Diamondbacks With Crucial Home Series vs Twins Approaching

The D-backs have an off day today in preparation for a homestand they need to dominate.
Aug 6, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins infielder Edouard Julien (47) throws over sliding Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) to complete a double play during the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 6, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins infielder Edouard Julien (47) throws over sliding Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) to complete a double play during the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports / Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to hover around the .500 mark. Currently, they sit at 38-40, but are merely one game out of a Wild Card slot, behind their NL West rival San Diego Padres.

The D-backs have done a solid job taking care of business in June, with a somewhat easier slate of opponents allowing them to go 13-8 in that stretch.

Arizona's team ERA for June sits at 5.14, the third-worst in MLB. They've had to rely on a plethora of young arms in the absence of Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez. However, to balance that, they're tied for fifth in MLB in runs scored, with 109 over 21 games, which translates to 5.19 runs per game.

Such is the nature of baseball, although the D-backs have tended to win or lose games by wide margins. Coming off a road trip with a 3-3 record is less than ideal, but avoiding a sweep at the hands of the MLB-topping Phillies was important in ensuring they didn't lose too much ground in their climb back to .500.

Ahead of them now is a six-game homestand, beginning with a three-game set against the Twins. They'll see the A's after, and with a tougher schedule against the likes of the Dodgers and Padres approaching, Arizona needs to take advantage of their last two "easy" opponents and stack as many wins at home as possible.

Not that the Twins are exactly "easy." They have been streaky in 2024, with a few holes in the roster, but they've still been able to win at a somewhat consistent pace. They sit in second place in the AL Central at 43-35, with a thin handle on the second AL Wild Card spot.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, June 25th, RHP Brandon Pfaadt vs RHP Joe Ryan

It hasn't been the most squeaky-clean season for Brandon Pfaadt, but he's still been one of the D-backs' rotation's most steady contributors. He sports an ever-decreasing 4.37 ERA, with a 3.66 FIP and 1.18 WHIP that suggest he's been better than some of his unlucky runs.

He's pitched through the sixth inning or later in 11 of his 15 starts and leads the D-backs in innings pitched by a wide margin while generating plenty of swing-and-miss. His last start saw him pitch a 6 1/3 inning Quality Start, but the three runs allowed were too much for Arizona's weak offense, and he was stuck with the loss.

Joe Ryan has been a stalwart of Minnesota's rotation. He's pitched to a solid 3.13 ERA and an extremely impressive 0.95 WHIP. He's striking out batters at a 26.7% rate, good for a 9.3 K/9. He features a mid-velocity four-seam, with a changeup, with a splitter, sweeper, slider, and occasional sinker. By all means, he'll be a tough challenge for the D-backs.

Wednesday, June 26th, RHP Ryne Nelson vs RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson

It's been another rough year as a starter for Ryne Nelson. He sports a 5-5 record, a 5.18 ERA, and a 1.51 WHIP, giving way to opponents hitting him at a .300 clip. He's struck out only 43 batters throughout 64 1/3 innings. That said, he's coming off two excellent performances, going six innings of one-run ball against the White Sox with eight punchouts, and seven innings of three-hit ball, allowing just two solo shots and earning the win against the Nationals.

The D-backs will continue to need length and a little more consistency out of Nelson as they await the return of their top starters.

Simeon Woods-Richardson is pitching his first legit season of MLB action, with only one start apiece in 2022 and 2023. He's been good for the Twins in 12 starts this year, pitching to a 3.26 ERA, but hasn't gone deep into games, frequently going five or fewer innings.

He features a lower-90s fastball, slider, changeup, and curve. He doesn't tend to strike batters out at a high rate but doesn't depend on ground balls either. He has an 11th-percentile barrel rate and below-average exit velocity against him. The D-backs will have an opportunity to make plenty of contact, but controlling their swings and finding empty grass will be crucial.

Thursday, June 27th, LHP Jordan Montgomery vs TBD

Jordan Montgomery, to put it bluntly, hasn't lived up to his payday yet. That said, he's shown notable improvement in each of his last three starts. While he's certainly still had a problem limiting baserunners, that aspect of his game has never been the league's best, even in better years.

He's allowed three or fewer runs in three straight games, most recently going six strong innings against the dangerous Phillies. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five, as his stuff looked better than it had and he was able to generate some whiffs. His ERA is still rough, but it's lowered to 5.71, with a 4.45 FIP behind it.

Right-hander Chris Paddack was originally slated to take this start, but was placed on the IL with shoulder fatigue. Paddack had Tommy John surgery in 2022, and only pitched 18 1/3 innings in 2023, where he struggled to a 5.29 ERA.

The Twins have yet to announce a starter to take Paddack's place, although they did recall right-hander Ronny Henriquez from Triple-A in a corresponding move. Henriquez has made just one relief appearance in the majors this year, throwing two scoreless innings.

Other options include right-handers Caleb Boushy and Randy Dobnak, although, due to the off day, they would also be able to pivot to right-hander Bailey Ober on full rest. Ober most recently pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs and striking out 10 on a mere 89 pitches.

Be sure to look out for

Closing Note:

D-backs closer Paul Sewald has been excellent in 2024 since returning from injury, pitching to a 0.66 ERA over 15 appearances and is 9-for-9 in saves.

However, fans might remember Sewald's first save opportunity with the D-backs. Against these same Twins, Sewald gave up two home runs without recording an out, as Minnesota walked it off in the midst of Arizona's midseason slump.

Sewald has struggled in his last four outings vs the Twins, allowing five hits, five runs (four earned), and only three strikeouts (all three of which came in a non-save situation) over 2.1+ innings.

While Sewald hasn't given Arizona any reason to doubt him in 2024, a late, tight lead might be something to monitor in this series.

Published |Modified
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