Game #8: Diamondbacks @ Rockies

Doug Pensinger

The Diamondbacks go into this afternoon's game, needing a victory to avoid setting a new record: we've never gone 1-7 to start a season before. Heavy is the head that takes the mound: Brandon McCarthy in this case.

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Brandon McCarthy
RHP, 0-0, 6.75
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Jorge de la Rosa
LHP, 0-1, 10.38

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. A.J. Pollock, CF
  2. Aaron Hill, 2B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Martin Prado, 3B
  5. Mark Trumbo, LF
  6. Miguel Montero, C
  7. Chris Owings, SS
  8. Gerardo Parra, RF
  9. Brandon McCarthy, P

It certainly seems that Kirk Gibson is trying to be more stable with his line-ups this season. This is the eighth game of the season, and we still have five players who have started every game (Hill, Goldie, Prado, Trumbo, Parra), with Montero and Pollock both missing one. However, after eight games last season, we had five ever-presents too - Cliff Pennington replacing Trumbo. It will, however, already be the third time in eight games, we've seen exactly this batting order. That is something of a change, considering in 2013, over all 162 games we never used any order more than four times.

We're currently tied for the worst start in franchise history, and you've got to go all the way back to our first ever season of 1998, to find the only other time we started 1-6. That year, we won game #8, our inaugural victory away from Chase Field, with Brian Anderson and Felix Rodriguez combining to blank Hideo Nomo and the Dodgers 3-0 in Chavez Ravine. So, we need to win at Coors Field tonight, if we're not to set a new standard for early futility. Of course, it's not exactly rare to lose seven of eight. We had streaks like that in both May 2012 and June-July 2013. But doing so right at the very start of the season magnifies things enormously.

McCarthy certainly pitched better than his numbers would indicate last time out, at Chase, If yesterday is anything to go by, he'll need to pitch equally well today and enjoy better luck today, against a tough line-up and in an environment which is unforgiving of mistakes. A loss would also seal a third consecutive series defeat to open the season: I'm already hearing calls for change from a fanbase which grows more disgruntled with every defeat, and defeat here would make certain seats all the warmer.

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