The Arizona Diamondbacks will take on the New York Mets in a few hours at Citi Field in New York (the game can be seen on Fox in Phoenix), but before they do battle on the diamond, there are a couple of interesting statistics that you should know about.
-Last night’s 5-4 Diamondbacks victory snapped an interesting losing streak for the team. Yes, they had lost two games in a row against the Washington Nationals, but the more improbable streak was the nine-game losing skid in one run games that they had going before winning this tilt. It was the second-longest losing streak in one run games in team history, being bested only by the 2004 incarnation of the D’Backs, who lost 13 in a row. That team likely finished with a way worse record than this one will, being that in 2004 the Diamondbacks finished with a 51-111 record and a 42 game gap between them and first place.
In addition to the wretched record, the rottenness extended to just about every other facet of the game. They scored the fewest runs in Major League Baseball that year by 19 runs, were the fourth worst team in the league in terms of allowing runs, and finished with the worst run differential in MLB at negative-285. That was the worst in baseball by 99 RUNS. Considering it was a team three years removed from a World Series title and two from a division title, the old adage of “how the mighty have fallen” has never rung so true.
-Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic had an interesting piece about the Diamondbacks’ struggles against left-handed pitching this year. He pointed to players like Miguel Montero (1-for-18) and Paul Goldschmidt (4-for-21) who have been wretched in that area of the game, and their inability to hit southpaws even has Kirk Gibson worried. He told Piecoro that the team is considering adding an additional left-handed batting practice pitcher to increase their repetitions.
Looking closer at their performance, they are dead smack in the middle of the pack in baseball, scoring 31 runs in 233 at-bats, tying for 14th with Detroit (who has had 64 more at-bats to rack up their total). That is the end of the positive news for them, however. They are currently 20th in baseball in OBP (.299), and their slugging is .343, 23rd best in the league. Combined, that makes for a .643 OPS (if my math is correct), and that also is 23rd in MLB against lefties. Finally, they are 25th in the league with a .223 batting average in these situations.
Just for the sake of comparison, the Colorado Rockies have torched lefties to the tune of 29 extra-base hits (15 doubles, 4 triples, 10 home runs), and the Cleveland Indians have done even better, slapping 19 doubles, three triples, and 10 home runs. Even with that success, though, they are only hitting .233 against lefties, thereby lending credence to the notion that batting average isn’t the best statistic to measure batting prowess by.
-Saturday’s matinee tilt will feature two of the best hitting teams in baseball in day games. The Diamondbacks have the 10th best OPS in day games with a .735 mark, but the Mets are even better, with a .774 mark that ranks them sixth in the league. Arizona has also scored 49 runs in day games, with puts them in seventh in the league.
-Finally, the battle for supremacy with runners in scoring position goes to the Mets in a big way in this series. The Diamondbacks are hitting .224 in those situations, which is 20th in the league. The Mets, meanwhile, are hitting 31 points better and check in at eighth in the league.