- A.J. Pollock, CF
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Martin Prado, 3B
- Mark Trumbo, LF
- Miguel Montero, C
- Gerardo Parra, RF
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Trevor Cahill, P
Back when I was young - so, a while ago - I discovered that, while I ideally wanted eight hours sleep, I could function an awful lot better on four hours than six. I think it may have been because four hours covered an exact "sleep cycle", while six resulted in me being woken in the middle of one. So, if I was out late and knew I wasn't going to get eight hours, rather than go to bed as soon as I could I'd stay up longer, and aim for the four hours. It wasn't a recipe for long-term survival [do it multiple days in a row and things fell apart], but it allowed you to cope. It's probably been a good decade now since I last did it. Well, up until last night, anyway.
Yeah, after staying up for the game, then knocking out the recap, I got to bed around six am, and surfaced just after ten this morning, so we'll see how I cope with the rest of the day! Ideally, I'd like to stay up and go to bed at my usual time, as otherwise I'll end up with domestic jet-lag. But it's also possible I have collapsed on the couch, and you are only seeing this through the miracles of pre-scheduled posting. I certainly have a new-found respect for overseas Diamondbacks fans, who do this kind of thing on a regular basis. Games that regularly start at a comfortable, post-dinner hour? We're spoiled rotten...
The D-backs weren't able to solve Kershaw last night. But, you know what? That's alright. He's just the best pitcher in all of baseball: I'd have been a lot more surprised if the outcome had been otherwise. Not to say there wasn't room for improvement in last night's performance, of course. But it seemed that the main difference between the sides was really, the Dodgers got a couple of lucky breaks - an inexperienced left-fielder and some swirling wind here, a dropped third strike there - and were able to take advantage of them. Over the course of the season, that kind of thing tends to even itself out. A blow-out would have been greater cause for concern.
Still, we really do not want to lose tonight's contest as well, and have the team facing a long flight back to Arizona with an 0-2 record - plus facing a wait of more than a week, before they can do anything about it. It's easy to see how that kind of thing could turn into a gnawing cancer of self-inflicted pressure. A win, however, would set quite a different tone for the return trip. We'll need Trevor Cahill to locate his sinkerball, down in the zone, rather than what we saw a bit too much of during his pre-season outings. We'll also need the offense to do a better job of constructing innings: last night, it seemed that we'd get one person on, and everyone thereafter gave up.
One change from last night's line-up for Arizona, and it's as expected, with Chris Owings being replaced at shortstop by Didi Gregorius. I don't think last night's game did Owings any favors in terms of claiming the final spot. He was facing a left-handed pitcher, but Kershaw carved him apart mercilessly with off-speed pitches, exploiting the hitter's lack of plate discipline, known to be his biggest problem. He did work a walk in the ninth against Kenley Jansen, but the bar has been set fairly low, for Didi to make his claim. However, his struggles against left-handed hitting are also fairly well-known...