Preview: Game #113, Diamondbacks vs. Rays

Jennifer Stewart

Last time we thumped Hellickson and the Rays, it didn't appear to help much. Will last yesterday's victory be any better, and prove the catalyst to get our season going?

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Chris Archer
RHP, 6-4, 2.65
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Randall Delgado
RHP, 4-3, 3.17

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. Randall Delgado, P

If this line-up looks strangely familiar, it's because we are running out the same one as last night. That hasn't happened very often of late - or, indeed, this season at all. The last time we had consistency in the line-up was when Gibson apparently lapsed into a coma and sent the same eight position players out there on July 5-6, over a month ago. We won the second game by an 11-1 margin over the Colorado Rockies - but, of course, the next day saw a right-handed starter on the mound, after a pair of southpaws, and the streak was broken. But we're facing right-handed starters through Saturday this time, so might it go further? Especially if we keep winning.

As noted, however, there wasn't much momentum to be found when we beat Hellickson in Tampa, as the Rangers greeted Zeke Spruill rudely in his first start for us. With the off-day, he's being skipped, and the team is going straight to Delgado instead. On Friday, Patrick Corbin will start the opener against the Mets, with Brandon McCarthy going on Saturday, and Spruill taking the mound for the finale on Sunday. It's possible that could be his last start, as Trevor Cahill continues to come back. Gibson said Cahill looked great in his bullpen session, though his numbers over two Reno outings have been pretty bad: 10 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 6 BB, 9 K, 2 HR, 8.10 ERA.

So, looks like we'll be getting Wil Nieves as our starting catcher for while yet. Still, can't complain about a man hitting .366, even if that's almost entirely driven by a BABIP of .436 - second in the majors among all 469 players with 50 or more PAs this year. No prizes for guessing who's first, at .469 [Let's just say that a crash is going to come, sooner or later, and it's going to be delicious and pork-flavored when it regresses] Still, that gives me some hope considering #1 has more than 100 additional plate appearances over Nieves. It may be an average built on sunshine and lollipops, but as long as it keeps going for a couple more months...

Elsewhere, the Reds have already knocked off the A's, and the Dodgers are barely getting under way in St. Louis. For now, however, we're really too far back to engage in any serious scoreboard watching: as last night, the D-backs just need to take care of their own business, win this game and then rest up for three against a hopefully-easier Mets outfit over the weekend.

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