Thursday, April 25, 2024
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MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (23-18) at Oakland Athletics (9-33)

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS NOTES:

HERE’S THE STORY
♦ The D-backs 23 wins are tied for the third most in the NL (also: Brewers), behind the Dodgers (26) and Braves (25).

♦ The D-backs look to go 6 games above .500 for the first time since finishing 85-77 at the end of the 2019 season.

♦ This is Arizona’s fi rst series in Oakland since June 8-9, 2021.

♦ The D-backs are second in the NL West and have spent 23 total days in or tied for first place (April 2-30).

♦ Arizona has won 4 of its last 6 series.

♦ Ketel Marte has a 15-game on-base streak (since April 26), the 10th longest active streak in MLB…has 1 double, 1 triple, 3 homers, 10 RBI, 9 walks and 2 hit-by-pitches.

♦ Merrill Kelly has gone 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA (6 ER in 19.0) in last 3 bids.

McKAY’S RETURN TO THE COLISEUM
♦ D-backs’ first base coach Dave McKay, the longest active tenured coach in the Majors (40th season), was an infielder with the Athletics from 1980-82.

♦ Coached in Oakland’s organization from 1984-95 and was Tony La Russa’s fi rst base coach for 7 seasons (1989-95), including the 1989 World Series Championship team.

♦ McKay’s son, Cody, was drafted by the Athletics in 1996.

DOM-INATING FLETCHER
♦ Dominic Fletcher is batting .429 (18-for-42)/1.145 OPS with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 5 runs, 13 RBI and 2 walks in his first 13 Major League games.

SNAKEBITES
♦ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, batting .452 (14-for-31) with 4 doubles (1 walk-off ), 4 homers, 11 runs, 8 RBI and 6 walks… in last 7 road games, is hitting .320 (8-for-25)/.894 OPS

♦ Christian Walker’s 7 homers since April 21 are tied for the most in the Majors (also: Mookie Betts/LAD, Salvador Perez/KC and Brent Rooker/OAK).

♦ Gabriel Moreno, in his last 8 games, is hitting .423 (11-for-26)/.926 OPS with 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 walks and 2 stolen bases.

THE ANSWER-BACKS
♦ The D-backs’ 14 comeback wins are tied for the most in the Majors (also: Red Sox and Orioles).

♦ Arizona has 3 straight comeback wins (May 12-14 vs. San Francisco) for the second time in 2023 (also: April 7-9 vs. Los Angeles-NL).

1-RUN MATCHUPS
♦ The D-backs notched their sixth 1-run victory yesterday vs. Giants (2-1) and improved to 6-5 in 1-run matchups.

♦ The D-backs’ 6 1-run victories are tied for fourth most in the NL (also: Phillies and Mets)…the Marlins lead with 12.

WALK OFF #2
♦ The D-backs collected their second walk-off win of the season, both occurring in their last homestand:

May 6 vs. Nationals – Pavin Smith bases-loaded walk

May 14 vs. Giants – Lourdes Gurriel RBI double

♦ The D-backs are just 1 of 3 teams in the Majors to avoid entering an extra-inning game this season (also: Nationals and Rockies).

LATE MAGIC
♦ The D-backs’ .287 average, 30 doubles and 77 runs scored in innings 7-9 rank atop the Majors.

♦ Arizona’s 9 victories when either trailing or tied within innings 7-9 are tied for the second most in the Majors (also: Orioles), behind the Guardians and Marlins (10).

OFFENSE AMONG THE BEST
♦ The D-backs rank in the Majors in average (2nd, .270), triples (2nd, 10), sac hits (T-2nd, 9), OBP (3rd, .331), SLG (3rd, .436), OPS (3rd, .767), extra-base hits (3rd, 135), total bases (3rd, 602), doubles (3rd, 83), strikeouts (3rd fewest, 303) and stolen bases (T-8, 33).

♦ Arizona’s 10 games with 12+ hits are tied for the second most in MLB (also: Red Sox), behind the Cardinals (11).

D-FENSE! D-FENSE!
♦ The D-backs are tied for the second in the Majors with a .991 fielding pct. and 13 errors (also: Mets) behind the Padres (.993, 11).

♦ The D-backs’ 13 Outs Above Average (OAA) are tied for most in the Majors (also: Padres and Brewers).

