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Preview: Game #162, Diamondbacks vs. Nationals

So, this is it then. The 162nd and final game of the season. Will the last person out of Chase Field, please remember to turn the lights off?



Tanner Roark
RHP, 7-1, 1.74

Wade Miley
LHP, 10-10, 3.63

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Willie Bloomquist, SS
  2. Adam Eaton, LF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Martin Prado, 3B
  5. Aaron Hill, 2B
  6. A.J. Pollock, CF
  7. Gerardo Parra, RF
  8. Tuffy Gosewisch, C
  9. Wade Miley, P

And this is where it ends. A game of no meaning, but yet one which in some ways, is the most important of the year, because there's no tomorrow. A loss this afternoon would condemn the Diamondbacks to their first losing season since 2010, and also mean their overall W-L record - the most important stat, when all is said and done - would be worse than last year. It might only be one game, but I suspect that would be an disappointment to both Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson, not least because this team cost significantly more, with Opening Day payroll up from $74 to $90 million. For them to go backwards won't please Ken Kendrick.

Indeed, you could certainly argue it's worse than it looks. With one game left, the team has conceded five runs more than last season, but scored 52 fewer, and unless they crush the Nationals by 11 runs, will end up being outscored by their opponents. While Towers may say that you win with pitching, it probably isn't the pitching which is why the team has struggled to keep up in the NL West. Given that many of our positions are locked up for the foreseeable future, it'll be interesting to see how Towers addresses this over the winter: Chris Owings and one of our trio of defensive-minded outfielders would appear to be the obvious trade chips.

But there'll be plenty of time for that speculation over the winter (and, trust me, we'll be engaging in it, on a near-everyday basis!). For now, we focus on the fight for .500, and little things like Wade Miley trying to end the season above .500. Wade has only won once in his last nine starts, despite a decent ERA of 3.83 over that time. He certainly deserved better in his last outing, when he threw six shutout innings against the Padres, but the D-backs could only win it in extras. Unless there's a serious meltdown - like nine ER in 2.1 innings - Miley will probably trail only Patrick Corbin in starter ERA for us this year. While a step back from his rookie season, it's still a solid feat.

There's also Paul Goldschmidt's hitting streak, where as noted in yesterday' recap, he could finish the year with the best run by a Diamondback in over 9 seasons - and still have it for next year. Again, barring a serious meltdown (0-for-6 would do it), he looks set to finish the year above .300, and I'd also like to see his OBP end the year at or above .400, something only Luis Gonzalez has ever done as a Diamondback. He's also be the only NL batter over the past couple of seasons to have that and hit 35+ home-runs as well. Throw in his 15 SB, and that's a trifecta achieved only twice (Votto 2010, Pujols 2009) since 2005.