A lot of things I'd like to cover today, so let's get this underway.
Randy Johnson will make his first start this season, after starting the year on the Disabled List, and making several rehab starts in spring training and in the minor leagues. He'll be facing another old lefty, David Wells. There are a few nagging things about this though. Brandon Webb was scheduled to start today, after the day off yesterday, but was pushed back another day for RJ. It seems like the most logical choice would be to start Webb today, and RJ tommorow. The questionable aspect of this move is that Webb tends to show poor control after long periods of rest.
Another questionable move that goes along with the return of RJ is that Robby Hammock will get the start at catcher. At first glance, the move makes sense, as Hammock has a history of catching Johnson, and in fact, caught Johnson's perfect game in 2004(argueable the highlight of the 2004 season). This shouldn't be that big of a deal, unless Hammock becomes Johnson's regular catcher. In that case, he'd be taking valuable playing time from Chris Snyder and Miguel Montero. Overall, it's not that big of a deal.
Ok, so the next thing i'd like to discuss is a topic that has been brought up by some of the regulars at the DiamondbacksBullpen message board. Chad Tracy can't hit lefties.
OPS vs. lefties
2007: .134 (15 PA)
Career .612 (428 PA)"
Tracy hits righties just fine, but he's definately a liability offensively against left handers. after 4 years in the big leagues, I think it's safe to say that Tracy's big 2005 year(.308/359/.553 with 34 doubles, 4 triples, and 27 hrs) was a fluke.
So, I think at this point, it's apparent that Chad Tracy can't hit lefties. we have essentially five guys who can play third base, and are (relatively) close to major league ready. Callaspo, Barden, Mark Reynolds, and Jamie D'antona.
Out of all these guys, the only one who has a long track record of hitting LHP better than RHP is D'antona. 643/.667/.857 this year against LHP(.419/536/.721 vs RHP), and .356/.432/.595 prior to this year against LHP(.257/.317/.381 vs RHP). He's in Triple A this year, and is working on playing as catcher. I assume, in a pinch, he could play first base without too much trouble. Overall he's hitting .474/563/754
Mark Reynolds, before this year hit .275/.356/.538 against lefties, but this year(small sample size beware) is hitting 333/.391/524 against lefties, better than the .267/.298/533 line he's putting up against RHP. Reynolds has some serious power, and he's pretty damned versatile defensively, having played 3b, SS, 2b and left field. He's playing AA right now, but I think that's mostly so he'll have a chance to play every day at 3b.
overall he's hitting .288/.329/530 this year.
Last year, Callaspo hit .292/.357/.358. Not the best, but still better than Tracy. The real advantage with Callaspo over the other guys at this point is of course, he's already on the roster, and second, I'd imagine he's better defensively, and doesn't strike out nearly as much.
Barden can barely hit lefties. The sample size is too small for me to list his stats against lefties this year(1 hit in 6 Abs with a run scored), but prior to this year, he hit .220/.286/.312 against lefties. Definately not the answer there.
And just for arguments sake, Robby Hammock: 0.280/.331/.551 vs lefties last year. A decent platoon parner at the moment, since he's already on the roster.
So, in summary, in the short term, Callaspo and/or Hammock should be platooning with Tracy against left handers. In the long term, Jamie D'antona seems to be the best bet if Tracy doesn't improve at all against left handers.