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Game #17 Preview: 4/25, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Hello, .500. We meet again...

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Burnett
RHP, 0-1, 2.00
Rubby De La Rosa
RHP, 2-1, 6.00
Josh Harrison - 3B Ender Inciarte - RF
Gregory Polanco - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Andrew McCutchen - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Neil Walker - 2B David Peralta - LF
Starling Marte - LF Aaron Hill - 3B
Pedro Alvarez - 1B Chris Owings - 2B
Francisco Cervelli - C Tuffy Gosewisch - C
Jordy Mercer - SS Cliff Pennington - SS
A.J. Burnett - RHP Rubby De La Rosa - RHP

So far in the majors, there have been 32 winning streaks of three games or longer, and 28 such losing streaks. None of these 60 streaks belong to the Arizona Diamondbacks who, 16 games in, have yet to win or lose more than two games in a row, and have spent the entire year to date within a game of .500. Neither of those will end today, since our current losing streak is one, and we're exactly at .500. I don't know how to search globally for how rare that is, but in team history, only a couple of times have we reached ten games in, without a three-game streak of one form or another. The previous record was 2006, when we it took until the 13th contest.

However, that's perhaps for the best, especially in the early going, as we seek to establish ourselves. A long losing streak could destroy the fragile sense of "Hey, we don't totally suck!" which has been built up over the first three weeks, and if the price of that is no long winning streaks too, it's a cost I'll happily pay. S'funny how, after the disaster which was 2014, simply being at .500 feels like a magnificent achievement, and one to which I now desperately want to cling onto. But with De La Rosa on the mound tonight, I can't say I feel particularly confident. He's shown his promise in flashes, yet the necessary consistency has just not been present. We never know what to expect.

The emphasis in the line-up appears to be defense, with our three best outfield gloves there, and no Tomas at third. Nick Ahmed at short over Pennington might be the only way to make it better, but the way Ahmed has been swinging the bat e.g. very poorly, that's not necessary a bad thing. No Trumbo, so his walkless streak will remain intact. At 14 consecutive starts to begin the season without a base on balls, it's tied for 3rd longest by a position player in team history: the record holder is Jerry Gil, who started 24 games for us in 2004 and failed to draw a walk in any of them. Gil's 88 career PAs is the most by any non-pitcher with no bases on balls since 1928.

Game Notes

  • Arizona has notched 8 consecutive quality starts, its most since July 30-Aug. 7, 2012. The last time the D-backs registered 9 straight quality starts was during an 11-game stretch from Sept. 12-22, 2008.
  • The D-backs own a 3.85 ERA (62 ER in 145.0 IP) through their first 16 games this season, compared to 5.96 (94 ER in 142.0 IP) in 2014.
  • If we see Brad Ziegler this afternoon, he'll set a new club record for appearances by a pitcher, breaking the current tie on 253, the same as Jose Valverde.