Preview: Game #72, Diamondbacks vs. Marlins

Norm Hall

Rubber game of the Marlins series, and the Diamondbacks appear to have some momentum after last night's walk-off homer by Paul Goldschmidt. Or do they?

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Jose Fernandez
RHP, 4-3, 3.11
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Trevor Cahill
RHP, 3-8, 3.96

Diamondbacks Line-up

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

Kinda pleasing to see how, last night, the Marlins didn't learn from our mistakes, in what was almost a mirror-image of the first game in the series. The team which would eventually lose jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but were reeled back in by a two-run homer, and the game was eventually won in the ninth, on a home-run from "the guy you don't let beat you". Oh, and both times, the decisive home-run came off a former closer for the other team. In other words, I'm pretty sure the Marlins fans this morning are as irritated as we were at this point yesterday. If they have any irritation left, that is, following a team currently on pace to go 51-111. Hey, we know what that's like.

On the other hand, hard to say if this will have any carry-over to this afternoon's game at Chase. This team seems pretty resilient, mentally, but my instinct is that momentum - both in-game and between games - is probably somewhat over-rated, created by the brain's desire to see patterns in the random distribution of runs and wins. I seem to remember plenty of times when the team has enjoyed a walk-off victory, and come out the next day and played flat, without any signs of a psychological boost from the victory. It's not dissimilar to the argument Brandon McCarthy and a certain ESPN pundit got into on Twitter last month

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What? Certain pundit being contrarian for the sake of it? I am shocked...shocked by this development! There's a full recap of the discussion over on Athletics Nation, with McCarthy's main point being that we don't fully understand the psychological impact, and to write it off simply because it can't be measured is wrong. Obviously, hot streaks, both for players and teams, do exist: but whether they are simply the random variations you'd expect from any discrete outcome like an at-bat or a game, or if there are other factors involved, remains uncertain. For the purposes of today's game, I'm hoping they do, and we enjoy the benefits!

One change from the line-up that started yesterday, Pennington replacing Willie Bloomquist at second-base. With Cahill on the mound, seems to be mostly for defensive purposes, so that we can have our best infield with the glove out there, ready to vacuum up what should be a steady diet of ground-balls. Cahill's has only one W to his name at Chase Field, in eight starts, with the last one here coming all the way back on April 25. But, as with Corbin, there likely won't be many better chances, going up against a line-up most appropriately described as Giancarlo and the Seven Dwarfs. Taking the series is still kinda important.

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