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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #20: Out like a Lamb

There's a left-hander on the mound, and no Jake Lamb in the starting line-up....

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Liriano
LHP, 1-1, 4.11
Robbie Ray
RHP, 1-0, 1.96
Jordy Mercer - SS Jean Segura - 2B
Andrew McCutchen - CF Brandon Drury - RF
David Freese - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Starling Marte - LF Yasmany Tomas - LF
Jason Rogers - 1B Welington Castillo - C
Sean Rodriguez - 2B Phil Gosselin - 3B
Gregory Polanco - RF Nick Ahmed - SS
Chris Stewart - C Chris Owings - CF
Francisco Liriano - LHP Robbie Ray - LHP

This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. In 2015, only four of Jake's 89 starts came against a southpaw starter for the opposition. He has actually almost matched that total already, having been written in three times when a left-hander takes the mound against the Diamondbacks. However, Jake's platoon split still remains more of a chasm than a gap: while obvious small sample-size issues should be considered (especially against lefties), his OPS against right-handers is 321 points better. Lamb is 2-for-14 against left-handed pitching, and only the fact that one of those left the park has kept his performance up - more worryingly, he has seven strikeouts

Of course, as long as he continues to torch right-handed pitching, to the tune of a .972 OPS thus far, there'll be no shortage of overall playing-time for Jake. However, it's a bit of a vicious circle. This is a competing team, in a season which isn't one where the team can allow the string of player development to play out indefinitely. You don't hit left-handers, and you won't keep getting chances to face them so you can learn how to hit them. This is especially true, given the plethora of right-handed options on the roster, that can be leveraged to get a platoon advantage. What's best for the team, may not necessarily be what's best for Jake Lamb.

Speaking of left-handers, an interesting pitching contest today. Ray has started much as he finished - he has been the best starter in the Diamondbacks rotation through the first three circuits, making a mockery of the whole "competing for the fifth spot" thing. Three games, at least six innings in each, no more than a pair of runs allowed, and with each better (by Game Score) than the one before - Greinke and De La Rosa have also done the last, so it appears our rotation is coming around from its slow start. Ray had some command issues, walking nine in 12.1 innings over his first two outings, but got that down to two over six last time, so hopefully that trend continues too.

A series win this afternoon would be our first at home, and put us two games above .500. The last time we were there? September 25, 2013. Let's keep climbing.