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Preview, #33: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies

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The rubber match, and a .500 road trip is also on the line. But pitching isn't easy in Coors.

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS COLORADO ROCKIES
Gregor Blanco - CF Charlie Blackmon - CF
David Peralta - RF DJ LeMahieu - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Ian Desmond - LF
Jake Lamb - 3B Carlos Gonzalez - RF
Chris Owings - 2B Mark Reynolds - 1B
Daniel Descalso - LF Trevor Story - SS
Chris Herrmann - C Pat Valaika - 3B
Nick Ahmed - SS Dustin Garneau - C
Taijuan Walker - RHP Tyler Chatwood - RHP

Bit of a tipping point here. A win today will give us the series against the Rockies, bring us back to one-half a game behind them in the National League West and give us a .500 road-trip, playing against a pair of division-leading teams. Defeat? That would be consecutive series losses, 2.5 games behind (and possibly dropping into third place, if the Dodgers compete the sweep of the Padres) and a 2-4 road-trip. That would obviously be less satisfactory. The win will need to begin from the front, after Patrick Corbin gave us far and away our worst start of the season yesterday. It had a Game Score of 14, which was exactly half the next-worst (Zack Greinke vs. LAD on 4/14).

However, that we had to wait until the 32nd game for a real stinker like Saturday, indicates how far the D-backs rotation has come. Last year, we had our first one on Opening Day (Greinke’s 17), and ended up with nine whuch had a Game Score of 20 or below. Admittedly, Coors Field doesn’t help. Our historical staff ERA against the other NL West teams in their current parks is actually very similar: AT&T + Petco = 3.76, Dodger Stadium = 3.75. But Coors? Getting up towards two runs worse, at 5.66. After 170 attempts, we have never had a starter pitch a complete-game shutout there, not even in the days when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were there.

Ironically, the highest Game Score we’ve had in Coors was also by Corbin - the May 20 start in 2013, where he tossed a complete game of three-hit ball, allowing one run (the last of our three CGs in Denver - the others, perhaps surprisingly, belonging to Omar Daal and Armando Reynoso). That was the outing after which Todd Helton called Corbin’s slider the best he’d ever seen, and Helton faced the Big Unit 50 times in his career, so knows good sliders. But we haven’t seen a D-backs starter have an outing of more than six innings pitched in Coors, without a run scored and that hasn’t happened since Ian Kennedy in 2010.

Fingers cross for Walker breaking the streak today.