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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #140: Rubby's return

Rubby De La Rosa takes the mound again, for the first time in what seems like forever.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Madison Bumgarner
LHP, 14-8, 2.51
Rubby De La Rosa
RHP, 4-5, 4.15
Denard Span - CF Jean Segura - 2B
Angel Pagan - LF Chris Owings - SS
Buster Posey - C A.J. Pollock - CF
Brandon Crawford - SS Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Hunter Pence - RF Welington Castillo - C
Brandon Belt - 1B Yasmany Tomas - RF
Joe Panik - 2B Brandon Drury - 3B
Eduardo Nunez - 3B Mitch Haniger - LF
Madison Bumgarner - LHP Rubby De La Rosa - RHP

Rubby De La Rosa makes his return to the Diamondbacks tonight at Chase Field, having missed about three and a half months. He last pitched on May 25, then went on the DL with an elbow problem. Fortunately, he appears to have avoided an encounter with Dr. James 'The Knife' Andrews, but he's going to be on a very limited pitch count tonight, probably somewhere around three innings and/or 50 pitches. Still, much like A.J. Pollock, it's simply good to see him back on the field, and we'll be more interested in him proving his health, with an eye on 2017, than necessarily on whether or not he puts up a bunch of zeroes tonight.

De La Rosa had an interesting season. He sucked at the beginning, so badly he ended up bumped to the bullpen after only a couple of starts. However, on his return to the rotation, he seemed to have figured it out, and over the six outings from there until he went on the DL, Rubby was our best starter, putting up a 2.92 ERA and striking out a batter per inning over 37 frames. But just when we were getting semi-confident, along came the dreaded "elbow soreness". Fingers crossed whatever ailed De La Rosa has indeed been addressed, because the level of performance he had been showing would certainly be very welcome in the rotation next year.

This probably counts as a crucial series for the Giants, who come into the game tonight just one-half game up on the Mets in the wild-card race, with the Cardinals lurking a further half-game back. Both of those other teams have been playing much better than the Giants of late. Mind you, so has the entire National League. After going into the break with the best record in the NL, San Francisco has the worst record in the second-half, two games worse than the Padres (and three worse than Arizona). It's one of the most remarkable turnarounds I can recall; I might have to crunch some numbers over the weekend and see if any side has a bigger change in W% between first and second halves than the Giants' .128 points.