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Preview, #36: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Pittsburgh Pirates

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Tonight's contest will be rated "Arrrr..."

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

PITTSBURGH PIRATES ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Josh Harrison - 3B A.J. Pollock - CF
Francisco Cervelli - C David Peralta - RF
Andrew McCutchen - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Gregory Polanco - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
John Jaso - 1B Chris Owings - SS
Jose Osuna - LF Brandon Drury - 2B
Jordy Mercer - SS Daniel Descalso - LF
Gift Ngoepe - 2B Jeff Mathis - C
Gerrit Cole - RHP Zack Greinke - RHP

As Zavada's Mustache mentioned on Twitter, the D-backs are in a long stretch of the schedule, of which they really need to take advantage. Here's how things break down, with our opponents and their current records, from the beginning of this home-stand through June 20:

The Brewers are the only team of those listed, who currently possess a winning record: the majority of those games come against teams who are at a winning percentage of .412 or below (as a yardstick, the 2016 D-backs had a .426 W%, so we're talking sides who have thus far been worse than we were last season). This is a bit of a double-edged sword. Success here could create a "false dawn," where we approach the trade deadline in a playoff spot - but thanks as much to the weak schedule, as the team's strength. This could set the team into "buy" mode, only for the weaknesses to be exposed by the tougher schedule which follows.

We've seen these false dawns before: both in 2007 and 2011, unexpected success saw the front-office think that they had a window of opportunity, only for that to prove illusory. To a large extent, we're still recovering from those decisions. I'm hoping Mike Hazen is smarter than Kevin Towers and Josh Byrnes (I'm fairly confident he's not dumber than them both, put it that way!) and won't be fooled quite as easily. But if the team is out of a playoff spot on June 20, then to me, that's probably an indication this will not be the season, almost regardless of how close we are. Because looking at that schedule, we should be kicking enormous ass for the next six weeks.