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Preview, #56: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Miami Marlins

Let's go fishing!

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Gregor Blanco - CF Dee Gordon - 2B
Nick Ahmed - SS Giancarlo Stanton - RF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Christian Yelich - CF
Chris Owings - RF Marcell Ozuna - LF
Yasmany Tomas - LF Justin Bour - 1B
Brandon Drury - 2B J.T. Realmuto - C
Jake Lamb - 3B Derek Dietrich - 3B
Jeff Mathis - C J.T. Riddle - SS
Zack Greinke - RHP Jeff Locke - LHP

With the Dodgers having lost to the Cardinals already, there remains a slim chance that the D-backs could find themselves in sole possession of first place in the National League West this evening. However, that would depend not only on them beating the Marlins in the series opener, but the Rockies also losing in Seattle. And Colorado are currently ahead, so that would seem unlikely. Still, winning here would, at the very least, push the D-backs above the Dodgers and back into second place. But for right now, there's this, which I find pleasing both as an Arizona fan, and purely from an aesthetic perspective.

Greinke had a bit of a road-bump last time out, failing to get through six full innings for the first time since April 14, and tying a season high with five earned runs allowed. Still, considering that by this point in 2016, he had already delivered two of his four starts where he allowed seven or more earned runs, and entered June with a 4.71 ERA, there's no doubt about the significant improvement from him this season. The strikeouts are the most obvious improvement. Again, over his 11 outings to the end of May last year, Greinke had sixty K's. In the same number of appearances in 2017, he has 40% more strikeouts, with 84. Here's a full comparison:

  • 2016: 70.2 IP, 78 H, 37 R, 37 ER, 14 BB, 60 SO, 9 HR, 4.71 ERA
  • 2017: 72.1 IP, 58 H, 26 R, 26 ER, 14 BB, 84 SO, 11 HR, 3.24 ERA

The Marlins are on a bit of a roll, having won their last four straight, tying them with the Padres (!) for the longest active winning streak in the National League. They've outscored the opposition 30-7 over that time: counterpoint, though, three of those four wins came against the Phillies, who are 17-34, the worst record in the majors (and it's not even close. Their win percentage is .333; no-one else is below .400). The D-backs should certainly represent a much more significant test, and with the team's ace on the mound (though Robbie Ray's surge is making that a tight race), I think the D-backs will get the win and start the month by moving into second.