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Game #27: Diamondbacks vs. Phillies

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S'funny what a difference a couple of days can make.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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Cliff Lee
LHP, 3-2, 3.09
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Bronson Arroyo
RHP, 1-2, 9.50

Diamondbacks Lineup

  1. A.J. Pollock, CF
  2. Martin Prado - 3B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
  4. Miguel Montero, C
  5. Aaron Hill, 2B
  6. Cody Ross, LF
  7. Gerardo Parra - RF
  8. Chris Owings, SS
  9. Bronson Arroyo - P

On Thursday afternoon, the Diamondbacks were three outs away from losing the first three games against the miserable Cubs, the team with the next-worst record in the majors. If the score had stayed that way, the pressure on manager Kirk Gibson would certainly have intensified, and speculation concerning his future would have continued to escalate. But, with the help of a fortunate bounce of the second-base bag, the Diamondbacks scored five runs to snatch victory, and haven't lost since. If the season turns around - and that's still very much an "if" - Prado's ricochet will be enshrined as the turning point.

Of course, three games are less than 2% of a season, and those victories did come against the aforementioned miserable Cubs, and the soft underbelly of the mediocre Phillies rotation. Today and tomorrow promise to be a much tougher test in this department. Winning both would certainly appear to be a genuine indication that the worst may be over, but I'd settle for splitting these two games and taking the series. We have to accept these little steps, and not demand a 13-game winning streak. The 5-18 hole into which the team fell, took more than a month to dig, and any climb out is probably going to last at least as long.

Arroyo not sucking would be a help in this regard, though so far, that's pretty much what we've seen. Over his four starts, opposing hitters have a line of .372/.420/.615, and though some of that is related to a BABIP of .358, that's not inconsistent with his line-drive rate of 26%, Perhaps the main issue, however, has been a K:BB ratio which has collapsed like a burst balloon, from 3.65 in 2013, to a mere 1.14. That ranks Arroyo 132 of the 135 pitchers with four or more starts this year; coincidentally, his opponent, Cliff Lee, is #1, having a K:BB ratio of 38:2. Yep, you read that right: 35 innings, 38 strikeouts, two walks. Yep, tonight will be a real test of the D-backs pretensions to recovery.

Tonight will be Turambar's second Beercap. If this game goes like it might, then we probably will all need some alcoholic beverages to get through it...