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Preview #104: Arizona Diamondbacks @ St. Louis Cardinals

Zack Greinke looks to extend the team’s zero ERA streak

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
David Peralta - LF Matt Carpenter - 1B
A.J. Pollock - CF Tommy Pham - LF
Jake Lamb - 3B Paul DeJong - SS
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Jedd Gyorko - 3B
J.D. Martinez - RF Yadier Molina - C
Daniel Descalso - 2B Kolten Wong - 2B
Ketel Marte - SS Randal Grichuk - RF
Jeff Mathis - C Harrison Bader - CF
Zack Greinke - RHP Mike Leake - RHP

It seems almost unfair that we have an ERA of 0.00 in this series, but are 1-1 so far. It’s the first time since Sep 18-19, 2015 that the Diamondbacks have not allowed an earned run in consecutive games. But it’s only the fourth time in franchise history that they’ve done it in consecutive games and split those two contests. Here are the previous three occasions.

  • Aug 21-22, 2014: Lost 0-1 in Washington, beat San Diego 5-1
  • July 5-6, 2003: Lost 0-2, won 2-1 in Los Angeles
  • May 15-16, 1998: Beat Pittsburgh 3-1, lost 3-6

One good omen is, all three previous occasions, we went out and won the following game. Doing so today, guaranteeing ourselves at least a split of this series on the road, would be great - I don’t mind if we allow a run or two, providing we get the victory! Though it would be nice to set a franchise record and go three consecutive games without allowing an earned run. That doesn’t happen often, the last time being when the Dodgers shutout-swept the Padres to open 2016. Got some way to go to reach the modern era record of five, most recently by the 1985 Orioles (the Reds went seven back in 1914, but it was during what was called the “dead-ball era” for good reason!).

Greinke would be the man to do it, having lowered his ERA to the point where it now sits at 2.92. Adjusted for era, his ERA+ of 161 has been bettered only by two qualifying Diamondbacks pitchers: Brandon Webb in 2003. Plus Randy Johnson in 1999. And 2000. And 2001. And 2002. And 2004. Robbie Ray isn’t far behind, at 151, and the Greinke/Ray pairing is looking good to become the third best 1-2 punch in any season of the history of the team. Here are the top 5 seasons, by added ERA+ among qualifying D-backs:

  1. 2001: 345 - Randy Johnson (188) + Curt Schilling (157)
  2. 2002: 335 - Randy Johnson (195) + Curt Schilling (140)
  3. 2003: 324 - Brandon Webb (165) + Curt Schilling (159)
  4. 2017: 312 - Zack Greinke (161) + Robbie Ray (151)
  5. 2008: 278 - Brandon Webb (140) + Dan Haren (138)