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Zac Gallen, Anthony DeSclafani Pitching Duel on Tap

Diamondbacks send their ace to the mound for game three of the four game series

The Diamondbacks host the Giants for game three of a four game series tonight at Chase Field. Game time is 5:10 P.M.


The Diamondbacks broke a three game losing streak last night, taking down the Giants 7-5 behind the offense of Dominic Fletcher and some good bullpen pitching. They are now 21-18,  three games back of the Dodgers in the NL West but tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates 1.5 games up for the first wild card spot. The Giants lag at 17-21, in fourth place in the NL West, and 13th in the National League overall. 

Pitching Matchup

Anthony DeSclafani and Zac Gallen Pitching Stats

aWAR is the average of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs WAR

After 6 solid but unspectacular seasons with the Reds, Anthony DeSclafani had a breakout season with the Giants two years ago going 13-7 with a 3.17 ERA in 31 starts. But 2022 was an injury marred season (ankle)  in which he made just five starts with a 6.63 ERA.  But he's back and effective again this year, averaging well over six innings per outing while putting up a 2.80 ERA. 

He hit a bump in the road last time out however, giving up 10 hits and five runs in seven innings against the Nationals, taking the loss.  For DeSclafani it's all about the slider. It's by far his best pitch and he uses it more than any other, (46%). According to statcast it has a low spin and poor movement profile, but it's effective nonetheless. He has great command of the pitch, as well as his 93 MPH sinker. He has a minucule walk rate of 2.3% this year, (4 walks in 45 innings). He doesn't strike out a lot of batters butt gets ground balls, but not too many double plays.

Zac Gallen's Cy Young caliber season marches on. Despite having a 28 inning scoreless streak snapped earlier this month, he went out in his last start without his best breaking stuff and dominated with his fastball, locating it at will.  He gave up just one run in seven innings while striking out seven against the Marlins. He didn't run away from his breaking stuff, but relied on the fastball more than usual. He also relied on his defense and praised his defenders a great deal after last start. 

It's interesting to note the widening gap in how Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, view Gallen. The two sites produce the most commonly used "WAR" metrics, or Wins Above Replacement. Baseball Reference starts with Runs against per nine innings, and then adjusts for defense, strength of lineups faced, and ballparks, measuring against what a league  average pitcher would give up in those set of circumstances. 

Because the Diamondbacks defense is so good, it actually hurts Gallen's ranking. Baseball reference believes that defense is helping Gallen to the tune of 0.43 runs per game.  So his WAR total in that metric is just 1.4.  Meanwhile, over at Fangraphs, which uses FIP based WAR, or Fielding Independent Pitching, Gallen leads all of MLB with 2.4 FIP Based WAR.  FIP only takes into account walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed.  Balls put in play against a pitcher are not part of the calculation, under the theory pitchers have very little control over those.  Gallen has 64 strikeouts and just 6 walks and two homers allowed in 49.2 innings, leading to his 1.66 FIP.


With a right-hander on the mound, Alek Thomas is back in the starting lineup today. His platoon splits couldn't be any more extreme or alarming. Against right-hand pitchers he's batting a more than respectable .274 with a .799 OPS. But against left hand pitchers he's just 1-33, .090, with 1 walk and 14 strikeouts. He's become unplayable against left-hand pitching and will likely need to make some mechanical adjustments to have a chance to overcome this gaping hole in his game. 

The fact that both Corbin Carroll and Dominic Fletcher can both play centerfield does not bode well for Thomas' chances to stay on the MLB roster when the team finally decides to go to 8 relievers and needs to option a position player.  But Reno may be the best place for him to work on the needed mechanical adjustments to his swing. Thomas is still just 23 years old and still has a good future ahead of him. The question is whether he will be a fourth outfielder, platoon player, or whether he become a full time starter. 

The Diamondbacks might need to rely heavily on their younger players that have not yet faced DeSclafani, as the track record of the veteran players against this pitcher is not great, although Josh Rojas is 3-9 with two doubles.  Ketel Marte's homer against him came back in 2019

Michael Conforto is 3-7, with a double and a homer against Gallen. Thairo Estrada is 5-10 with a double. The rest of the Giants hitters have a poor track record against the D-backs ace.  

Health Updates

The team hasn't decided yet which day Zach Davies will throw, but it will either be a simulated game on Sunday or he'll face live competition at Extended Spring Training on Monday. Lovullo said Davies is progressing well and is according to Carson Kelly the stuff looks good.

Speaking of Kelly, he's picked up a bat starting to take some light swings and doing some underhanded flip drills in the batting cage. He has not appeared in a game yet this season due to a fractured right forearm suffered in a Spring Training game.

Lovullo revealed that Kyle Lewis had a viral infection. He had five at-bats the day before yesterday and will get more today. Lewis has been on the injured list since April 10th with an illness.

Mark Melancon and Cole Sulser are doing pylometric exercises in the training room. Both are on the injured list with shoulder injuries.