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Preview #97: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals

Welcome to the show, Mr. Banda!

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Brian Goodwin - CF David Peralta - RF
Wilmer Difo - SS A.J. Pollock - CF
Bryce Harper - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Chris Iannetta - C
Daniel Murphy - 2B Daniel Descalso - 1B
Anthony Rendon - 3B Chris Owings - 2B
Matt Wieters - C Ketel Marte - SS
Ryan Raburn - LF Chris Herrmann - LF
Tanner Roark - RHP Anthony Banda - LHP

This afternoon, Anthony Banda will become the first pitcher of the year to make his major-league debut for the Diamondbacks. It’s quite remarkable we’re into late July before seeing such an event, and is more than a month later than in any previous campaign. As a contrast, in each of the last two seasons, we had three debutants before the month of April was over (Jake Barrett, Matt Buschmann and Zac Curtis in 2016; Archie Bradley, A.J. Schugel and Enrique Burgos in 2015). The previous latest in the season before we saw a brand-new pitcher for Arizona was in 2005, when the team got to June 20th before Brandon Medders arrived.

Banda’s start leaves the Dodgers as the only team not to have had a major-league debut on the mound this year. At the other end of the spectrum, both the Reds and the Rays have had eight pitchers make their first appearances for them in 2017 - seems to be working out better for the latter than the former! It is possible, but rare, to go the entire season n00b-free. From when we joined the league in 1998, through 2016, a dozen teams have done it, most recently in 2014 when Baltimore and Oakland went without any new pitchers. The D-backs have never had fewer than two, back in 2000 (Nelson Figueroa and Geraldo Guzman). The most is seven, done three times.

Our recent history with new starting pitchers had been pretty good: Andrew Chafin, Zack Godley and Archie Bradley all threw shutout ball, across a total of 17 innings. However, the most recent one ended that streak, as Braden Shipley was tagged for six earned runs by the Brewers, a little less than a year ago (July 25, 2016). The resulting Game Score of 28 was the worst debut by a starting pitcher for Arizona since Lance Cormier lasted only 1.1 innings, back in 2004. That year also gave us the worst-ever, Casey Daigle’s first game, where he allowed eight earned runs while retiring eight batters. (Game Score of 6). Here’s to MUCH better today from Banda!