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Game #12 Preview: 4/18, Arizona Diamondbacks @ San Francisco Giants

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It's ring ceremony day at AT&T. They should appreciate it, because the team is already looking much more likely to be making tee reservations in October. Hopefully, the D-backs can take further advantage this evening.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Rubby De La Rosa
RHP, 2-0, 7.15
Chris Heston
RHP, 1-1, 0.69
Ender Inciarte - CF Norichika Aoki - LF
Jake Lamb - 3B Joe Panik - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Angel Pagan - CF
David Peralta - LF Buster Posey - C
Mark Trumbo - RF Brandon Belt - 1B
Tuffy Gosewisch - C Casey McGehee - 3B
Chris Owings - 2B Gregor Blanco - RF
Nick Ahmed - SS Brandon Crawford - SS
Rubby De La Rosa - RHP Chris Heston - RHP

Time to play with house money. Having already secured at least a split, if we take one of the remaining two contests, we'll come back home with a winning road-trip, above .500. However, after the demolition job which was last night, where basically one team showed up, let's keep pushing. For it may be less than two weeks into the season, but a win tonight for Arizona would hammer a dagger into the heart of San Francisco's playoff hopes. Having suffered a wretched April ourselves last season, and then the five meaningless months of baseball which followed, I'd be delighted to see someone else endure this. Particularly the Giants.

As Vida Blue said, you can't win the division in April, but you can lose it. And he wasn't exaggerating much. What would tagging San Francisco with their ninth straight defeat - and I'm grinning as I type that - mean for their chances? In the wild-card era, of all National League teams to have started the season 3-10 or worse, only the 2007 Phillies recovered to make the post-season. Indeed, they and the 2000 Giants are the only playoff teams who began below 5-8. Even before tonight's game, SportsClubStats.com already gives San Francisco less than a 4% chance. Two chances to take our first road series win since July...

Rubby De La Rosa is the luckiest man in baseball. Since our team came into existence, 366 starting pitchers have two or more wins in their team's first 10 games. You can count on your fingers those who had an ERA even above six, including Armando Galarraga, who posted a 6.75 ERA while starting 2-0 for the 2011 Diamondbacks. Only one of these has an ERA higher than De La Rosa's 7.15; Koji Uehara, who started the season with a 7.20 ERA for the 2009 Orioles. So: if he's to reach 3-0, he needs to pitch more good. But starting in SF against a team hitting a collective .192/.282/.267 at home, is about as much of a leg-up as you could possibly wish.

No place for A.J. Pollock today, despite getting four hits and a walk yesterday, as the grinding rotation of our outfield situation continues to roll. We'll certainly need to hit a bit better than we did the last time we faced Heston on April 8, when he allowed only a couple of unearned runs over six innings of work. Something more like last night would be acceptable. With Jeremy Hellickson facing Tim Hudson tomorrow, this looks like the shakiest of the pitching match-up for the Diamondbacks, so fingers crossed we can get through it in good shape, then go for a four-game road sweep tomorrow.