Preview: Game #124, Diamondbacks @ Reds

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

With 39 games left, it's still technically too early to be talking about "must win" games. However, this one probably counts as a "mustn't lose" one...

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Patrick Corbin
LHP, 12-3, 2.40
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Tony Cingrani
LHP, 6-2, 2.78

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. A.J. Pollock, CF
  2. Martin Prado, 3B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Aaron Hill, 2B
  5. Matt Davidson, 3F
  6. Wil Nieves, C
  7. Gerardo Parra, RF
  8. Cliff Pennington, SS
  9. Patrick Corbin, P

Yesterday's loss, while not entirely unexpected with our #5 starter going, still does a good job of putting the Diamondbacks behind the 8-ball. Simply to do the absolute minimum and split the series, they need to win two of the three remaining games - and with Mile Leake and Mat Latos (combined record 22-9) going in the last two, you don't want to end up having to beat both of those guys to secure a split. Not that Cingrani is exactly chopped liver. Over his last seven starts, he has an ERA below two, and has struck out 49 in 43 innings over that time, so I don't expect us to tee off on him tonight.

The good news is, we have Patrick Corbin on the mound, though I'm a bit concerned, because his ERA is more than 1.5 runs higher on the road than at Chase Field. Though his 3.39 figure elsewhere is hardly the kiss of death for this afternoon's start. However, the Reds have a potent line-up, and the Great American Ball Park should probably be renamed the Rather Pokey Down the Foul-lines American Ball Park, two factors which leave me feeling more than slightly nervous. Still, with the season on the line (hyperbole for marketing purposes courtesy of ESPN), there's no-one I'd rather have out there than Corbin. Interesting stat for tonight's game:

I am hopeful, since at least we seem to have close to our best line-up out there tonight. I'd probably be playing Didi Gregorius rather than Pennington, but if a minor gain from the #8 hitter is the biggest problem with a batting order, it's not too bad. I like Prado hitting second: to me, it's preferable to the Parra/Eaton top of the order we've seen: as I noticed last night, it makes it rather too easy for the opposition to roll out a left-handed reliever when you've got Gregorius, the pitcher's spot, then those two. Admittedly, now, the top six spots are all right-handed, but at least we have options on the bench to address that.

So, here we go. I'm not going to say the season is on the line tonight, because it isn't. But if the Diamondbacks don't win this one,. they'll be seven back of the Reds with 38 games left, and only two contests head-to-head. That's not exactly what you'd call a recipe for success. Win, and we're five back, which would sustain hope a little longer. Here's to Corbin keeping me out of the unwatched movie pile for another evening.

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