Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Reds enter the weekend on a two game winning streak after a rough stretch following the All Star Break. They currently sit 2 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central.

The Diamondbacks sit in second in the NL West, occupying the first Wild Card position with a 54-43 record. That matches the Brewers, meaning the Reds have an opportunity to at least close in on a Wild Card spot regardless of what Milwaukee does this weekend. The Diamondbacks are in a similar position to the Reds in that they’re a young team just starting to contend this year. They finished 4th in the NL West last year at 74-88.

The Reds will hit the Diamondbacks at a decent time, as Arizona is just 5-9 in July, though two of those wins came in their most recent series in Atlanta. The three game series kicks off on Friday at Great American Ball Park.

  • Friday, 7:10 PM
  • Saturday, 4:10 PM
  • Sunday, 1:40 PM

The Reds have not yet seen Arizona this season, and will travel to Arizona in August.

Position Players

The Diamondbacks’ offense is tied for 10th in the Majors with a 103 wRC+. They strike out at the third lowest rate in the Majors, while sitting in the middle of the pack in walk rate. While they’re still middle of the pack in HR, a lot of their production comes from speed, as they rank third in steals, behind just the Reds and Rays.

Here’s a chart comparing the Diamondbacks’ starters to the Reds’ starters.

The obvious highlight of the Arizona lineup is current Rookie of the Year frontrunner Corbin Carroll. Reds fans will certainly have their eyes on him this weekend, with a head-to-head matchup of Carroll against Reds rookies and ROY hopefuls Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Spencer Steer. Carroll at one point was considered a frontrunner for NL MVP, though still a fair margin behind Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. He’s fallen off quite a bit in July, posting just a .661 OPS, though it’s fair to say he would likely have to continue to struggle to lose his status as ROY favorite.

Ketel Marte and Christian Walker are the known commodities in the lineup, having each been mainstays in Arizona’s lineup over recent years. While Evan Longoria and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are new to Arizona this season, they’re both proven vets having great years.

The lineup is rounded out by some young talent, highlighted by 2023 All Star Geraldo Perdomo. While Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, and Gabriel Moreno have each been below average by wRC+, each has provided value in other facets of the games, namely on the basepaths for McCarthy, who has 22 steals with just 224 plate appearances.

Starting Pitcher Matchups

The Reds are fortunate to miss Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen, who has been among the best pitchers in the league this season.

Friday’s game is the only fully finalized pitching matchup at this point. The Diamondbacks will send left hander Tommy Henry out to face Ben Lively in what seems to profile as a fairly even matchup. Both have ERAs outperforming advanced metrics this season, though xERA is more optimistic on Henry and SIERA is more optimistic on Lively. Henry doesn’t strike out many, and walks a decent amount, so the Reds will look to capitalize with contact, and hope the small GABP plays in their favor.

Saturday’s game will see the infamous “TBD” on the mound for Arizona, while the Reds will counter with Brandon Williamson. Without having a listed starter for Arizona, it’s hard to get a read on whether the Reds will have an advantage or disadvantage. Still, we do know that Williamson has shown some positive signs in recent starts, so the hope is that he can continue to build on that success.

Sunday again sees some uncertainty in the pitching matchups, with Arizona not listing a starter yet. Zach Davies, who seemingly would be lined up for that start, just went on the IL, so there’s a solid chance the Sunday starter isn’t currently on the active roster. The Reds face some slight uncertainty as well, with Luke Weaver having exited his last start after being hit on the non-throwing elbow by a comebacker. All signs point to Weaver still making the start as scheduled, and he will look to build on the positive signs he showed prior to the injury in his last start. Working with a velocity spike on Tuesday, he really only made two mistakes to Wilmer Flores, and otherwise pitched quite well, striking out six in just 2 2/3 innings, walking one and allowing just two non-Flores hits.


Arizona’s bullpen ranks 19th in ERA, 20th in FIP, 11th in xFIP, and 16th in SIERA so far in 2023. They also rank in the middle of the pack in both walk and strikeout rates.

The closer situation in Arizona is an odd one. Three pitchers – Andrew Chafin, Scott McGough, and Miguel Castro – have 7 or more saves this year. Kevin Ginkel has two saves this year, but both were this week, with Chafin out on paternity leave. It seems likely that Arizona will mix and match at the back end of the bullpen, though with three of the four being right handed, it may not just be the traditional platoon matchups you’re used to seeing.

Joe Mantiply is somewhat notable in that he has only walked one batter in his 15 2/3 innings this year. It’s likely not a small sample anomaly, as he held a minuscule 2.5% walk rate in 60 innings last season as well, putting him up there with Boston’s Chris Martin as one of the best control pitchers in the league. Mantiply also pitched in the Reds’ minor league system in 2019, and has been with Arizona since.


While they are catching them at a decent time, and could certainly capitalize on the fact that Arizona may be forced to reach into the minors for starting pitching help, it still won’t be an easy matchup this weekend. Arizona has shown much of the same brand of young talent this season that we have seen from the Reds, leading to what could ultimately end up being one of the most exciting non-rival series the Reds will play this year. Keep an eye out for the head-to-head battle among the rookies, and the Reds will look to come out of the series with at least a couple victories.


Featured Image: Twitter

Kyle Berger

Kyle Berger is a lifelong Reds fan who has lived in the Cincinnati area for his entire life. Kyle has always been interested in the analytics side of baseball, and recently graduated from Miami University with a degree in Business Analytics. You can follow him on Twitter @KB_48, where most of his Tweets are about the Reds or baseball in general.