- Gerardo Parra, RF
Martin Prado, LF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Matt Davidson 3B
- Wil Nieves, C
- A.J. Pollock CF
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Patrick Corbin, P
Should be an excellent pitching match-up this afternoon, with Corbin and Tillman having combined for a record of 26-6 this season. Haven't actually heard much about Tillman, to be honest. Though that's perhaos because the national media generally reports on the AL East as if it's a two-team division, and if you don't play in Boston or New York, you don't get much coverage. Much like Corbin, Tillman has had a breakout season, though he's both older and more experienced. Still, coming in to this season, he had a mediocre 16-18 record and 4.73 ERA - and half those wins came after his call-up in July last year. Since then, he's 23-6 with a 123 ERA+ so this will be a test.
Of course, Corbin has continued to be amazing, Even though he hasn't won in his last three starts, it's hard to blame him seriously, considering he put up a 2.70 ERA in them, allowing six runs over 20 innings of work, with a K:BB ratio of 18:5. He's in the middle of a streak of six consecutive quality starts, going back to Independence Day, with an ERA a hair below two over that time. One wonders if the team may let up on his workload down the stretch. He threw 186.2 innings last season, but is averaging 6.8 innings per frame, so if he pitches out the season at that rate, 33 starts would give him 224 frames, quite a jump for a young arm.
It's hard to see how today's game can be as exciting as the last two, but then, that's basically what I said before yesterday's as well! It's the third time in franchise history we have hit walk-off home-runs in consecutive games (we've had 43 of those in total). The last time was on July 26-27, 2007. In the first game, Eric Byrnes swatted a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth, off Armando Benitez, to break a 4-4 tie against the Marlins. The following day, it was Tony Clark's turn. He led off the bottom of the 11th with a bomb off Wil Ledezma to give us an 8-7 victory, after the Braves had tied it in the ninth against Jose Valverde: Arizona blew a 7-0 lead in that one!
However, the other sequence was even more improbable, dating back to May 10-12, 1999, when the D-backs swept the Expos at Chase, every victory coming as the result of a walkoff home-run. Jay Bell got the party started with a leadoff homer in the ninth to give us a 7-6 win in the opener. Luis Gonzalez gave us the series the next day, with a two-out shot in the bottom of the tenth, walking Arizona off as 4-3 victors. And the finale was truly epic, as we came in to the ninth 6-3 down, but got homers from Andy Fox and Bell to tie the game, before Matt Williams delivered a two-run blast to complete a five-run ninth and the walkoff sweep.
You'd imagine that would be pretty rare, but if we repeat the feat this afternoon, it actually won't even be the first time in the past month it's been done. The Rangers swept the Angels in walk-off homer fashion a couple of weeks back, though that was only the fifth time ever a team has won three consecutive games that way, with ours being the fourth. So, we've got a chance to make history this afternoon, though to be honest, I'd be more than happy to settle for a low-impact blowout as well!