Rubby De La Rosa
|Chase Utley - 1B||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Cesar Hernandez - 2B||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Odubel Herrera - CF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Maikel Franco - 3B||David Peralta - LF|
|Domonic Brown - RF||Welington Castillo - C|
|Cody Asche - LF||Yasmany Tomas - RF|
|Freddy Galvis - SS||Chris Owings - 2B|
|Carlos Ruiz - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Aaron Harang - RHP||Rubby De La Rosa - RHP|
[In case you are wondering how I managed our first-baseman's first name, etc. the above is HTML I get to insert, and don't have to manually write!]
The team we're facing have been doing very well of late, as documented in this morning's article, come to Chase fresh from taking three of three in San Diego. Indeed, it might shock you to learn that the visitors have been the best team in the major leagues since the All-Star break, with a a record of 16-5. Which says something about how utterly rancid their first half was: as in the very worst in the majors, a staggering 9.5 games back of the 29th-ranked Brewers. The recent good run had actually knocked them out of the winner's slot in the battle for the first draft selection in June 2016, as they now sit a game ahead of the Marlins.
Why the sudden change? It's down to both section of the team. Their offense was 14th of 15 over the first half, but has been third-best since the break, with a collective line of .277/.326/.437, which is more than 100 O_S better than in the first half. However, their hurlers have been even more unrecognizable. Before the break, their ERA was 4.83, worst in the league - yes, even worse than the Colorado Rockies. But in the second half, they are more than a run and a half better, with a 3.31 ERA that trails only the St. Louis Cardinals. Good hitting and excellent mound work = a solid change to win better than four out of every five games.
Of course, your aren't going to have a W% above .800 indefinitely, so they will cool off at some stage. Fingers crossed, that stage iser the next three days in Arizona. But, as usual, whether we succeed or fail tonight, is largely down to where the Wheel O' De La Rosa lands, when we give it a turn. I'm not longer bothering to make any statements for Rubby's outings any more detailed than, "Watch this!" If Good Rubby takes the mound, we have an excellent chance of getting this series off on the right foot, under the watchful guise of our new site mascot, who brought us a walk-off win yesterday. However, if Bad Rubby arrives, all the kittens in the world may not be enough...