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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #148: No hope, no expectations

Games until the blessed end of the season: 15.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Brock Stewart
RHP, 1-2, 6.55
Shelby Miller
RHP, 2-11, 6.91
Chase Utley - 2B Jean Segura - 2B
Corey Seager - SS Chris Owings - SS
Justin Turner - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B Jake Lamb - 3B
Josh Reddick - RF Welington Castillo - C
Joc Pederson - CF Yasmany Tomas - RF
Andrew Toles - LF Brandon Drury - LF
Carlos Ruiz - C Mitch Haniger - CF
Brock Stewart - RHP Shelby Miller - RHP

It's a Shelby Miller start. Those have not traditionally gone well for Arizona. There have been only five wins for Arizona this year in a Miller appearance, and all but of those have come against teams with a current record of 70-77 or worse (two vs. Colorado, plus Philadelphia and Atlanta). The sole exception was the game against the San Francisco Giants on April 21, and he was removed there after walking five batters in two innings. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned there: throw him at the start of the game, and have a very quick hook, with a long reliever ready to go from the beginning. Of course, this approach would likely only work in September, with expanded rosters.

Miller hasn't won a game since his first start after coming back up from the minors, when he beat the Phillies on June 20. His six starts since then have seen him go 0-5 with an 8.35 ERA, so all the talk about Miller being :"fixed" in some way, is clearly just that: talk. Admittedly, he has not been helped by the .419 BABIP put up over those six outings, but a line-drive rate of 34% tells you hitters have been having little or no problem making solid contact with his pitches. As mentioned on Twitter, he has a decent shot - in that his current ERA would do it - at having the highest ERA by an NL pitchers with at least 20 starts since 1930, this being start #18 for Shelby.

So, it has come to this. I am not going to make any effort to watch this game. I'll be following on Twitter, purely so I know when to go and post the quick recap. But there are simply too many superior entertainment possibilities, and the odds of Miller providing anything but a dispiriting and disappointing experience are too long, even given the obvious "You can't predict baseball" factor. Specifically three quality starts in 17 outings is not the sort of thing to inspire confidence, and I suspect walk-up traffic at the box-office for tonight's game at Chase Field is going to be perilously light. Pretty sure far more people will be there to get a David Peralta bobblehead than to see Miller pitch.