Washington Nationals 2020 Season Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks found a way to stack their farm system while retooling on the fly in 2019. Now they look to ride their momentum back to the playoffs.

The Rundown:

The Arizona Diamondbacks overachieved considering the amount of turnover the team had coming into the 2019 season. They lost their franchise star Paul Goldschmidt, reliable lefty Patrick Corbin, and starting center fielder A.J Pollock. Add in the team trading All-Star pitcher Zack Grienke right before the trade deadline and no one expected them to come anywhere near 85 wins. Part of the team’s success was linked to unexpected contributions from Ketel Marte (32HRs, 92RBIs) who finished fourth in NL MVP voting and Educardo Escobar (35HRs, 118RBIs). Two switch-hitters who both had over four wins-above-replacement (WAR).

The Diamondbacks missed the playoffs by four games. They mainly were slightly above league average or around league average in several categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage). The team hopes the addition of Starling Marte and Madison Bumgarner can get them over the hump and help them get one of the two wild card spots this year.

Arizona Diamondbacks 2019 record: 85-77

Washington’s record vs. Arizona last season: 3-4

Arizona Diamondbacks added/resigned: Hector Rondon, Madison Bumgarner, Starling Marte

Arizona Diamondbacks lost: Matt Andriese, Jarrod Dyson

Nationals to Watch:

Pitching is going to tell the story of the season series. Last, year the winner of every game scored five or more runs and three of the games, the winner scored 10 or more runs. Stephen Strasburg lost both his starts in the seven game series; giving up 15 runs in 9 2/3 innings. Patrick Corbin struggled too giving up five runs in his one start against the Dbacks in August. The starter that pitched the best was Max Scherzer who threw seven innings and struck out 10. While the two runs he gave up were solo runs as he allowed only four base-runners the whole night.  Leads weren’t safe in this series either as the team who scored first was 3-4.  Both teams are pretty even in-terms of talent. So, how quickly pitchers settle in from the beginning of the game will matter. As, six of the seven games someone scored within the first three innings including four of them in the first.

2020 Series Breakdown:

May 5-7 in D.C

May 14-16 @ Diamondbacks

While the Diamondbacks are a sleep in the NL, the Nationals are just a deeper team.

Prediction: Nats win season series 4-2.

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