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Preview #81: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies

We reach the official half-way point of the season tonight at Chase Field, opening an important week of games for the D-backs division hopes.

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - CF Gregor Blanco - CF
Ian Desmond - LF David Peralta - RF
Nolan Arenado - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Mark Reynolds - 1B Jake Lamb - 3B
Trevor Story - SS Chris Owings - SS
Pat Valaika - 2B Brandon Drury - 2B
Raimel Tapia - RF Daniel Descalso - LF
Ryan Hanigan - C Chris Herrmann - C
Jon Gray - RHP Robbie Ray - LHP

I think it's safe to say the team is doing far better than anyone would have expected as we reach the half-way point. A win tonight would give the Diamondbacks' their best-ever record to this point, surpassing the 50-31 mark which they had in 2001. And we all know how that season ended. This next week will be a very solid test of the team's credentials, as they face the two main divisional rivals, against whom they have gone a combined 8-8 this year. They have actually had the edge on the Dodgers so far, at 4-3, which they trail the Rockies 4-5, despite having won the most recent series, earlier this month in Coors Field.

It feels like the Diamondbacks should have the edge, even if the Rockies have also posted their best mark in franchise history to the half-way point - they haven't even been above .500 since 2010, so this is definitely novel territory in recent seasons. Jon Grey may have been Colorado's starter on Opening Day, but he has not pitched in the majors since April 11, due to a stress fracture in his foot. There will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders, particularly due to Colorado's eight-game losing streak coming into tonight. It's not difficult to imagine a delicious scenario where they lose tonight, and that completes the breaking of the Rockies, which we started by outscoring them 26-8 over the last two games at Coors.

That said, Ray's last couple of outings have not been as stellar as we have seen, even though they both came against the weak sauce of the Phillies. Over 11.2 innings, he had a K:BB ratio of 12:8, and an ERA of 4.63. That's a far cry from the five which preceded it, where the same figures were 37 IP, a K:BB of 48:9 and an ERA of 0.24. But his season figure of 2.87 is still the lowest by any qualifying D-backs pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2004; since then, Ian Kennedy in 2011 is the only one even to be below a three ERA. A good start tonight, would be a nice full stop before he perhaps finds himself on the National League All-Star roster Sunday night.