|Mikie Mahtook - LF||Jean Segura - 2B|
|Tim Beckham - 2B||Michael Bourn - CF|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Logan Morrison - 1B||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Steven Souza - RF||Welington Castillo - C|
|Desmond Jennings - CF||David Peralta - RF|
|Taylor Motter - SS||Yasmany Tomas - LF|
|Curt Casali - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Chris Archer - RHP||Robbie Ray - LHP|
After the energizing feat of being the first team in more than 10 months to beat Jake Arrieta, one wonders if that - plus the return of David Peralta from the DL - might help kickstart the Diamondbacks into action. Just might, mind you; I'll wait and see what happens this week, as we take on the two Florida teams before any pronouncement that reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. For now, it's the Rays, our expansion siblings from 1998. They are, to some extent, the franchise against whom I compare ourselves, having the same (lack of) history, though in other ways the situations have their differences (imagine if, say, Chase Field had been built in Gilbert...).
Over the 18+ seasons, the D-backs do have a better W-L record, being 57 games below an even record, compared to the Rays' 215. That has translated into a good few more divisional titles for us: Arizona has won five, Tampa just two, but they have also been wild-card winners on a couple of occasions, so they have only one fewer playoff appearance to their credit. Once there, the edge goes to us again: the only year the Rays won any series in the post-season was 2008, when they reached the World Series, before falling to the Phillies. We have 2001, and also our NLDS win over the Cubs in 2007. But they have been in the playoffs more recently, getting there in 2013.
Since then, however, neither team has managed to reach .500, though Tampa has had a better record in both 2014 and 2015 - albeit only one game ahead of Arizona last year. Thus far in 2016, it has been much the same: they come into this series with the same number of wins as the D-backs, but four fewer losses. As Nate mentioned in the preview, the Rays will be without Kevin Kiermaier, who has a broken hand - think roughly like that being the equivalent of us losing A.J. Pollock, since Kiermaier was a defensive wiz who was worth 7 bWAR last season. His absence is likely a good part of the reason why the Rays are 5-11 over their last 16 games, and I'm hopeful we can continue the slide.