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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #138: SuperSize Roster

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The Diamondbacks will have 33 players available for tonight's game in Los Angeles. But will it make any difference?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Shelby Miller
RHP, 2-10, 6.81
https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/2587041/lad.png
Ross Stripling
RHP, 3-6, 4.15
Jean Segura - 2B Chase Utley - 2B
Chris Owings - SS Corey Seager - SS
A.J. Pollock - CF Justin Turner - 3B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Adrian Gonzalez - 1B
Jake Lamb - 3B Yasmani Grandal - C
Welington Castillo - C Josh Reddick - RF
Yasmany Tomas - RF Joc Pederson - CF
Brandon Drury - LF Andrew Toles - LF
Shelby Miller - RHP Ross Stripling - RHP

Certainly, this line-up looks very much a standard 25-man roster line-up. That's likely what we'd expect, given manager Chip Hale's comments: "You want to give the teams that are in it the best that you have. I’ll manage (in-game) no different than I do against the Padres, but maybe some of the starters we would give off against the teams that aren’t in it." That might not mean very much playing time for the likes of Mitch Haniger, Peter O'Brien, etc. Because, of the Diamondbacks' 25 remaining games, the majority (16) are against teams likely to be in the playoff hunt. There's six against San Diego and three versus Colorado, and that's it.

The main difference may be the expanded possibilities for late-inning changes. I'd expect to see more managing of match-ups, with additional left-handed options available out of the D-backs bullpen, and we could also see more pinch-hit appearances. For instance, now we have three catchers, with the return of Chris Herrmann, the thorny issue of needing to keep a backup around, in case of injury, becomes less problematic. Of course, things may change toward the end of September, for example the series against the Nationals and Orioles, as those teams could have clinched their spots, which would relieve Hale of the ethical need to put out his best team.

Meanwhile, tonight also brings Shelby Miller's second start, and it promises to be a more challenging test than his first against the woeful Giants. For that was against a team which, over the past seven games dating back to the beginning of the series against the Diamondbacks, is hitting a collective .146 with a combined .458 OPS. That's basically little more than pitcher-level offense. At time of writing, they haven't managed more than four hits in a game on this road-trip, and they play contest #6 tonight. We saw last night what the Dodgers could do to a decent pitcher. Tonight, we'll see if Miller's first outing was a mirage, or the start of the rest of his career.