diamondbacks hitters should be ambushing first pitches in the zone and then showing patience afterwards. Letting Fedde do most of the work should help take some of the pressure of the hitters.
Corbin Martin is making his first MLB start of the season. He pitched in five games for the Snakes at the beginning of the season, all of them in relief. The results were something of a mixed bag, but he looked particularly sharp in only one of those outings. Since then, he has made 12 starts in Reno, posting a 6-3 record over 60.0 innings. Alas, he was pitching in Reno and Martin is not immune to the troubles of pitching in that environment. His Reno ERA currently sits at 5.10 against an xFIP of 5.09. Martin features a four-pitch mix of fastball, slider, curve, and change. He throws his 94-96 MPH fastball more than 50% of the time, but still makes use of all three other pitches with some regularity. Unlike his opponent, Martin does tend to pile up strikeouts when he is going right. Martin’s biggest bugaboo is giving up free passes. This is something he has worked on extensively this year with good success. His walk rate from his short stint in the Majors is 3.77, while his rate in Reno was 3.60. These numbers are down by essentially half from where they sat previously.
Given the state of the Arizona rotation and where the team sits in the standings, this should be only the first of a number of starts for Martin to close out the 2022 season. It’s time the organization learned what it has in Martin. Is he a viable starter? Or, is he a bullpen arm? With a soft landing at home against the lowly Nationals, I expect Martin to be given a bit more rope in this contest, looking to see if he hangs himself with it, or if he can hog-tie the Nationals’ lineup that still (as of this writing) features one Juan Soto in it.
Roster Moves and Injury News:
Recalled RHP Corbin Martin (No. 25) from Triple-A Reno
Optioned RHP Edwin Uceta to Reno following last night’s game
RHP Zach Davies (right shoulder inflammation)
Expected return: TBD
Davies threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on July 19, then he completed a 35-pitch session on July 22, after which manager Torey Lovullo said the right-hander “felt very good” and “was dotting it up” with his pitches. The next step for Davies will be facing hitters, although it has not yet been determined when that will happen.