I doubt that rookie LHP Anthony Banda is a household name at this point in his career but he has certainly shown flashes of the kind of stuff that can get him there. His fastball sets up that devastating, looping curveball and it’s a thing of beauty when they’re working in sync. To say I love this kid may be a touch bombastic, but only just a little.
In just 2 2/3 innings, Banda has allowed seven of eight total runs he’s given up this season. In the other 13 innings he’s pitched he’s allowed one run, six hits, two walks and has stuck out 15 batters. So, yeah, he’s really good. Now, if he can put together a complete game without giving in to his youthful inexperience — which I’ll readily admit is asking a lot, particularly against this Astros team — we may all soon be in love with him.
The Astros ride baseball’s top offensive unit into tonight’s game. Of course, they did that last night too but Zack Greinke was there to meet them and run them out of town. Tonight may be different or at least there’s a new sheriff in town. The good news — if there is any — is that the Astros are only batting .280 against left-handed pitchers. So they’re not quite first in baseball, but they’re close. And it’s better than the .290 mark they put up against righties, right?
As you can tell, when looking at the Astros offense it’s hard to find a hole. Although evidently Jose Altuve had one — a hole, that is — in his bat last night because he struck out three times. That’s rare and chances are he’s not very happy about it. So you can expect him not to do that again tonight. And you can expect baseball’s premier offense not to get shut out again.
RHP Brad Peacock is on the hill for the Astros and while he’s no Dallas Keuchel — which is who Peacock was called up to fill in for back in May — he certainly has been solid this year. In just over 67 innings pitched he has a 7-1 record and has stuck out 86 batters while walking only 33. He sets up with his fastball and then finishes hitters off with a devastating slider that garners an 18.9% whiff rate.
I’ve got to admit that today’s lineup is another head-scratcher by Torey Lovullo. If there’s a clear weakness for Peacock it’s that he’s allowing lefties to hit 77 points higher than righties while slugging 123 points higher. Those numbers had me thinking we’d see a litter of lefties in today’s order. Nope. Both Daniel Descalso and Gregor Blanco are sitting. Perhaps it’s rest Lovullo is seeking but it’s sure odd to see it right now.
At the top of the order for the first time all year is Ketel Marte, he’ll most certainly be hitting from the left side, right? Maybe not considering that Marte’s OBP against righties (.342) is substantially lower than his OBP against lefties (.419). A.J. Pollock, Jake Lamb, Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez follow Marte in the order.
Chris Iannetta is catching today and batting sixth, followed by slumping righty Brandon Drury, who’s batting seventh while hitting .214 in the second half of the season. Chris Herrmann, who has two hits in his last 31 at-bats, is playing left field and batting eighth.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 15, 2017