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Game #161 Preview: 10/3, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Houston Astros

So, let's try and concede fewer than 21 runs tonight, shall we?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Collin McHugh
RHP, 18-7, 3.98
Jeremy Hellickson
RHP, 9-11, 4.60
Jose Altuve - 2B Socrates Brito - RF
George Springer - RF Aaron Hill - 2B
Carlos Correa - SS A.J. Pollock - CF
Colby Rasmus - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Luis Valbuena - 3B Welington Castillo - C
Chris Carter - 1B Jake Lamb - 3B
Preston Tucker - LF Peter O'Brien - LF
Jason Castro - C Chris Owings - SS
Collin McHugh - RHP Jeremy Hellickson - RHP

Getting this one written up early, since by the time you'll see this, I will already be on the way to Chase for my last game of the season. Keep an eye on the seats behind home-plate. :) I'm just hoping it proves less of a one-sided hammering than last night's contest, which was an embarrassingly poor display from just about every conceivable angle. Pitching, fielding, base-running, all were performances which would get a minor-league team chewed out for lack of commitment. I guess scoring five runs in a game started by the likely American League Cy Young winner is better than I expected, but even there, three of those runs came after we were 19 behind.

Will today be any better? Signs point to yet, if only because conceding 20 runs in a game without a DH doesn't happen very often. Twice in the past five years in fact, although both cases have actually taken place in the past five weeks - and, interestingly, both involved interleague play in NL parks. The other was the Yankees thrashing the Braves by a 20-6 margin at Turner Field on August 30. But there has only been one other time since 2001 when a team playing in an NL park conceded more than 20 runs, on July 6, 2009 when the Phillies crushed the Reds by a margin of 22-1. For what it's worth, the next day Cincinnati did beat Philadelphia, 4-3, so there is hope!

Another not-so-fun fact. The team also set a franchise record for most pitches thrown in a regulation contest, hurling a total of 213. Good job it is September, and so we had an apparently infinite supply of replacement level pitchers to run out of the bullpen. That beat the previous high of 211, in a 2005 game against the Mets, which we lost 18-4 - a Russ Ortiz start, incidentally. [It was still quite some way from the non-DH record, set last year by the Padres, who tossed 249 in a 10-3 loss to the Pirates.] But I guess it was relatively brisk, falling five minutes short of being the longest regulation game for us this year. Certainly felt more like eternal torment though.