Preview: Game #56, Diamondbacks @ Cubs

Paul Goldschmidt's first regulat-season grand-slam. Nice. - USA TODAY Sports

Well, that worked out pretty well in the end, didn't it?

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Patrick Corbin
LHP, 8-0, 1.71

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Edwin Jackson
RHP, 1-7, 6.11

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. Gerardo Parra, CF
  2. Didi Gregorius, SS
  3. Martin Prado, 3B
  4. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, LF
  6. Cody Ross, RF
  7. Wil Nieves, C
  8. Cliff Pennington, 2B
  9. Patrick Corbin, P

We'll see what kind of carry-over we have today, from the last three innings yesterday, which were rather kind to the Diamondbacks. We scored 11 runs on ten hits and six walks, and that trio of frames single-handedly added almost half a run (3.80 to 4.29) to the Cubs' bullpen ERA this year. Quite a turnaround from the early going: up until then, we were in line for defeat, despite allowing Ian Kennedy allowing only two hits through the first six innings. A two-hit loss would have happened only once before in Diamondbacks history, back in June 2002, when the Dodgers beat us, 2-0. And, no: it wasn't a Randy Johnson start, it was actually Brian Anderson.

That sets up a deciding game this afternoon, and looking at the pitching match-up, Arizona fans have a right to feel confident. We are 10-0 in games Corbin has started this year; the Cubs are 2-8 when Jackson takes the mound. Of course, we'll always have a soft spot for Jackson, who threw the most unlikely no-hitter in franchise history when he was with the Diamondbacks, but that's all in the past. The results this year haven't been pretty, though truth be told, he isn't nearly as bad a pitcher as that ERA and record would suggest. His FIP and xFIP have him around 3.70, and he's striking out close to a batter per inning. Remember this when he takes a shutout into the seventh...

Rather different look to the line-up this afternoon, with Prado going back into the third spot, his sixth start there this season, but he had only one in all of May. I think it's forgivable, after he hit .313 for the month of May, though there are many who would say Goldschmidt is still the best hitter, overall, in the line-up and so should occupy the #3 hole. On the other hand, who better than Goldzilla to bat clean-up? Ross, Nieves and Pennington replace A.J. Pollock, Miguel Montero and Willie Bloomquist respectively, even though the discarded trio went 6-for-14 with three walks yesterday. #Gibbyball!

All told, yesterday could hardly have gone any better for the Diamondbacks. We won, while our nearest rivals were swept in a double-header, so we expanded our lead over them (and the Rockies now) by a game and a half, so it sits at 2.5 games going into this afternoon. The Rockies moved into a tie, courtesy of a walk-off win over the Dodgers, who still concern me, despite their awful start, and will continue to do so, until someone decapitates them, stuffs the mouth with garlic and buries the corpse, face-down, at a crossroads. The last thing I want to see in a September rear-view mirror is a charging $240 million behemoth.

No guest recappers offered to do this one, so I guess I'll cover it. Corbin starts this year have always been a pleasure, rather than a chore, so can't say I mind that too much....

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