|SAN DIEGO PADRES||ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS|
|Manuel Margot - CF||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Erick Aybar - SS||David Peralta - RF|
|Wil Myers - 1B||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Yangervis Solarte - 2B||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Hunter Renfroe - RF||Yasmany Tomas - LF|
|Ryan Schimpf - 3B||Chris Herrmann - C|
|Allen Cordoba - LF||Chris Owings - 2B|
|Luis Torrens - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Jered Weaver - RHP||Taijuan Walker - RHP|
I'm hoping this series doesn't follow the template of the one in San Diego. The D-backs took the first game easily, only to suffer a dispiriting loss late in the penultimate one (losing to Aybar's homer), then rolling over in the final contest, and giving the Padres the series. After cruising through the first two games here, I'm hoping last night's road-bump doesn't lead to the team falling flat this evening, and letting the Padres escape with a split. That would give them a winning record against the D-backs over the first seven games, and that's not the behavior you expect from a team which, right now, is trying to convince us they're in contention.
Indeed, as mentioned in a Snake Bytes comment, victory tonight would move us on top of the NL West, because the Rockies already lost today, getting thrashed again by the Nationals. That augurs well for Arizona, as Colorado will be coming in to Phoenix for their three game series, with the bullpen already taxed: meanwhile, we'll have an extra arm for the next week-plus, due to the promotion of T.J. McFarland for the moment, to replace Shelby Miller (or if you prefer, last night's starter, Zack Godley). Overtaking the Rockies before they get here would certainly be a psychological boost in the last series of April - which is looking more significant than most people would have expected!
Walker missed the Padres entirely last time: his opening four starts have been evenly divided against the Padres and Giants. Thus far, he seems to have struggled a bit at Chase, with his ERA here a hefty 6.17, compared to 2.70 on the road - though his K:BB is better at home (13:2 vs. 9:5). It has mostly been the extra-base hits which have done Walker in: opponents are slugging .563 in Phoenix, compared to .300 elsewhere. Avoid that kind of hard contact here, and we should - fingers crossed, and also Fernando Rodney permitting - be on the way to ending the evening on top of the National League West.