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Preview, #5: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cleveland Indians

A Shelby Miller start. But will Shelby Miller v.2017 be better than Shelby Miller v.2016?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Carlos Santana - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Francisco Lindor - SS David Peralta - RF
Michael Brantley - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Edwin Encarnacion - 1B Jake Lamb - 3B
Jose Ramirez - 2B Yasmany Tomas - LF
Yandy Diaz - 3B Brandon Drury - 2B
Tyler Naquin - CF Chris Iannetta - C
Yan Gomes - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Josh Tomlin - RHP Shelby Miller - RHP

If any player opened eyes in spring training, it might have been Miller. At the same point in the 2016 season, his four-seam fastball was averaging 93.5 mph. But in March this year, Brooks Baseball had it more than three mph higher, at 96.7 mph. This led to outings like his appearance on St. Patrick's Day, where he worked 3.1 innings, and struck out eight batters. Overall, he threw 15.1 innings this spring, and struck out 22 batters, putting Miller up among the best pre-season K-rates by any pitcher. Also cause for hope, he only walked six, so the K's weren't at the expense of accuracy.

That was, of course, the pre-season. But if Miller can translate that into anything like similar success now the games count, he'll be in a much better place than last year - and so will the Diamondbacks. The lower half of this line-up has changed a bit from yesterday, with no survivors below Jake Lamb.

  • Tomas replaces Chris Herrmann at LF
  • Drury replaces Daniel Descalso at 2B
  • Ianetta replaces Jeff Mathis at C
  • Ahmed replaces Chris Owings at SS

The Indians come in, having steam-rollered the Rangers, scoring 21 runs as they swept Texas in a three-game set. I suspect they are likely to present a tougher challenge than the Giants, particularly in the bullpen department. We'll probably need to score more than one run over the first three innings of this series, if Arizona are going to pull off another upset.