|Jean Segura - 2B||Denard Span - CF|
|Brandon Drury - 3B||Joe Panik - 2B|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Buster Posey - C|
|Yasmany Tomas - LF||Brandon Belt - 1B|
|Welington Castillo - C||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|David Peralta - RF||Matt Duffy - 3B|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Gregor Blanco - RF|
|Chris Owings - CF||Madison Bumgarner - LHP|
|Zack Greinke - RHP||Angel Pagan - LF|
Thanks to Clefo for a somewhat surrealist take on previews over the past three days. I have now returned from Las Vegas, poorer but
wiser fatter, and am satisfied with the team's performance in my absence. It's probably for the best, because if we had lost the past three games, I might have come back to find Clefo sitting in the middle of the smoldering crater which had become the SnakePit, wearing a thousand-yard stare. Instead, we find ourselves with a shot at reaching the .500 mark we wanted to achieve for April, and with our ace on the mound. Admittedly, this ace has been winless in three starts, with a 6.20 ERA, but he'll earn as much tonight as Ahmed and Ray will for the season. So: ace, he is.
And Greinke has been getting better, with Game Scores of 17, 47, 62 over his three outings, which at least is going in the right direction. It's also not as if Bumgarner has been incredible, with one quality start, his only win coming as the offense scored 12 against the Brewers on Opening Day, and came despite MadBum walking five in five innings. So, this is a battle of "Aces With Issues," if you want, neither having quite lived up to the hopes of fans. It will also be a battle of two of the best hitting active pitchers. Among those with 300+ career PA, Greinke's OPS is #1 at .601, and Bumgarner is #4 at .534. Indeed, since 1981, only three pitchers have had a better OPS than Greinke: Zambrano, Hampton and Willis.
However, the "pitcher hitting eighth" experiment appears to have had a short life as far as the Diamondbacks are concerned, this being the fifth consecutive game it has not been used. The Giants have actually been more consistent in their use of it this season, tonight being the 13th of 16 games for San Francisco. Milwaukee (9, like the Diamondbacks) and Cincinnati (8) are the other teams who have made significant efforts in that direction - the Rockies have done it one, and that's it. Hard to say if it has helped or hindered: you could likely point to examples of both. The statistical impact is so small that variations - in the form of performance by the position player who is hitting 8th or 9th - likely drowns it out.