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Game #128 Preview: 8/28, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Oakland Athletics

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Well, at least it isn't the Cardinals.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The La Russa Heartbreakometer

What is this?

Heart Left WWWW Heart right
Sonny Gray
RHP, 12-5, 2.10
Chase Anderson
RHP, 6-5, 4.28
Billy Burns - CF Ender Inciarte - RF
Mark Canha - 1B A.J. Pollock - CF
Josh Reddick - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Danny Valencia - 3B David Peralta - LF
Stephen Vogt - C Welington Castillo - C
Brett Lawrie - 2B Jake Lamb - 3B
Jake Smolinski - LF Chris Owings - 2B
Marcus Semien - SS Chase Anderson - RHP
Sonny Gray - RHP Nick Ahmed - SS

I'm sure we're all glad to see the back of the St. Louis Cardinals, and in particular the irritating snowbird fans who showed up at Chase Field for the past four games. Admittedly, in this category, we have only ourselves to blame, since three out of the four games failed even to reach 20,000 in attendance, and I think the last one did, solely through about five thousand students from ASU showing up. But I dread to think what the crowds will be like for the penultimate series of the year, a Tue-Thu set against the Rockies at the end of September.

Thus far, however, attendance has been fractionally up on last season; and when I say fractionally, I mean about four bus-loads per game, 172 people. If that is sustained over the remainder of the season, that would work out at about a gain of fourteen thousand on the previous year. Given how awful that team was, and the generally laggy nature of attendance e.g. attendance was 460,000 less in 2005 than 2004), that's okay. Fractionally below the average across all of the baseball (+262 per game), but our rank overall is almost unchanged, down one spot from 22nd to 23rd. It's almost 10,000 per game more than our expansion siblings in Tampa, compared to 7,000 last year.

Anyway, for today's game, we have the D-backs pitcher batting eighth again. Since last time we discussed, this trend has now become the most popular it has ever been in baseball history: there have been 234 such games, coming into play today, blowing past the previous high of 222, set in 2008. Thirteen different teams have tried it at least once, with the Cubs (115), Reds (56) and Mets (25) responsible for most. But hell, even four AL teams have tried it, including five line-ups for the Twins. That's still more than us, for whom tonight will be the fourth such game, it'll be Anderson's first time there this year, the other three having gone to Archie Bradley, Josh Collmenter and Robbie Ray.