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Preview #101: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves

The part of Jamie Garcia will be played this afternoon by Aaron Blair.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Ender Inciarte - CF Gregor Blanco - LF
Brandon Phillips - 2B A.J. Pollock - CF
Freddie Freeman - 1B Jake Lamb - 3B
Matt Kemp - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Tyler Flowers - C J.D. Martinez - RF
Sean Rodriguez - RF Daniel Descalso - 2B
Johan Camargo - 3B Ketel Marte - SS
Dansby Swanson - SS Jeff Mathis - C
Aaron Blair - RHP Patrick Corbin - LHP

Jamie Garcia = now a Twin. As a result, we will be seeing a somewhat known face on the mound for Atlanta, in the shape of former D-backs prospect Aaron Blair. Indeed, this afternoon we’ll get to see all three of the players that we traded to the Braves for Shelby Miller. Ender Inciarte starts for them in center, and Dansby Swanson gets his well-coiffured locks off the bench for a rare start at short. It’s not the first time Blair has been on Garcia Trade Watch. His last minor-league start was canceled, and he hovered in the wings in case he was needed to pitch in Los Angeles. The deal took a little longer to complete, so here we now are.

It’ll be Blair’s 2017 debut, after a 2016 rookie campaign that struggled to reach even the level of disappointing. He was not able to get a win over his first 12 starts in the majors, going 0-6 with an 8.23 ERA. Aaron finally got that monkey off his back in September, finishing the season at 2-7 and a 7.59 ERA. But his numbers in the minors this year have gone in the wrong direction, compared to what he posted in 2016. Over 18 starts there, he has a 4.86 ERA, and his K:BB ratio has dropped to 1.70. Blair should at least be well-rested, since he hasn’t started since July 15, though got a relief inning in on Sunday to keep the rust off.

Part of me wants to see Aaron do well, not least because his dad used to hang out here - he was traded to Talking Chop. But this is not the time for sentimentality. It’s the time for series wins. After today, the Diamondbacks enter arguably the toughest stretch of the schedule, with 17 of their next 20 games against teams above .500 and with serious playoff aspirations. It’s a spell which could make or break their season, and losing a series at home to a sub-.500 opponent would not be the way you want to go into this critical three weeks.