Diamondbacks Face Angels for Deciding Game Behind Brandon Pfaadt

The D-backs will face the Angels to determine the series winner tonight.
Jun 7, 2024; San Diego, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt (32) delivers during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Denis Poroy-USA TODAY Sports at Petco Park.
Jun 7, 2024; San Diego, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt (32) delivers during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Denis Poroy-USA TODAY Sports at Petco Park. / Denis Poroy-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Angels will face off for game three of their series at Chase Field tonight, after splitting the previous two games. First pitch is at 6:40 PM Arizona time. Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch will be Arizona Cardinals' first-round rookies Marvin Harrison Jr. and Darius Robinson.

Arizona took a commanding 9-4 victory in game one, before dropping game two 8-3 behind a rough start by young right-hander Slade Cecconi. Cecconi was touched for seven earned runs, making a pair of home runs by Christian Walker and Ketel Marte futile.

Taking the mound for the D-backs tonight will be young righty Brandon Pfaadt. Despite the 4.60 ERA, Pfaadt has looked like Arizona's most effective starter in the absence of Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Pfaadt leads Arizona in innings pitched with 78 1/3 over 13 starts. He's only 2-5 in those starts, but has struck out 76 in that period and has a solid 1.14 WHIP.

Notably, Pfaadt has a tendency to get tagged for extra runs due to giving up the long ball. While he has the capability to strike hitters out at any time, and can work his way out of jams, occasional mistake pitches do tend to get hit hard.

With all of this in mind, it's worth mentioning that Pfaadt's FIP is over a full run lower (3.52), than his ERA, suggesting he's been hit by bad luck and is exceptional at controlling what he can control. He's delivered six Quality Starts, and gone through at least six innings nine times.

His last start saw him go 5 1/3 innings against the Padres. He looked generally decent, but was tagged for three home runs, spiking him to five earned runs.

Arizona will need that depth and consistency, along with his patented blend of whiffs and looking strikes to allow for their bullpen to remain in good shape.

Across from Pfaadt is right-hander Griffin Canning. Canning features a low-mid 90s fastball and sinker, with a hard, high-80s changeup and slider and a rarely used curveball. He hasn't pitched particularly well in 2024, with a 4.59 ERA, and a 5.14 FIP, suggesting his results are slightly better than how well he's pitched.

That said, his last two outings have both been Quality Starts, and he hasn't given up more than three earned runs since April 29th. His changeup ranks in the 98th percentile in run value, but he does have a below average 1.38 WHIP, and he struggles with both control and striking batters out.

The last time the D-backs faced Canning, they roughed him up for four walks, three hits and five earned runs over six innings as they beat the Angels in Anaheim.

Lineups

Corbin Carroll remains in the leadoff spot for the D-backs, as his numbers inch ever-skyward. He was a big contributor in Tuesday's win, going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple. His OPS has cracked .600, sitting at .608, and he's hitting .379 in his last seven games.

Arizona's lineup looks relatively standard, with the slumping Joc Pederson in against a righty. Geraldo Perdomo will give way to Kevin Newman at shortstop, after Perdomo's successful return to the lineup in the last two games.

Despite manager Torey Lovullo signaling that the ice-cold Eugenio Suarez might be given more time off in favor of Blaze Alexander taking reps at third base, the veteran Suarez is back in the starting lineup at the hot corner and batting seventh.

The Diamondbacks, although falling back to 32-36, are still just 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, occupied by their division rival San Francisco Giants. The Angels improved to 26-41 last night, and remain in the thick of their struggles.

The Diamondbacks need to capitalize on LA's weaknesses and come away with a series win to stay in the heat of the standings.


Published
Alex D'Agostino

ALEX D'AGOSTINO

Born and raised in the desert, Alex is a lifelong follower of Arizona sports. Alex also writes for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Cardinals, and previously covered the Diamondbacks for FanSided's VenomStrikes. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexDagAZ