Preview: Game #35, Diamondbacks vs. Phillies

No opportunity wasted to have a pic of the Phanatic... - USA TODAY Sports

After 19 consecutive games against the division, we get to see the NL East for the first time tonight.

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Cole Hamels
LHP, 1-4, 4.34

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Patrick Corbin
LHP, 4-0, 1.80

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. A.J. Pollock, CF
  2. Didi Gregorius, SS
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Cody Ross, LF
  5. Miguel Montero, C
  6. Martin Prado, 3B
  7. Gerardo Parra, RF
  8. Cliff Pennington, 2B
  9. Patrick Corbin, P

What a difference a series makes. The Diamondbacks went in to Los Angeles, on the verge of dropping to .500, and having lost five of their previous six games. They come out the other side, feeling rather good about themselves, occupying one of the NL wild-card spots, and with a chance of ending the night tied for first, if we win and the Braves take down the Giants in San Francisco. [Yay, I get to cheer for Justin Upton unashamedly this evening...]

I have to keep reminding myself, these are our father's Phillies - they're not even our slightly older sibling's Phillies, the ones who won five consecutive NL East titles. They finished last year at .500, and haven't been above that at any point this season. They've kinda been the anti-Diamondbacks, in that 12 of their games have been decided by five or more runs - more than twice as many as your Arizona Onerunbacks. That the Phillies are 4-8 in those, is largely why their Pythag is two games below their actual record.

But they still have legitimate players who scare me. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are reliable as ever, while Lee and Hamels are a solid 1-2 punch. [Quite how Lee won just six times last year, with a 3.16 ERA., I dunno. Only one other pitcher since the dead-ball era has started 30 games with an ERA below 3.75 and won as few times as Lee did] It feels like the kinda of series where we want to get off on the right foot: a win here would go a long way toward taking three of four, which is what I'd like us to do. Corbin has been the best and most consistent of our starters, but Hamels has improved after a wretched first couple of games, with quality starts in his last five, and a 2.31 ERA.

But after last night, it's hard to say this team should be scared of anyone: we just have to remember, "In Goldschmidt we trust." If he and Corbin can maintain their recent standard of play, we'll put this in the bag and overtake the Rockies by bedtime.

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