Preview: Game #86, Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

"We are absolutely honored to wear this during BP today - just a shame that @MLB won't let us wear them for the game!" - @bradziegler, via Twitter

The team returns to Chase Field tonight, and kicks off a ten-game homestand, beginning with three against the second-place Colorado Rockies. Tyler Skaggs gets the call to come up from Reno, replacing Trevor Cahill.

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Jorge de la Rosa
LHP, 8-4, 3.09
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Tyler Skaggs
LHP, 1-1, 5.40

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. A.J. Pollock, CF
  2. Aaron Hill, 2B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Miguel Montero, C
  5. Cody Ross, RF
  6. Martin Prado 3B
  7. Gerardo Parra, RF
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Tyler Skaggs, P

Couple of roster moves by the Diamondbacks this afternoon, neither of them unexpected. Chaz Roe and Tony Campana were both optioned to Reno; today's starter Skaggs has been called up, along with Charles Brewer, who is here to provide a fresh arm in the bullpen for a bit. It means we will continue to carry an extra reliever [Putz, Bell, Ziegler, Hernandez, Sipp, Harris, Collmenter and Brewer], rather than replacing Willie Bloomquist, who is due to have a CT scan on his hand and told Jack Magruder, "I hope it's not what I think it is." Presumably, he's hoping it's not a surface fracture like the one which kept Aaron Hill out for so long.

The Diamondbacks will be wearing the Prescott fire caps today, through batting practice and the national anthems, but MLB won't currently allow them to be worn during the game. The team has asked for a special dispensation - similar to the one given to the New York teams to wear NYPD headgear after 9/11 - but I've got a feeling that won't be approved. However, the D-backs have pledged another $100,000 in matching funds, for contributions made through dbacks.com/19 - their first $100,000 pledge was matched in only four days of public donations.

Through July 14, the team are also auctioning game-worn and autographed black Arizona tribute jerseys from this weekend (with a #19 memorial patch over the heart), and signed nameplates from the clubhouse. Proceeds from this weekend's 50/50 Raffle will also benefit the families of the tragedy (players' wives will assist selling those tonight). Prior to this game, the D-backs will honor first responders and military with a pregame ceremony on the field, starting at 6 p.m. The on-field ceremonies include a moment of silence and photo montage in memory of the fallen firefighters, followed by Amazing Grace, performed by the Arizona Fire Service Bagpipe and Drum Band.

We'll then get on with the regular business of the weekend, beating the Rockies and expanding our lead at the top of the NL West. At least, I hope so. I realize with a start, that Colorado now owns the best run differential in the division, and if we don't win tonight, they'll become the only team in it to have scored more runs than they have allowed. That would also leave only five teams in the entire National League with a positive tally in this area. That's because St. Louis are really good (+117), but there's no-one as bad. Even the Marlins are only -82, and just two back of the Brewers, having won eight of their last ten. I'm glad we've got Miami out of the way.

So, Didi Gregorius sits out against a RHP, and gets to start against a left-hander? Okay... Well, I guess he's got to learn how to hit them some time! And it's not like Pennington offers any better option as a shortstop. #GibbyBall. Elsewhere in the division, there's an important series also starting between the Dodgers and Giants, while the Padres are already well under way in Washington.

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