TODAY’S STARTER – RHP MERRILL KELLY ♦ #29
AT A GLANCE: In his fifth season with the D-backs.

  • Played 5 seasons in the Rays’ system (2010-14) then 4 seasons (2015-18) with the SK Wyverns in the KBO League.
  • Rays’ eighth-round pick in the 2010 draft.
  • Grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., and attended Desert Mountain High School, Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz. (2008-09) and Arizona State University (2010), helping the Sun Devils reach the College World Series in 2010.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA (6 ER in 19.0 IP), 21 strikeouts and 0.89 WHIP in his last 3 starts.

  • Is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA (2 ER in 15.2 IP) in 3 road starts.
  • His 540 strikeouts are eighth all-time among D-backs starters: Randy Johnson (2,077), Brandon Webb (1,065), Robbie Ray (998), Patrick Corbin (897), Curt Schilling (875), Zack Greinke (683), Dan Haren (570).

LAST START: Did not factor in the decision in his last start on May 10 vs. Marlins (ND; 4 ER in 6.0 IP).

VS. ATHLETICS: Made lone start in Oakland on Aug. 19, 2020 (L; 4 ER in 5.0 IP).

ROAD WARRIOR: Dating back to the start of the 2022 season, his 10 road wins are currently tied with Yu Darvish/SD for the second-most behind J. Urias/LAD (12) and ahead of C. Kershaw/LAD, M. Scherzer/NYM and C. Bassitt/NYM (9) among NL starters.

CHANGING IT UP: Opponents are hitting .125 (5-for-40) with 13 strikeouts off his changeup and whiff rate of 32.3 pct.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS NOTES:

ABOUT THE A’S: Lost three of four to Texas to start the homestand and have now lost seven of the last eight games…are 3-10 (.231) in May after going 5-23 (.179) in April…are 9-33 (.214) overall, which is the worst record in the majors (Royals, 12-30/.286)…it is the worst record in Athletics history after 42 games and is tied for sixth worst by an AL, NL or FL team since 1901…the lowest winning percentage in American League history is .235 by the 1916 Philadelphia A’s (36-117)…are 1-12-0 in series play and have been swept six times…lost each of the first 10 series, won two of three at Kansas City from May 5-7, and have lost each of the last two series.

OFFENSE: The A’s scored 12 runs in the four game series against Texas but nine of those came on Friday…were shut out twice by the Rangers and have been blanked six times this year, which is tied for second most in the majors (Mets, 7)…have scored 159 runs for the season, which is fifth fewest…have the seventh lowest batting average (.231), eighth lowest OPS (.695), ninth lowest slugging percentage (.384) and 10th lowest on-base percentage (.311)…have the most strikeouts (390) and the sixth fewest doubles (59)… have the most sacrifice hits (10), are tied for the most hit by pitches (26) and are tied for the 10th most walks (140)…A’s pinch hitters are 10-for-35 (.286) with eight walks (.419 on-base percentage)…lead the majors in pinch walks and rank third in pinch hits.

PITCHING: The A’s have allowed at least one home run in each of the last 18 games (30 home runs total), which is the longest streak in Athletics history (previous: 17, July 26-Aug. 14, 1964)…have yielded 73 home runs for the season, which is the most in the majors (White Sox, 66)…surrendered their sixth grand slam of the season yesterday, which is double the next closest team (Yankees, 3) and tied for fifth most in a season in Athletics history (8 in 1993 and 1999, 7 in 1954 and 1997)…allowed 11 runs yesterday and have allowed 10 or more runs in a game 15 times this year, which more than doubles the next closest team (Royals, 7) and matches the A’s season total from last year…have allowed 316 runs overall, which is second most by any AL, NL or FL team over its first 42 games since 1901 (333 by 1923 Phillies)…they are the most by an A’s team over any 42-game stretch since the Philadelphia A’s allowed 317 from Sept. 18, 1940-May 17, 1941…have compiled a 6.26 ERA (80 er in 115.0 ip) in May after posting a 7.97 ERA in April…have a 7.27 ERA for the season, which is more than 1½ earned runs higher than the next closest team (White Sox, 5.50)…also have the highest opponents OPS (.886), batting average (.286), on-base percentage (.380) and slugging percentage (.506)…lead the majors in most walks (204), hit batters (32) and wild pitches (24) and have the fourth fewest strikeouts (312).

