Diamondbacks Q&A With Snakes On Jefferson’s Tyler Emerick | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

With the NLDS impending, we figured it would be good to get a few opinions from somebody who didn’t think all Brewers all the time. I asked Tyler Emerick, the proprietor of Snakes of Jefferson who also covered the Brewers during spring training this season, some questions on the upcoming series.

I also answered some questions with Tyler, which you can see here.

JM: On May 4th, the Brewers and Diamondbacks were 13-17 and 13-16 respectively. Since then, they (again, respectively) hold the first and third best records not only in the NL but in baseball, with the Brewers going 83-49 and the Diamondbacks going 81-52. The date isn’t an arbitrary one – that’s the date Zack Greinke debuted for Milwaukee. Was there any similar turn for the Diamondbacks around that date, whether it was a player returning or heating up, or did everything just click?

TE:A couple things come to mind. First off, Joe Saunders had an awful, I mean awful, April. He was 0-3 with a 5.93 ERA, giving up 35 hits in 27.1 innings. Since, he’s got an ERA of 3.22. While he may not be the guy Arizona hoped for when they got him in the Dan Haren deal, having at least a veteran third starter really helped the team a lot. The other major blimp during the stretch was Josh Collmenter making the move from the bullpen to the starting rotation. He got his first start May 14 against the Dodgers, throwing six shutout innings and defeating Chad Billingsley 1-0. The spark he provided might have lit the fire under the D-backs for the rest of the year.

JM: How do you think the rotation will set up and should be set up for Arizona? After Ian Kennedy and Dan Hudson, it gets a little hazy. I, for one, would pitch Josh Collmenter in game three and probably go with Kennedy on short rest in game four, and try to avoid using Joe Saunders if at all possible – he’s bad, and the Brewers crush left-handed pitching.

TE:As crazy as it sounds, and as unpopular as it might be, I’d go with Joe Saunders in game three, Ian Kennedy in game four and avoid Josh Collmenter at all costs. I know Collmenter didn’t allow a run to the Brewers in 14 innings but I just can’t seem to trust him. His delivery, in my book, is still the only thing he has going for him. And I believe Milwaukee will spend enough time the next few days figuring it out. I can’t imagine the Brewers not hitting him a third time around. In Collmenter’s first two outings against San Diego, he didn’t allow a run either. In his next two starts against the Padres, he gave up nine earned runs on 15 hits in 11 innings. The second and third times San Francisco saw Collmenter, the Giants scored seven runs off him in 12 innings. The second and third times Los Angeles saw Collmenter, the Dodgers scored 11 runs off him in six innings. See the trend? I feel like that would continue if the Brewers got to face Collmenter again in game three. Saunders at least has some postseason experience. But yes, you’re right, it’s very murky for Arizona after game two.

JM: Paul Goldschmidt has filled what was initially a gaping hole at first base. He’s no Prince Fielder yet, (although I think he has a very bright future) but his .250/.333/.474 line was a far sight better than what Juan Miranda or Xavier Nady were going to give the team. Goldschmidt really struggled down the stretch, though, striking out seven times in 23 AB and going .174/.296/.304 in his last seven games. Regression to the mean, or do you expect a bounceback in the playoffs?

TE: The thing I love about Goldschmidt is his timing. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth August 11 and Arizona trailing Houston by two runs, Goldschmidt blasted a game-tying homer into the stands. The D-backs later won the game and went on to win their next four. Then less than a week ago, Goldschmidt drove in two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Giants with two outs to seal the division title for Arizona. He has eight homers since being called up to the big leagues and three of them came off of Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee. I fully expect Goldschmidt to play well this postseason when it counts the most.

JM: Continuing with the first base theme, do you think Brandon Allen got a fair shake in Arizona? He’s one of my favorite players, so I’m a bit biased, but he gave the Dbacks an .834 OPS before he was traded.

