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Game #121 Preview: 8/21, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Cincinnati Reds

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Once again, we play, Spin the Wheel O' De La Rosa!

Introducing the La Russa Heartbreakometer

"I’ll be brokenhearted if we don’t have a winning record this year."
-- Tony La Russa, February 2015

It seemed a bold, over-optimistic hope at the time, considering the team had the worst record in baseball last year, finishing 18 games below a winning record. But as we enter the final quarter of the season, there is still room for La Russa's heart to survive unscathed. To this end, in each preview going forward, we'll have a nice, graphical representation of the situation (h/t shoe for the idea!). If the team is above .500, Tony's heart will be whole. If, as now, it's below .500, we'll show you how many more wins the team needs to save it from breaking. We'll keep this going until it's decided i.e. until the D-backs have X games left, and are either X games below or X+1 games above even.

Heart Left WWW Heart right
Rubby De La Rosa
RHP, 10-5, 4.40
David Holmberg
LHP, 1-2, 5.95
Ender Inciarte - LF Jason Bourgeois - CF
A.J. Pollock - CF Eugenio Suarez - SS
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Joey Votto - 1B
Welington Castillo - C Todd Frazier - 3B
Aaron Hill - 3B Jay Bruce - RF
Yasmany Tomas - RF Ivan De Jesus - 2B
Chris Owings - 2B Brayan Pena - C
Nick Ahmed - SS Brennan Boesch - LF
Rubby De La Rosa - RHP David Holmberg - LHP

Holmberg? Why is that name familiar? And why is he a Red?  The answer to the first is that he used to be a Diamondback, though appeared exactly once for us, throwing 3.2 innings during a spot-start in August 2013, after coming over from the White Sox, along with Daniel Hudson in the Edwin Jackson trade [yes, children: there was a time when a team actually wanted to trade for Jackson]. However, Holmberg was part of the collateral damage we endured to get rid of Heath Bell, going to Cincinnati as part of a three-team trade, which also included Tampa and a small shipping container of bagels cash.

It hasn't really gone well for him since, with a 5.40 ERA over nine starts and 49.2 major-league innings with the Reds, but Holmberg just turned 24 in July, making him a couple of months older than Robbie Ray, so there's still time for this trade to be repented at leisure. On the other hand, if you remember the Heath Bell era, you probably would have gnawed off your own limb to escape it, so I'm reluctant to blame Diamondbacks management for feeling much the same way. But if Holmberg would just suck quietly against us this afternoon, it would probably make the Gameday Thread less filled with recriminations and self-loathing.

Hopefully, the sterling fightback shown by the team yesterday will carry forward, though with the bullpen having been taxed for seven innings, we'll certainly be hoping the Wheel O' De La Rosa lands on "efficient and effective" this afternoon. That was the third time the bullpen has thrown seven or more shutout innings in a regulation game, and one of the others was the Randy Johnson post-power outage game in San Diego, so really doesn't count. The other case was all the was back on Aug. 10, 1999, courtesy of relievers: Erik Sabel (3.2 IP), Greg Swindell (3.1) and Gregg Olson (1.0), after Brian Anderson had to leave after the first. If they don't have to work at all today, I'm fine with that!