Starting pitchers are perhaps the biggest factor in whether a team succeeds in the postseason. For…
Diamondbacks Playoff Scouting Report
Youth, athleticism and exuberance are on the side of the Diamondbacks. They have it on the mound and in the field, and we'll have to see if they're able to have it work in their favor. On the offensive side it helps to have a truly gifted player in Justin Upton, as raw talent tends to win out in October.
As good as the DBacks' pitching staff has been all year, there has to be at least a little concern over their inexperience. They have an ace in Ian Kennedy who has never been in a situation even resembling this. The same can be said for most of their staff, including Daniel Hudson. They are not short on talent, but we've seen time and time again how experience comes into play on the mound in the postseason.
Matchup To Watch
The Brewers against the Diamondbacks is the type of series that could be decided in the first couple games. By that I mean the tone will be set quickly based on how the Brewers big bats handle the talented but youthful top of the Diamondbacks' rotation. Can Ian Kennedy shut down potent hitters like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in a playoff setting?
The answer is that they are likely to at least have their hands full. What Kennedy does very well is prey on hitters' aggression. Although Braun and Fielder aren't going to chase too many pitches, they would much rather see a lot of fastballs. Kennedy isn't the type of pitcher that will give in to them too often.
Kennedy is going to be thrust into a very tough situation. He has ace type numbers and he'll fill that role for Arizona, but it's a spot he's never filled in a playoff atmosphere. But, he's not the type of pitcher we should expect to fold under the bright lights. He has the deep arsenal and command of his secondary pitches to succeed even when he doesn't have one of his pitches on any particular night and that bodes well for his playoff chances. He'll have his work cut out for him against the potent Milwaukee lineup, but his off-speed attack may be a perfect match for their fastball hitting club.
Arizona has some bats they can rely on but Upton is the guy who makes this lineup go. And, just as his brother will be key for the Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona needs a big performance from their slugging outfielder. His power plays to all fields and he makes for a very difficult assignment in terms of what location to pitch him in.
Hudson has legitimate plus stuff and that should bode well for him as he tries to overcome some playoff jitters. His fastball sits around 93-94 mph and he can mix in a plus slider and changeup with good command. Hudson also has a mature mentality despite being just 24-years-old and may not be flustered one bit by the big stage.
Check out all the latest postseason analysis and prospect scouting reports on ScoutingBaseball.com and for more on the Arizona Diamondbacks check out FutureBacks.com
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