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Preview, #25: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies

Welcome to Phoenix, Rockies. Have a miserable weekend.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - CF A.J. Pollock - CF
Trevor Story - SS Chris Owings - SS
Nolan Arenado - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Carlos Gonzalez - RF Yasmany Tomas - LF
Mark Reynolds - 1B Brandon Drury - 2B
Gerardo Parra - LF David Peralta - RF
Pat Valaika - 2B Chris Iannetta - C
Dustin Garneau - C Daniel Descalso - 3B
Kyle Freeland - LHP Robbie Ray - LHP

It's kinda amusing that the 4-5-6 in the Rockies line-up used to be part of the D-backs organization, while the 7-8 in ours were recently with Colorado. No, it doesn't mean anything, as the battle for the top of the NL West kicks in - with just a half-game between the sides, whoever wins the series will leave in sole possession of first place. I'm feeling optimistic that will be Arizona: it feels like we have the edge in every pitching match-up, and the Rockies are doing their usual "can't hit for crap away from Coors" thing, with a road line of .233/.298/.376. [Admittedly, that's actually rather better than the D-backs' road line - but we're playing at home]

As mentioned in a series preview comment, we've got momentum, with Colorado having been shredded by the Nationals. Their bullpen is in desperate need of a night off, so Freeland may be out there for seven innings, even if his arm falls off, and he's forced to use it like a lacrosse stick, slingshoting pitches to the batter. The D-backs get Drury back, and that's good, as he's one of many who have been en fuego on this homestand, going 7-for-16 with a 1.134 OPS, before having to sit out last night with a slightly balky knee. All seems well, fortunately. Jake Lamb sits, Descalso starting at third. But hard to complain about a line-up where the lowest average, one through six, is .308 and with all OPS+ above 100.

Ray was a bit below his best in his last outing, allowing five runs over 5.1 innings against the Dodgers, and benefiting from a good slice of offensive support. His strikeout rate has been stellar, at 11.4 per nine innings, but he's walking far too many people. His BB rate, of 5.32 per nine, ranks him 101st among the 102 qualified pitchers, ahead only of the Mets' Kevin Gausmann (5.63). So far, Ray's ERA (3.42) has managed to under-perform his FIP (3.86, which is actually the highest mark of any of our regular starters), but sooner or later, those free passes are going to start crossing home-plate. Not allowing them on base to begin with, is likely the best defense.