STARTING PITCHING: A’s starting pitchers are 0-6 with a 5.97 ERA (29 er in 43.2 ip) in the eight games since recording their only two wins of the season on May 5 and 6 at Kansas City…are 2-22 with a 7.47 ERA for the season…the ERA is the highest in the majors by nearly 1½ earned runs (Reds, 6.03) and no other team has fewer than six wins from its starters…have the seventh fewest innings pitched (206.0)…went 0-16 over the first 32 games.

THE BULLPEN: The A’s bullpen has compiled a 7.01 ERA, which is the highest in the majors (Giants, 5.95)…is 4-for-13 (30.8%) in save opportunities… has the lowest save percentage and fewest saves in the majors and the nine blown saves are tied for second most to the Cardinals (11)…has allowed 38- of-84 (45.2%) inherited runners to score, which is the fifth highest percentage…has the third most inherited runners…has 163.0 innings pitched, which is third most.

ON THE BASES: The A’s are 40-for-49 (81.6%) in stolen base attempts…rank third in the majors in stolen bases and tied for third in attempts…the 40 steals are the most by an A’s team over the first 42 games since 1992 (46)… had their streak of seven consecutive games with a stolen base snapped last Tuesday, which was their longest streak in 11 years…defensively, have thrown out 13 attempted base stealers over the last 26 games and have 15 caught stealings for the season, which is second most in the majors (Rockies, 17)…opponents are 37-for-52 (71.2%), which is the ninth lowest success rate…A’s pitchers have four pickoffs, which is tied for second most in the majors (Brewers, 5).

HOME AND AWAY: The A’s are 1-3 on this seven-game homestand against Texas (1-3) and Arizona (three games)…went 1-5 on the last homestand against Cincinnati (1-2) and Seattle (0-3) and are 4-18 (.182) at home, which is the lowest home winning percentage in the majors (Royals, 6-17/.261)… leave following the game Wednesday for a seven-game road trip to Houston (three games) and Seattle (four games) that begins on Friday…went 2-4 on the last road trip to Kansas City (2-1) and New York-AL (0-3) and are 5-15 (.250) on the road, which is the worst road record in the majors (White Sox, 7-16/.304)…have compiled a 6.07 ERA (137 er in 203.0 ip) at home compared to 8.73 on the road…are hitting .214 (155-for-724) with 68 runs in 22 home games (3.1 runs per game) compared to .250 with 91 runs in 20 road games (4.6 runs per game).

NIGHT AND DAY: The A’s are 8-16 (.333) in night games and 1-17 (.056) during the day…are batting .264 (220-for-833) with 114 runs in 24 night games (4.8 runs per game), .184 (106-for-576) with 45 runs in 18 day games (2.5 runs per game)…have the lowest day batting average in the majors and the fifth best night batting average.

WINNING LATE: The A’s have scored the winning run in their final at bat in six of their nine wins…have more wins this year when trailing after seven innings (3) than when leading after seven innings (2)…the three wins when trailing after seven innings are tied for sixth most in the majors but no other team has fewer than nine wins when leading after seven innings…are 2-4 (.333) in extra inning games…are tied for second in the majors in extra inning games (6) and losses and tied for fifth in wins…have three walk-off wins, which is tied for second most in the majors (Red Sox, 4).

RUN DIFFERENTIAL: Six of the A’s nine wins have been by one run and Oakland is 6-7 (.462) in one-run games…are tied for seventh in the majors in one-run games (13) and losses…however, have lost six games by 10 or more runs, which matches the A’s combined total from the previous four seasons and is the most since 2008 when they had eight such losses…have a run differential of -157, which is the lowest by an AL, NL or FL team over the first 42 games of the season since 1901 (previous: -131 by the 1932 Red Sox)…it match the lowest in Athletics history over any 42-game stretch (Philadelphia A’s, June 28-Aug. 8, 1916).

THE INJURED LIST: The A’s have used the injured list 13 times, including nine times for pitchers…currently have eight players on the IL, including six pitchers…have added eight players to the IL since the start of the season after beginning the year with five players…used the IL 31 times last year, which broke the Oakland record of 27 set in 2016 and matched in 2021.

