|Ender Inciarte - RF||Jace Peterson - 2B|
|A.J. Pollock - CF||Cameron Maybin - CF|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Nick Markakis - RF|
|David Peralta - LF||Jonny Gomes - LF|
|Welington Castillo - C||A.J. Pierzynski - C|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Adonis Garcia - 3B|
|Chris Owings - 2B||Nick Swisher - 1B|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Andrelton Simmons - SS|
|Robbie Ray - LHP||Julio Teheran - RHP|
I trust you all enjoyed the day-off, and weren't left pining for the Diamondbacks too much. Startling to realize we are now into the final third of the season; it only seems like last week, we were embarking on the 162-game slog which is a regular baseball season. Now we're virtually counting down, with less than fifty games left, before all that's (probably) left will be to root for whoever is playing against the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and Pirates [in that order, as far as I'm concerned!] Then we'll have all the off-days we could want, and will likely be gazing at the calendar and wishing it was spring again already.
Into Atlanta go the D-backs, scene of a couple of highly-memorably performances by Arizona pitchers. Of course, everyone will immediately think of Randy Johnson's perfect game, but there have been plenty of those, relatively speaking, in baseball history - 23, all told. Even rarer was what happened in Atlanta on August 18, 2007, when Micah Owings went 4-for-5 with two HR and a double, driving in six runs. Only 14 pitchers in the past century have had six RBI in a game. And know how many have had 11 total bases? Two, Owings and Jim Tobin for the 1942 Red Sox, who homered three times against the Cubs. So, Robbie, you have a lot to live up to today at Turner Field!
It's kinda weird to see the Braves struggling, since I've been so used to seeing them challenging for a post-season spot. If we beat them today, Atlanta will have their lowest win percentage since 1990. Over the 24 seasons since then, they have finished below .500 only three times, and never back-to-back - as it looks increasingly likely they will do this year (being a dozen games underneath it as we start this series). Still, that won't make it easy, and they have played well at home with a record in Atlanta of 30-23. We'll see if the D-backs can get the road-trip off to a winning start behind Ray, and get back to .500 ourselves.