Preview: Game #123, Diamondbacks @ Reds

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

If the Diamondbacks don't win this series, it doesn't mean the season is over. But it certainly won't help matters. That task starts tonight in Cincinnati.

ari_medium

Randall Delgado
RHP, 4-3, 3.52
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Bronson Arroyo
RHP, 11-9, 3.35

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Gerardo Parra, RF
  2. Adam Eaton, CF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Aaron Hill, 2B
  5. Martin Prado, 3B
  6. Jason Kubel, LF
  7. Wil Nieves, C
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Randall Delgado, P

Yep: Jason Kubel getting a start. If you're thinking it has been a while since you've seen one of these, you're right - the last time Kubel started a game was August 3. Since then, there have been 12 games, over which he has had a total of eight pinch-hit appearances, going 1-for-8 with five strikeouts, so hasn't exactly been forcing his way into the line-up. Have to wonder how many more there will be from here on out, with rosters expanding in September. At this point, his presence on the roster seem more like a token gesture.

A big question will be the bullpen situation, after the 16-inning marathon yesterday in Pittsburgh. Fortunately, it helped that Wade Miley worked eight innings, and the other innings were generally pretty quick: the eight frames worked by the bullpen required an average of less than 14 pitches, which is pretty good. Still, worth looking at the usage patters over the Pittsburgh series, see if we can work out who might be available out of the bullpen tonight. Here are the bullpen residents, with the number of pitches thrown in each game.

8/16 8/17 8/18
Brad Ziegler 18
Heath Bell 12 27
J.J. Putz 7 16 21
Will Harris 8 22
Joe Thatcher 6 5
Eury de la Rosa 12 22 9
Josh Collmenter 31

It is a bit of a problem that Cahill was only able to go the bare five innings on Saturday: if the offense had stepped up their game a bit earlier, we might have been able to get him deeper into the game. Crossing names off, I doubt we'll see Putz tonight, and de la Rosa is probably off limits too. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the latter is optioned down to Reno, simply so we can bring up a fresh arm for this important series. Avoid Bell if possible, and Collmenter too (though 31 pitches for Josh is almost a warm-up!). But the key question is tonight's starter, Randall Delgado: I think we need him to get through at least six innings, almost regardless of the score, or better yet, seven.

Of course, scoreboard watching will be in full effect for this one. The Dodgers play in Miami, so not really expecting too much help there this series, and St. Louis are in Milwaukee. But, as ever, the most important thing is for us to take care of our own business. We've won five of the last six, which is our best streak since early July - and the opposition this time has been of a rather higher caliber (then, it was the Mets and Rockies), so the team do appear to be getting it together again. If we can take three of four in Cincinnati - not easy - that will leave us no worse than three back, with 35 games to play. Again, not easy, but better. A win tonight would be a significant help

And thoughts go out to SnakePit friend, Jeff Summers, who is probably the longest-standing Diamondback blogger, but is taking some time off to deal with health issues. Here's to a swift return for a man whose sense of humor has never failed, even in the darkest times for the team.

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