|Jean Segura - SS||Chase Utley - 2B|
|Brandon Drury - 2B||Corey Seager - SS|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Justin Turner - 3B|
|Rickie Weeks - LF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Welington Castillo - C||Howie Kendrick - LF|
|Yasmany Tomas - RF||Yasmani Grandal - C|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Andrew Toles - RF|
|Chris Owings - CF||Joc Pederson - CF|
|Braden Shipley - RHP||Scott Kazmir - LHP|
Tankapalooza 2016 continues. The Arizona Diamondbacks are still in fifth, but the gap has closed appreciably on everyone ahead of them, since the Braves, Twins, Rays and Reds all won yesterday, and all but the Braves have won their last two games. As a result, Arizona sits one-half game behind the Reds and one game back of the Rays when play started today. Both sides are level with the D-backs in the loss column, and if results go Arizona’s way today, we could be in a tie for third spot. Our form continues to be among the very worst, having won only six of the last 27 games. We did have an equal streak to that, overlapping the end of 2013 into the beginning of 2014, but you’ve got to go back to 2004 to find anything worse than 6-21.
Will Braden Shipley be the answer tonight? His major-league debut looked rough, but that was mostly due to Chip Hale leaving him out there to surrender a three-run homer, making his final line worse than it seemed. I can kinda see the point: might as well see if the kid can work his way out of trouble. But, on the other hand, the result won’t have done very much for Shipley’s self-confidence, coming as it did in front of friends and family. There were positives to be taken away, and his curveball in particular looked very nice, so we’ll see whether Braden has been quenched by the experience, and builds the lessons learned into his performance this evening. We can use all the starting pitching help we can get.
The same goes for the bullpen though, whose struggles yesterday were woefully apparent to all who experienced that seventh inning. The bullpen in July now has an ERA of 5.94, the highest for a month since the hell which was the 2010 bullpen. They had a 6.54 ERA over then first month, then managed to get worse, and spiked to an all-time franchise record of 8.56 for May. So, this season looks like an entire relief corps of Cy Young winners in comparison. But it does leave an enormous set of question-marks with regard to 2017. Jake Barrett and Randall Delgado are the only men we’ve tried, still in the organization, who have a major-league ERA better than four. I’m seeing rather too many sixes. The remaining two months may, in effect, be open tryouts: if so, last night’s meltdowns may not be the final one experienced.