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Game #3 Preview: 4/8, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants

Another day, another Diamondback starting pitcher make his debut for us. This time, it's Jeremy Hellickson - will he be able to give up fewer than five runs?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Heston
RHP, 0-0, N/A
Jeremy Hellickson
RHP, 0-0, N/A
Norichika Aoki - LF A.J. Pollock - CF
Matt Duffy - 2B Chris Owings - 2B
Angel Pagan - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Buster Posey - 1B David Peralta - LF
Casey McGehee - 3B Mark Trumbo - RF
Justin Maxwell - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
Brandon Crawford - SS Gerald Laird - C
Hector Sanchez - C Cliff Pennington - SS
Chris Heston - RHP Jeremy Hellickson - RHP

On the plus side, it's his birthday, so ice-cream and balloons all round. How have Diamondbacks starters done on their cake day previously? Turns out to have been a bit of a mixed bag. Hellickson will become the eighth starter and fifth different player, Randy Johnson having done it on three occasions during his time with Arizona.

Date Opp
Res IP H
1 Randy Johnson 1999-09-10 PHI W 3-1 9.0 6 1 1 3 7 138 87 75 0.519
2 Randy Johnson 2000-09-10 FLA L 3-4 7.0 6 3 1 2 14 119 79 69 0.093
3 Steve Sparks 2004-07-02 MIN L 5-6 4.0 7 5 3 0 3 72 50 35 -0.262
4 Randy Johnson 2004-09-10 SFG W 2-1 7.0 4 1 1 1 8 104 73 72 0.243
5 Brandon Webb 2005-05-09 WSN L 3-4 7.0 9 3 3 0 6 99 67 53 -0.010
6 Claudio Vargas 2006-06-19 PIT W 5-4 6.0 5 2 2 2 6 102 67 58 0.177
7 Joe Saunders 2012-06-16 LAA L 0-2 6.0 8 2 2 2 4 115 65 50 -0.011

The Big Unit is the only starting pitcher to have won on his birthday, doing so on 1999 and 2004, while the sole loss was the most recent occasion, Joe Saunders in 2012. The overall ERA here is a more than respectable 2.54 - but that's largely down to Randy Johnson's 1.17 figure over his three starts, with the other four being a good deal higher, at 3.91. But after the past couple of starts and our rotation getting the 2015 campaign off to a shaky start - Josh Collmenter and Rubby De La Rosa posting an ERA of 9.00 in games one and two - I'd probably be happy if Hellickson gave us a four ERA this evening. Three earned in 6.2 innings? I'd take that.

Chris Heston will be facing the Diamondbacks for the first time. In fact, he has precisely one start to his name in the majors, facing the Padres in the final game of last season, as the Giants got their rotation in order for the playoffs. He went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks, with a pair of strikeouts. While we have absolutely no track record against him, the arrival of Hellickson from the American League means there's almost as little for the Giants to go on. Casey McGehee and Justin Maxwell have combined to go 1-for-5 with a walk, and that's it. There'll definitely be a bit of a feeling-out process for both sides this evening.

Other notes
  • As last night, this game will be aired on Fox Sports Arizona Plus, rather than the regular channel. Details for various providers are here.
  • Jake Lamb's seven RBI not only owns the record for most runs batted in by a Diamondback during the first two games of the season, it's also the record for most during the first three games of the season. He's also the first rookie to do it, since Detroit’s Johnny Groth in 1949
  • Mark Trumbo has a shot this evening at becoming the first Diamondback ever to triple in three consecutive games, and the first major-leaguer since Starling Marte in September 2012. Wish we'd had a Trumbiples category in our over/under contest...
  • Gerald Laird also makes his first appearance as a Diamondback. Wonder when the last time was both halves of our battery were making their debuts for Arizona? Obviously, it happened in the franchise's first game, 1998. But I'd have to do a fair amount of digging to see if it happened since