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Preview, #30: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Washington Nationals


Michael Steele/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

A.J. Pollock - CF Trea Turner - SS
Chris Owings - RF Jayson Werth - LF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Bryce Harper - RF
Jake Lamb - 3B Ryan Zimmerman - 1B
Chris Herrmann - LF Daniel Murphy - 2B
Chris Iannetta - C Anthony Rendon - 3B
Daniel Descalso - 2B Michael Taylor - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS Jose Lobaton - C
Braden Shipley - RHP Max Scherzer - RHP

The first of four early morning road games for the D-backs on the schedule this year. It's not quite the earliest - that would be the 9:10am Arizona start, for the August 24th game in New York against the Mets - but I'm not exactly happy about having to write a preview before having had my coffee... Take grumpiness as read, will you?

The D-backs sent Jeremy Hazelbaker to Triple-A to make way for today's starting pitcher Shipley. It's not too much of a surprise that they would prefer to hold onto T.J. McFarland as an extra relief pitcher, with a series in Coors coming up next - and the not-impossible concept of Shipley being out of the game relatively early today. It does leave the bench thin on outfielders, with Chris Herrmann now the "fourth" outfielder - and starting in left here. We do have Owings and Brandon Drury with experience. Though not sure how available the latter would be today, having been lifted from yesterday's game due to the dreaded "flu-like symptoms".

With hindsight, given his performance, it might have been better if he had been lifted from the line-up before first pitch. But I guess it's one of those difficult choices for a coach: it's rare any player is going to tell you how much sickness is really impacting their performance, so you have to try and gauge the truth, while weighing up the available options. Goldschmidt is still likely to be the D-backs best option at first-base, providing you can find a pulse, for instance. Interesting also to note that Tomas is not playing today: could be a scheduled day off, or could be in response to his imitation of a sad Pierrot after botching his outfield play in the third inning.

Won't be easy today, going up against Scherzer, whose numbers thus far have been virtually in line with what he did last year, when he won the NL Cy Young award. If we're to take the series, we'll need to play significantly better, in just about all aspects, than we did yesterday. But I was expecting this to be a tough series, and we've already got the anticipated win under our belt, so if we can take today, and with it the set, that would definitely be a case of surpassing expectations.