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Preview #98: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals

The rubber game, and what promises to be a fine pitching match-up. So will probably be an 11-10 slugfest. :)

88th MLB All-Star Game Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Brian Goodwin - CF Daniel Descalso - LF
Wilmer Difo - LF Ketel Marte - 3B
Bryce Harper - RF David Peralta - RF
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Daniel Murphy - 2B Chris Owings - SS
Anthony Rendon - 3B Chris Herrmann - C
Adrian Sanchez - SS Brandon Drury - 2B
Jose Lobaton - C Gregor Blanco - CF
Stephen Strasburg - RHP Robbie Ray - LHP

It’ll be interesting to see how returning to normal-ish rest affects Robbie Ray this afternoon. For not having pitched even in the All-Star Game, his last start against the Reds came on 11 days rest, and it was notable that he only fanned four over six innings, his second-lowest total of the season (he had two strikeouts against Pittsburgh on May 14). The D-backs still got the win in Cincinnati, but Ray will probably need to have a better K:BB ratio than the 4:3 he delivered there, if he’s to have success against a considerably more stacked Washington line-up.

I suspect there will be plenty of K’s to be seen, with he and Stephen Strasburg second and fourth respectively in strikeouts per nine inning among qualifying pitchers (Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw are first and third respectively). The Diamondbacks currently rank third in the National League for strikeouts at the plate with 882. They tend to come in bunches: they’ve struck out ten or more times in a game on 43 occasions already, trailing only the Brewers. It has not generally been a good sign, though is perhaps less detrimental than you’d expect. Arizona has gone 20-23 in those contests with double-digit whiffs, better than the NL average, where the total record to date has been 190-276.

Bit of an interesting line-up for the D-backs, with no A.J. Pollock and no Jake Lamb. Ketel Marte gets only the second start of his major-league career at the hot corner: his first was on Independence Day in Los Angeles, and he was lifted there in the fifth inning, as part of a double-switch. At least we’ll have Goldschmidt back. Side note: last night’s big crowd at Chase Field pushed the attendance through 50 games above the figure at the same point last season. There’s no doubt the summer pass has done its job. I’ll have an article looking at that in more depth tonight, after we get the figures for today’s game.