TE:I really think the D-backs trading Allen wasn’t as much about him as it was about their needs and their depth in the minors. Obviously the club was looking for a little more production than a .172 average from its first baseman but I believe the front office stilled liked Allen. Arizona just knew it had Goldschmidt waiting in the minors and it needed another bullpen arm. So the D-backs got Brad Ziegler and brought up Goldschmidt a few hours later.

JM: In the bullpen, the Diamondbacks solidified a nightmare situation from 2010 by adding David Hernandez and J.J. Putz. Beyond those two, there aren’t many well known names, but they’ve performed quite well as a unit, ranking 15th in ERA and 12th in FIP despite the rough environment at Chase Field. What third or fourth arms out of the pen should the Brewers fear most?

TE:Ziegler and Bryan Shaw have really become the main bridge guys in the D-backs bullpen as of late. Since arriving from Oakland, Ziegler has a WHIP hovering just above one at 1.02. He’ll have the job of shutting down Ryan Braun, Cory Hart and the rest of the Milwaukee rightees in special scenarios. Shaw is way under the radar, but since August 31, he’s given up just one run and has only walked one batter. In September, none of Shaw’s inherited runners scored. Joe Paterson is Arizona’s lefty specialist in the bullpen. You’ll see a Paterson vs. Prince Fielder matchup a couple times during the series at least. Fielder was 1-for-4 with three strikeouts against Paterson during the regular season.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Ed says: September 30, 2011

    Understanding that you are the Brewers beat writer, I get it that you Jack do not follow the Diamondbacks. That being said, I have been reading your column for awhile now, your failure to learn about your teams opponent and to take them lightly is amazing. Underestimation and conceit (or arrogance perhaps) is very dangerous. There are many instances that come to mind: the 1988 Dodgers/A’s World Series, 1990 Reds/A’s World Series, 2001 D-Backs/Yankees World Series, 2007 NLDS D-Backs/Cubs and last year’s 2010 Giants/Phillies NLCS come to the immediate forefront. All of the winners were VERY heavy underdogs going in, except for their belief in themselves and their teammates. Kirk Gibson a very famous member of that 1988 Dodger team, who hit 1 miraculous homer in his only at-bat in that entire series, has this D-Backs team believing that the games are played for a reason because anything can and has happened. He remembers how no one picked his Dodger teammates to be nothing but sacrificial lambs to the Big, Bad A’s and relishes the opportunity to surprise the “experts.” We’ll see it on the field and may the best team win.

  2. Rob says: October 1, 2011

    Ed – Luckily, the fact that Mr. Moore “fails to learn about (his) teams opponent and take them lightly” has absolutely nothing to do with the game or the Brewers themselves. I can assure you that the team is not taking anyone lightly. The fact a writer doesn’t know much about an opponent has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

  3. Ed says: October 1, 2011

    Rob ~ You are absolutely right, but it is difficult to not hear what everyone is saying about you and your game. Over-confidence and expectation soon follow. It would not surprise me in the least if AZ takes game 1 and stuns both the crowd and the Brewers. All the talk is how the Diamondbacks can’t match-up with the Brewers. The fact of the matter is, the D-Backs have a better well-rounded TEAM. They don’t rely on the HR like the Brewers but they all have pop to hit it. They are the most dangerous in the late innings so if it’s close through the middle, watch out! They had the most comeback 48 times to win, the most in the NL and maybe the Majors, IDK. The bullpen is still undefeated, leading after the 8th inning, the only one in the NL so coming back on AZ in the late innings is very unlikely. Now, having said all that, the records are all done for the regular season, this is a different animal the post-season.

  4. JK says: October 1, 2011

    Hmm didn’t look to overconfident in Game 1 and your well rounded team failed to stun our crowd or our team. Try again tomorrow

  5. G says: October 1, 2011

    Ed, what is it about this article that makes you say he’s such a bad writer? Is it that he says Joe Saunders sucks?

    Many of your assertions are objectively false or situations in which the teams are indistinguishable from each other.

