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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #31: The Which Blair Project

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Few things are more meaningless than a single baseball game. Still, as meaningless goes...

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Greinke
RHP, 2-2, 5.50
Aaron Blair
RHP, 0-1, 3.18
Jean Segura - 2B Nick Markakis - RF
Jake Lamb - 3B Adonis Garcia - LF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Freddie Freeman - 1B
David Peralta - RF Kelly Johnson - 2B
Welington Castillo - C A.J. Pierzynski - C
Brandon Drury - LF Reid Brignac - 3B
Chris Owings - CF Erick Aybar - SS
Zack Greinke - RHP Aaron Blair - RHP
Nick Ahmed - SS Mallex Smith - CF

The storylines for this one practically write themselves. The starting pitchers this evening were both key to the off-season moves for the Diamondbacks. Zack Greinke was signed to the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history, while Aaron Blair was part of the package of young players sent to Atlanta in exchange for Shelby Miller. That hasn't worked out so far -  to the extent that Blair alone would have been an overpay, never mind Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson. I've no doubt Chip in his pre-game conference will call this "just another game". But it isn't. 0.62% of the baseball season or not, and fair or not, if Blair beats Greinke, it will be seen by many as confirming the idiocy of Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa.

The possibility of defeat would have seemed unlikely on Opening Day, but Greinke has been far from the unstoppable force he was in 2015, and the D-backs in general have spluttered and stuttered. You probably do not need reminding that Arizona has now lost six straight, and eight of nine - they haven't scored more than four runs over that latter time, the longest such streak since a Goldy-less team limped its way towards the finish line in August 2014. Either the MLB-worst Braves - currently on pace for a record of 42-120 - will represent a refreshing sorbet on our palate, cleansing it from the sour taste of the last two series, or...

I must confess, the writing part of me would quite like to watch the D-backs' world burn. There are a lot more interesting articles you can write about a team that's flaming out, than one performing somewhat below expectations. In some ways too, the worst case scenario for the team might be a degree of competence which could - if you squinted a bit, in a poorly-lit room - convince the front office 2016 was just a series of unfortunate circumstances, and that save for a broken Pollick, they were on the right path. We saw what early success did to both Josh Byrnes and Kevin Towers, creating a aura of infallibility which proved woefully unjustified. Can certainly do without that again, and not even the division title!