Preview: Game #81, Diamondbacks @ Braves

Scott Cunningham

This game marks the half-way point in the 2013 campaign. But is it the half-full way or the half-empty way?

ari_medium

Trevor Cahill
RHP, 3-9, 4.29
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Paul Maholm
LHP, 3-9, 4.29

Diamondbacks Line-up

Yeah, I got nothing in terms of players at this point: the usual East coast day-game meaning I will be giving it Big Z's, and relying on the "scheduled post" feature to make sure the preview goes up in a timely fashion. I'll post it in the GDT instead. What I do know, is that the D-backs will be trying to avoid the sweep in Atlanta, after a horrible meltdown in the eighth inning turned a lead into a laugher for the Braves. Cahill will be the 22nd D-backs starter to try and win a game since the last one, and victory today would also even Arizona's record for the month at 13-13. S'funny, it feels a lot worse than that.

That would also give us our fourth consecutive month at or above .500 [well, lumping the three games played last October into September, for a 15-14 record. That's not a bad way to look at things overall, rather than focusing on the micro level at individual games, or even series. if you compared it to, say, a 16-game NFL schedule, an entire three-game baseball series is a smaller percentage of the season than three minutes into the second quarter of a single NFL game. Winning months is the key to playoff baseball: we had five of those the last time we went to the post-season in 2011, and in 2007 as well.

It's appropriate that we're at the half-way point in the year, because you can look at the team situation right now as either half-full or half-empty, and the outlook is distinctly different. Right now, Arizona is on pace for 85 wins, which would be less than a handful of games better than last year. It's a record which would look a damn sight worse if were weren't 9-2 in extra-inning games, 18-11 in one-run games, or 15-1 when Patrick Corbin takes the mound. The offense generally consists of Paul Goldschmidt, followed by far too many at-bats wondering when Goldschmidt is next due up.

On the other hand... First place. Every day since May 17, and won't be leaving it today either. That's certainly an improvement over last season, where we reached the half-way point six games back. It'd be one thing if we were playing our socks off and in first place, but to me, it's more comforting to be in first with a team which is obviously not doing so. If we can sort out some of those issues the rest of the way, there's absolutely no reason we shouldn't continue to contend, though it does look increasingly like the only playoff route will be to win it [we are 3.5 behind the second wild-card Cardinals right now]. Gonna be an interesting second-half.

We're getting a lurker out of the woodwork for the guest recap on this one, courtesy of Joshua F, so look forward to seeing that. Be nice to reach the 50% mark with a victory.

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