    HRs per PA
    Brewers: 3.0%
    D-Backs: 2.8%
    Looks pretty similar.

    “Comeback wins” is a garbage statistic. It provides no context for whether the team was down 1-0 in the first inning or 6-2 in the 8th. It also can be construed as a bad thing if you have more “opportunities” to come back and win. If you want to make an argument like this you should try using WP. Yes, the D-Backs are good at coming back when down in WP. For the record, if you threshold at a WP of <10%, the D-Backs lead the league with 10 comeback wins. The Reds, Cubs, Braves and Rays are next. One way to be at the top of this list is to be in a lot of situations where you have an opportunity to come back and win (Cubs).

    The brewers are 84-1 after leading at the end of 8. There is no detectable difference between undefeated and 84-1.

  6. Ed says: October 2, 2011

    Wow! You people are brutal. I never said anything bad about the Brewers, all I was pointing out was being heavy favorites brings with it dangers such as over-confidence. I never said anything negative about your team.

    ~JK and G: the only points I brought up were about Arizona. They play well in the later innings and are the best in the National League at both holding late inning games and coming back in late inning games. How they perform in the early to middle innings is where they are vulnerable, as shown by Milwaukee’s game 1 win. Now if you want to take me to task b/c the Brewers took game one, well they are the home team and have the best home record in the National League, but it is a short series and they still have a game today to play. A Brewers sweep at home is EXPECTED, that’s why it’s called “stealing” one for the road team.

  7. G says: October 3, 2011

    Dude, my point is just that I don’t see the overconfidence and the putting down of another team from the writers on this website. You brought up reasons why the D-Backs are strong and I responded by pointing out the flaws in your argument. I fundamentally disagree with the “comeback wins” being a stat that’s even worth looking at. It doesn’t have context, and looking at the “top” teams on it doesn’t correlate super strongly with winning. I thought was the point I was making, sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    Additionally I was disagreeing with your assertion that “D-Backs have a better well-rounded TEAM. They don’t rely on the HR like the Brewers but they all have pop to hit it.” That is objectively false if you look at the numbers, some of which I posted above.

    Arizona is a good team obviously – they won the division and had the third best record in the NL. They didn’t have the opportunity to play tons of division games against the Astros, Pirates and Cubs either. If you want to make these types of claims, I would appreciate you taking a few minutes to look up the appropriate statistics to clarify your points.

    (I’m a mathematics/science guy so when I see unfounded claims I get a bit testy)

  8. Philboyd says: October 4, 2011

    Ed is a little unhinged.

  9. Ed says: October 6, 2011

    No, not unhinged, just flabbergasted. Games 3 & 4 are testaments to what I was trying to inform the Brewers fans about. Trust me, I understand that hindsight is 20-20 but my point has been borne out, the D-Backs are balanced as a team and have pop throughout the line-up . You wanted stats to back up my claims?

    Let’s back up to the regular season: D-Backs were 4th in HR’s (172) as a team, Milwaukee came in first with 185, but AZ only had one player with 20 or more individually (Upton had 31). In Batting average Milwaukee was 3rd with .261 while AZ was 10th at .250,

    In Fielding Pct. the D-Backs were 5th in the League, while Milwaukee was only 13th. AZ made 90 errors in the field while Milw. had 111 (that was 11th best in the National League of 6023 chances while AZ ended up 4th out of 6024 chances). AZ had 131 Double Plays while Milwaukee had 130.

    In Pitching Milwaukee averaged 3.63 ERA while AZ averaged 3.80, the bullpens for each team was AZ number one in saves with 58 and Milw. 5th with 47. In holding saves, D-Backs were 2nd with only 13 blown saves while the Brewers had 19.

    Have you gotten my point yet? We are both very even in different ways, neither team was statically dominate that the other could play evenly with them. Now does it figure that there will be a game five? I hope so, and everyone enjoys the ballgame if not the outcome.

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