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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #47: Roger and out

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Miller will attempt to be a pirate hunter this evening, as we open a series in Pittsburgh.

Timm Schamberger/Getty Images
Shelby Miller
RHP, 1-5, 6.64
Francisco Liriano
LHP, 3-3, 4.63
Jean Segura - 2B John Jaso - 1B
Phil Gosselin - 3B Andrew McCutchen - CF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Gregory Polanco - RF
Welington Castillo - C Jung Ho Kang - 3B
Yasmany Tomas - LF Starling Marte - LF
Brandon Drury - RF Josh Harrison - 2B
Chris Owings - CF Jordy Mercer - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Chris Stewart - C
Shelby Miller - RHP Francisco Liriano - LHP

The Pirates will likely be scrambling for relief help today. They were scheduled to have a day off yesterday, but rain on Sunday forced the postponement of their game against the Rockies. Then, spot starter Ryan Vogelsong was hit in the face by a 92 mph pitch during the second inning, and had to leave the game, resulting in the rest of the bullpen being forced into extended work. While he'll be okay, Vogelsong has gone on the 15-day DL with facial fractures, including the orbital bone around his eye. Former Diamondback A.J. Schugel was called up by Pittsburgh, but their bullpen is still likely to be thin.

Of course, it's a Miller start, so it may well be the Diamondbacks' relief corps who are breathing into a paper bag for this one. Miller's nine appearances have totaled 40.2 innings, and he has yet to record a single out past the sixth inning this season, with just a single quality start. His last one was a high-wire act to rival the Wallendas, allowing 10 hits and two walks in 5,2 innings, but those only became three runs. On the other hand, Shelby's K:BB ratio of 5:2 was close to the best he's had all year, and an improvement over the six starts before that, where Miller struck out more batters than he had walked only once. The 101 pitches was also a season high.

Liriano has been a bit up and down. We faced him during the series at Chase, and he allowed four runs over six innings, but got a no-decision as a) Robbie Ray pitched worse, and b) the Pirates' bullpen coughed up four runs in the 8th and 9th, though Pittsburgh eventually prevailed 12-10 in 13 innings. Since then, Liriano pitched well and got wins against the Reds and Cardinals, before being not so good and taking losses versus the Cubs and, embarrassingly, the Braves, though his offense managed only one run in support of him there. Still, hope for the D-backs, and run differential gives reason to think the Pirates are not as good as the just-beaten Cardinals