Preview: Game #65, Diamondbacks @ Dodgers

USA TODAY Sports

After last night's thrilling comeback, can the Diamondbacks also beat Greinke when they face the Dodgers in the second game of their three game series? We'll find out in Los Angeles tonight.

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Ian Kennedy
RHP, 3-4, 5.72
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Zack Greinke
RHP, 3-1, 3.89

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. Gerardo Parra, RF
  2. Willie Bloomquist, 2B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Miguel Montero, C
  5. Cody Ross, RF
  6. Jason Kubel, LF
  7. Martin Prado, 3B
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Wade Miley, P

The blown save last night for the Dodgers' was their 13th of this season. I mention this, because it means that they have now overtaken the Diamondbacks' in this department: we're on 12, one behind the Dodgers and Cubs. That's quite a turnaround, considering that, through Game #28 on May 1st, we already had 10, far and away the most in the majors - at that point in the schedule, most teams had three or fewer blown saves. Since then, however, the bullpen has got it done. Certainly not without drama, as we saw last night in heaping abundance. But two blown saves in the past 35 games is pretty good, considering we lost our closer and, now, also our top left-handed reliever.

Though what's curious is how blown saves don't seem to have any direct relation to bullpen ERA, which would suggest it's not how many runs you allow, so much as when. In April, when we had nine blown saves, our relievers' ERA was a sparkling 2.67. In May, we have only two, but the ERA was over a run higher, at 3.82. So far in June, we have one blown save, with a 2.21 ERA which is the best in the league to date. It's that which has kept our pitching afloat, because our starters ERA is, unsurprisingly, dead last this month. It's not even close: at this moment, our rotation could throw 22 consecutive zeroes up there, and we'd still be #15 of 15.

At the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, we can do without maintaining the current level, and need Kennedy to get of the rut which saw him reach a career nadir last time, allowing ten runs on thirteen hits and two walks, in just four innings of work against the Cardinals. His season ERA is up near six, and if things don't improve by the end of the season, there would seem to be a serious chance that Kennedy - who'll be eligible for his second-year of arbitration, and so likely cost $6 million or more - could pitch himself into being a non-tender candidate. Admittedly, the last start was responsible for almost an entire run on his ERA, but we need much better.

Some more switching around tonight, with the left-handed heavy line-up getting sent out there. That means Gregorius and Kubel come back, with Cliff Pennington and last night's goat, A.J. Pollock, getting dropped. The former is kinda weird, because Pennington started last night against Kershaw, a left-hander, despite a career line against LHP of .227/.276/.300, a .576 OPS. That's more than 120 points lower than against right-handers like Greinke - against whom he sits. It could be the match-up, with Pennington 0-for-9 lifetime against Greinke. Except that Bloomquist is 1-for-9, and thanks to some walks, Pennington actually has the better OPS.

Elsewhere, we'll be keeping eyes on the Giants and Rockies. The former are playing the Pirates in Pittsburgh, for whom top prospect Gerrit Cole is making his debut. That one is currently in the third, with the Pirates 2-0 up - both runs having been driven in by Cole, in his first MLB at-bat! Meanwhile, Coors Field will be visited by the Nationals, with first pitch there scheduled to get under way at 5:40 pm Arizona time. BattleMoses will be on the recap this evening, and I'm hopeful he'll get to tell us about a series victory, with a shot at a sweep tomorrow. However, a lot will depend on how IPK rebounds from that epic meltdown.

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