Preview: Game #112, Diamondbacks vs. Rays

Wade Miley's last start against the Rays went pretty well... - Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Back home for Arizona, still seeking their first series win since the All-Star break. Can they get it against their expansion siblings?

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Jeremy Hellickson
RHP, 10-4, 4.60
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Wade Miley
LHP, 8-8, 3.68

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Adam Eaton, CF
  2. Martin Prado, LF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Eric Chavez, 3B
  5. Aaron Hill, 2B
  6. Cody Ross, RF
  7. Wil Nieves, C
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Wade Miley, P

Gerardo Parra gets a day-off, which would make sense: he has appeared in the last 26 consecutive games for Arizona, starting 23 of them. But as noted during yesterday's off-day, his offensive numbers have largely imitated the face-plant he executed at Citi Field. Instead, Prado makes his first start in the outfield in close to a month (the last was July 8). Interesting to see Eaton in the lead-off spot: if you look at Eaton's career splits, he has actually hit right-handers much worse than left-handers. It's probably just the small sample size, however: in both 2011 and 2012, in the minors, he had more normal numbers, handling RHP better.

Even discounting the one-game stopover in Texas which we lost, that's now five series in a row where we haven't been able to come out on top. We may not have been swept, but three losses and a pair of splits (one two-game series, one four-game) is not the kind of longer-term results which will get you into the post-season. Since taking the first three games against the Brewers, the Diamondbacks are 6-11 and have won consecutive games only once. Again: if this team wants to make the playoffs, they need to start performing like a playoff team, because their recent performances just don't cut it.

However, I'd settle for a repeat of the result the last time these two pitchers met, as Arizona turned in arguably their best performances of the schedule's second-half, blanking the Rays for a 7-0 victory. [yeah, we blanked the Padres by a wider margin, but counterpoint: it was the Padres], knocking out 14 hits, while Miley, Heath Bell and J. J. Putz combined on a three-hitter. It was the kind of performance which shouldn't be the exception: while you can't quite expect that every day, you probably need to be getting one of those blowout wins every three-game series, giving your bullpen a breather. Split the other two contests, and you'll be golden.

Or, we can simply go on a run like the Dodgers have, where you win 15 games in a row on the road. No National League team in the live-ball era has had a better streak - the only ones to match it were the 1957 Reds. As a yardstick, the Diamondbacks have never even reached double figures: our best is nine straight wins away from Arizona, in August 2002. Heck, our longest winning streak of any kind is still short of that, a round dozen in June 2003. [If you're interested, the major-league record is 21, set by the Detroit Tigers, beginning in 1984, and continuing at the start of the 1985 season]. The Dodgers have Kershaw starting tonight: care to bet against #16?

For now, since we're closer to the Reds, we'll be scoreboard watching them instead, as they host the Athletics in Cincinnati. Elsewhere in the NL West, the Giants host the Brewers, the Rockies play the Mets in New York and the Padres are visited by the Orioles.

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