Preview: Game #59, Diamondbacks @ Cardinals.

Dilip Vishwanat

After last night's marathon, in which the good guys prevailed over the gum-spitting forces of darkness, the preview today will consist of 45 minutes whimpering from the respective bullpens.

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Wade Miley
LHP, 3-5, 5.01

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Joe Kelly
RHP, 0-2, 6.75

Diamondbacks Line-up

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

Both teams will be praying that their starters can go deep into today's contest, and ironically, the fact it went 14 innings could actually end up working to our advantage. Because, due to the double-header the Cardinals enjoyed against the Giants over the weekend, this evening sees them starting long reliever Joe Kelly. While his last start was five days ago, that took all of eight pitches. He has one outing this season which lasted even 30 pitches, and that was still only three innings. If ever there was a case of taking a few pitches to get the opposing starter out of the game early, this would be it.

Both sides are resting their starting catchers today, though in the case of the Cardinals, Molina won't be available off the bench either. He has dropped his appeal against the one-game suspension recently imposed on him by MLB for bumping an umpire: the fact that it just happens to coincide with the day after a 14-inning marathon is, I'm sure purely coincidental. The "appeal process" is pretty much a mockery in cases like this, since it's clearly being used simply so that the offender can pick and choose the games for which he is suspended, rather than being done out of any genuine sense of injustice.

To bolster their bullpen today, the Cardinals dumped Marte, whose wildness in the 14th was largely responsible for the loss, and recalled Maikel Cleto (whose name I inevitably misread as "Clefo"!). Though Viva El Birdos doesn't seem to impressed, one commenter stating, "No control fireballer who we don't mind shuttling, for no control hardthrower that we don't mind shuttling." He certainly would be rested, but even with the change, here's how the two bullpens stack up, with the number of pitches thrown last night alongside them.

Cardinals # Diamondbacks #
Seth Maness 28 Brad Ziegler 21
Trevor Rosenthal 25 Matt Reynolds 5
Edward Mujica 21 David Hernandez 22
Keith Butler 16 Tony Sipp 14
Randy Choate 0 Will Harris 8
Maikel Cleto 0 Josh Collmenter 68
Joe Kelly N/A Heath Bell 12

The good news is that Harris is the only one of our current relievers who worked the series opener on Monday, throwing ten pitches - the other two innings were mopped up by Randall Delgado, now back with Reno. The Cards used Rosenthal (13 pitches) and Mujica (14), so one imagines those two and Maness will be largely off the board for them. I'd imagine we would prefer Miley going seven innings, to avoid using too many, and probably not send out Harris three days in a row. But I suspect Collmenter is likely the only one of our relievers entirely out of action today. Definitely be good to seize the advantage this afternoon, and guarantee ourselves at least a series split.

The win would be particularly helpful, as the Giants have already been beaten by the Blue Jays in San Francisco this afternoon (R.A. Dickey one-hitting them into the ninth inning!), so a victory for the D-backs would put us three games ahead of them. The Rockies, currently 2.5 games back, get under way against Cincinnati in a few minutes, so we'll keep an eye on that one too, the rest of the way. But it's most important for Miley to get back on track this afternoon, and give the bullpen a bit of a breather, especially considering the important series against the Giants which starts the day after tomorrow.

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