Preview: Game #117, Diamondbacks vs. Orioles

Oh, my mistake - that's an OREO...

If it seems like a while since we've played Baltimore, that's because it is: more than six years, to be exact, going back to June 2007. So, any excuse to use the picture above, from the 2011 All-Star festivities, will be welcomed....

bal_medium

Scott Feldman
RHP, 2-3, 5.70
ari_medium

Wade Miley
LHP, 9-8, 3.56

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. A.J. Pollock CF
  2. Adam Eaton, LF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Aaron Hill, 2B
  5. Martin Prado, 3B
  6. Gerardo Parra, RF
  7. Wil Nieves, C
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Wade Miley, P

The AL East comes to town, in the shape of the Orioles, who are currently embroiled in a brawl for a post-season spot. They're 4.5 back of the Red Sox, and 1.5 behind the slumping Rays for the second wild-card spot, so they'll not be short of motivation for tonight's game. But, presuming you've read ZM's preview, you already know all this, so we'll skip repeating that. The Orioles aren't a team which surface in my personal consciousness a great deal: we rarely play them (this'll be the fifth series in 16 seasons between the franchises), and have only carried out three trades with Baltimore in Arizona history.

It took more than a decade for the first, in December 2010, when we sent Mark Reynolds to them, for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio. Much pilloried, it could be the poster-child for angry, kneejerk reactions: I could fill the rest of the thread with those (and believe me, I'm tempted!), but one need only look at the first comment on our story to get the gist. Now, we have to call it a win for us. Reynolds produced one bWAR for them over two years, while costing $12.8 million; while Hernandez has, even after a disastrous 2013 that has basically pissed away his value from last year, still been worth almost the same, while costing $10 million less. Mickolio, at least, gave us this.

The second came in April 2012, when we got Josh Bell from Baltimore in exchange for a player to be named later. That turned out to be Michael Belfiore, a former 1st-round pick in 2009, who is now in the bullpen for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate - he has been called up twice to Baltimore, but has yet to make his major-league debut, being sent back without appearing both times. Bell homered in his second game for us, but the result there was like a trailer for his time with the D-backs. We led the Dodgers 6-1, before losing 8-7, and Bell hit .173 before being de-rostered at the end of June. He was released by the Yankees last month, after a month in Triple-A for them.

The final deal was a post-waiver one last season, where we gave Joe Saunders to Baltimore, in exchange for Matt Lindstrom and cash. One suspects the latter was more important to Arizona, as Lindstrom was allowed to walk after 10 appearances, and has put up a solid 3.60 ERA in 57 appearances for the White Sox, at a cost of $2.3 million. He'd have been cheaper and more effective than, say, Heath Bell. Saunders was decent for Baltimore down the stretch, giving them a 3.63 ERA in seven starts during their post-season push, then winning the wild-card play-in game against the Rangers.

I'm kinda impressed with what Baltimore has done. People didn't expect them to be in the thick of things this season, pointing to their insane 29-9 record in one-run games, and 16-2 in extra innings, as the causes for their success last year. That has duly regressed this time round, to some extent (they're 14-18 in one-run contests), but the slack has been picked up, and to be blunt, they've probably got more to play for right now than the D-backs. Should make for an interesting series. No question we've got our best defensive outfield playing for us tonight, at the very least...

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