What to watch for in the Diamondbacks’ final series

Sep 26, 2019, 11:55 AM
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker winds up during the first inning of a baseball...
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker winds up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Arizona Diamondbacks enter the final series of the year with a 82-77 record, the third-straight season that they finished above .500 but also the second consecutive year without a postseason appearance.

Still, for a team that lost as much firepower as Arizona has since the end of last year (Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock and Zack Greinke), the D-backs showed resilience in 2019.

With one series left against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field, here are some storylines to watch for:

Pitching probables:

Friday: Eric Lauer vs. Taylor Clarke

Saturday: Garrett Richards vs. Robbie Ray

Sunday: TBD vs. Alex Young

Two rookies, Clarke and Young, starting in the final series seems fitting for a D-backs rotation that has turned over significantly.

Clarke struggled as a starter this year, with an ERA of 6.02 in that role. But he performed well after being moved to the bullpen (3.54 ERA as a reliever), so manager Torey Lovullo is rewarding him with his first start since Aug. 17.

Young performed solidly in the rotation since his call-up in June with a 3.74 ERA and 1.2 WHIP. He set himself up to be a candidate for the rotation going forward.

Taijuan Walker back on the mound?

In April of 2018, Walker suffered a partial tear of his UCL, which required Tommy John surgery to fix. He has not pitched since but may have a shot during the final series.

“Taijuan will throw a bullpen tomorrow,” Lovullo said on Wednesday. “We will see how he feels with the idea of getting him on the mound. It feels like he will get an opportunity to get on the mound again.”

Walker had a strong season in 2017 before the injury (3.49 ERA) and could be a prominent piece in next year’s rotation.

It is unclear in what capacity he will play against San Diego. It depends on how well his bullpen goes. But, according to Lovullo, he is excited for the prospect of pitching this weekend.

Carson Kelly looking to become a D-backs first

No catcher in Arizona history has reached 20 home runs in a season. Miguel Montero became the first to 18 in 2011, and nobody caught up to him until this year.

Carson Kelly tied Montero on Aug. 19 but has hit a cold streak since then. He still has a chance to capture the team record and reach the 20-home run plateau. He just needs one strong series.

Jake Lamb approaching 300 RBIs

Veteran infielder Jake Lamb has 299 career RBIs.

He has three more games to join the 12 players in team history that have reached 300. With Lamb’s injury tendencies and diminished play over the past two seasons, his future with the team could be uncertain. The infielder is entering his final arbitration year.

Penguin Air
Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Chris Devenski works against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth ...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks drop series opener in Colorado to Rockies

The Arizona Diamondbacks only managed five hits in a loss on the road against the Colorado Rockies.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Sergio Alcantara (43) and Geraldo Perdomo, middle, celebrate after scoring ag...
Kellan Olson

Diamondbacks rally to beat Pirates, make up for odd defensive blunder

The Arizona Diamondbacks' seven runs in the seventh inning picked up starter Merrill Kelly after he was positioned for an undeserved loss.
2 days ago
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn warms up in the outfield before a baseball game against the Ne...
Associated Press

‘Field of Dreams’ game Thursday sees Cubs, Reds clash

“Field of Dreams” gets another tribute when the Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs in a throwback ballpark in the cornfields of Iowa.
3 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Daulton Varsho leaps in vain for a triple hit by Pittsburgh Pira...
Kellan Olson

Bizarre double play, replay review costs Diamondbacks in loss to Pirates

The D-backs loaded the bases with nobody out down 6-3 in the ninth inning against the Pirates before one of the strangest plays of the year.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
3 days ago
Tommy Henry #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Pittsburgh Pi...
Kellan Olson

D-backs starting pitching stays hot, Henry’s first W takes down Pirates

Diamondbacks rookie Tommy Henry continued the strong run of form from the team's starting pitching lately in a win over the Pirates.
4 days ago
What to watch for in the Diamondbacks’ final series