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Game #102 Preview: 8/1, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Houston Astros

The road-trip has already gone better than I personally expected, and we haven't even reached the half-way point. Can the Diamondbacks keep on winning?

Bill Baptist/Getty Images
Jeremy Hellickson
RHP, 7-6, 4.60
Dallas Keuchel
LHP, 12-5, 2.32
Ender Inciarte - CF Jose Altuve - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Carlos Gomez - CF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Carlos Correa - SS
Welington Castillo - DH Preston Tucker - LF
Aaron Hill - 3B Evan Gattis - DH
Yasmany Tomas - RF Jed Lowrie - 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C Colby Rasmus - RF
Chris Owings - 2B Chris Carter - 1B
Cliff Pennington - LF Hank Conger - C

First, just to follow up on something I talked about in the recap - the cheap home-runs hit by the Astros. The very useful ESPN Home Run Tracker confirms what we thought at the time: that Jason Castro's three-run homer in the fourth, would have been a home-run in exactly one major-league park, and Carlos Correa's shot later in the inning, would have made it out of seven stadia. Both Welington Castillo's and Jake Lamb's tenth-inning shots, on the other hand, were fully legitimate, no-doubters that would have been homers in all 30 major-league parks. I already covered how Minute Maid's layout seems more beneficial to the Astros than their opponents. Let's dig further...

According to the site, there are 19 home-runs at Minute Maid which are listed as zero or one park homers [a home-run can get a zero, if the ball only made it over the fence due to assistance from the elements, such as wind, temperature, etc.] Of those 19, only five were hit by the visiting side, compared to fourteen by the Astros; Luis Valbuena alone has four, being a particular beneficiary of thse "only in Houston" cheap shots. Now, there is something to be said for a team being built for and playing to its home-field advantages. But a close to 3:1 edge in these park-assisted homers seems a bit unfair, arguably bordering on the illegitimate.

Still, it didn't stop us from winning out sixth straight last night. I was seriously thinking we could easily go 3-7 though this road-trip to Seattle, Houston and Washington, but four games in, and that expectation has already been left in the dust. Indeed, now the only way it could be a losing trip, is if the Diamondbacks were to drop six consecutive games. Not impossible, certainly: but you've got to think they'll be able to sneak at least one win the rest of the way, and even going 2-4 would make for an entirely acceptable mark of 6-4. Just when the season looked very shaky - shoe even used the T word! - we've gone on our best run in close to four years. #YouCantPredictBaseball