THIS AND THAT: The A’s will face a National League West team for the first time tonight…have a 1-8 record against the NL, with the lone win coming against Cincinnati on April 30…committed four errors yesterday, which were the A’s most in a game since May 30, 2018 against Tampa Bay when they also had four…now have 30 for the season, which is the most in the majors… have nine outfield assists, which is second most (Royals, 10)…have an average time of game of 2:48, which is the longest in the majors (Padres, 2:44)… however, have not averaged under 2:53 per game since 2010 (2:43).

A’S VS. DIAMONDBACKS

  • The A’s and Diamondbacks meet for the first time since 2021 when the A’s swept the four-game season series, winning two-game series’ in Oakland and Phoenix…it was the second time the A’s swept the season series (3-0 in 2001).
  • Now have a six-game winning streak, which is their longest ever against Arizona…have won six straight and nine of the last 11 in Oakland.

Year Home Road Totals
2023 0-0 0-0 0-0
2021 2-0 2-0 4-0
Oakland History: 23-18
at the Coliseum: 13-9
at Chase Field: 10-9

TODAY’S TIDBITS
Ryan Noda leads Major League rookies in on-base percentage (.406) and walks (27), ranks fourth in OPS (.824), tied for fifth in runs (21), tied for sixth in doubles (8), tied for seventh in extra base hits (12) and eighth in slugging (.436)…Brent Rooker leads the majors in OPS (1.069) and slugging (.650), is tied for fourth in home runs (11) and ranks sixth in on-base percentage (.420)…Esteury Ruiz leads ML rookies in hits (44), doubles (10), stolen bases (18) and hit by pitches (9), ranks fourth in batting (.270), fifth in RBI (20), eighth in on-base percentage (.331) and tied for seventh in extra base hits (12

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER: Drew Rucinski (0-3, 8.16 ERA)
FOR STARTERS: Is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season and the fifth of his Major League career…was reinstated from the 15-day injured list April 28 and made his A’s debut that night against Cincinnati…was placed on the IL to start the season with a strained left hamstring…began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on April 12 and went 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA in three starts…was signed by the A’s as a free agent on Dec. 22, 2022 after pitching four seasons in Korea for the NC Dinos…this is his fifth season in the majors with his fourth team (Angels, 2014-15; Twins, 2017; Marlins, 2018)… enters the season with 40 career relief appearances and one start…this is his 13th season as a professional…in addition to four seasons in the majors and four in Korea, he also pitched in the minors (2011, 13-18) and independent leagues (2011-13).

THIS AND THAT: Has taken the loss in each of his first three starts…has a .262 (11-for-42) opponents batting average and .724 OPS against right-handed hitters, .500 (10-for-20) with two of his three home runs, seven of his nine walks and a 1.421 OPS against left-handers…opponents are hitting .235 (8- for-34) with the bases empty, .464 (13-for-28) with all three of his home runs with runners on base…has a .346 (9-for-26) opponents average with two strikes and opponents are 3-for-4 (.750) on an 0-2 count.

LAST MAJOR LEAGUE WIN: His last Major League victory came on July 4, 2018 with Miami against Tampa Bay…tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief in the Mariners 3-0 win (1 h, 2 so).

FIRST START: He was the losing pitcher in the A’s 11-7 loss to Cincinnati on April 28 in Oakland…it was his first Major League appearance since Sept. 28, 2018 and his first start since April 14, 2015…allowed five runs on a career-high 11 hits in a career-high 5.2 innings…allowed a two-run double to Barrera in the Reds three-run second inning and a two-run home run to Fraley in the third.

SECOND START: He lost his second consecutive start in the A’s 5-3 loss to Seattle on May 4 in Oakland…walked a career-high five batters…the A’s scored a run in the second but he allowed a two-run home run to Trammell in the third…Oakland scored two in the bottom of the third to take a 3-2 lead but he allowed three runs in the fourth on a walk to Trammell with the bases loaded and a two-run single by Wong.

LAST START: He lost his third consecutive start in the A’s 10-5 loss at New York (AL) last Tuesday…allowed a career-high seven runs in 5.0 innings and tossed a career-high 95 pitches…had a 1-0 lead when he allowed five runs in the third inning on a fielders choice, RBI singles by Rizzo, Torres and Bader and a Bauer sacrifice fly…also yielded a two-run home run to Torres in the fifth.

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