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Preview, #90: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Atlanta Braves

The D-backs make their first trip to the new Braves’ park.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

A.J. Pollock - CF Ender Inciarte - CF
David Peralta - RF Brandon Phillips - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Freddie Freeman - 3B
Jake Lamb - 3B Matt Kemp - LF
Chris Owings - SS Nick Markakis - RF
Brandon Drury - 2B Matt Adams - 1B
Daniel Descalso - LF Tyler Flowers - C
Jeff Mathis - C Johan Camargo - SS
Taijuan Walker - RHP R.A. Dickey - RHP

It’s a billion-dollar facilty, by the time you include “The Battery”, the entertainment district around the stadium. About $400 million came from public financing, mostly from bonds and transportation taxes. In an echo of the way Chase Field was financed, this sizable chunk of taxpayers’ money was never approved by a vote, going through solely on the say-so of the five-person county commission. Reviews for various events there are a bit mixed - check out comments here, for instance, and you’ll see locals are divided on the park’s merits. Some of that is simply teething troubles, as with any new venue. But aspects such as the narrow concourses are harder to fix.

Another interesting quirk: it won’t be an issue the rest of the series, but weekday games such as tonight don’t start until the late hour of 7:35pm, in a concession to the horrendous rush-hour traffic. Though small sample size warnings apply, with only 42 games to go by, so far the park is playing fractionally hitter-friendly by ESPN’s park factors, coming in 12th overall, but is classed as virtually neutral by, (99 for both hitters and pitchers). I’ve heard rumblings (but I can’t recall the source immediately) about Pitch f/X not being terribly accurate there. We’ll see if this affects @DiamondbacksUmp.

Hopefully, the D-backs will be able to get off to a good start in the second half. They’ll be looking for better from Walker, whose last start in the first half, was the worst of his season by Game Score. If I was a neutral, it would be fun as ever to watch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey work. Though from the D-backs’ hitters perspective, I’m not sure “fun” is necessarily the phrase they’ll be using. Hopefully they can handle the weirdness and not get embarrassed, in the way knuckleballers sometimes managed to do to opposing hitters. A win would certainly help settle the nerves, after back-to-back series losses against the Reds and Dodgers.