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Preview #120: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Houston Astros

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Such an adorable little ballpark! :)

MLB: Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS HOUSTON ASTROS
Gregor Blanco - LF George Springer - CF
A.J. Pollock - CF Jose Altuve - 2B
Jake Lamb - 3B Josh Reddick - RF
Paul Goldschmidt - DH Yulieski Gurriel - 1B
J.D. Martinez - RF Marwin Gonzalez - SS
Daniel Descalso - 1B Carlos Beltran - DH
Chris Iannetta - C Alex Bregman - 3B
Ketel Marte - SS Juan Centeno - C
Brandon Drury - 2B Derek Fisher - LF
Taijuan Walker - RHP Charlie Morton - RHP

I seem to recall getting flak from Astros fans a previous time the D-backs played in Houston. It was largely a result of calling their ballpark “fun-sized”, following a game in 2015 where they hit a 358 ft home-run to left-field, that would have ONLY got out of the park there. I was wondering if this year’s Astros’ offensive powerhouse was largely the result of such cheap shots, but they’ve actually hit more home-runs away from Minute Maid Park, by a 99 to 90 margin. That home-tally is only three more than the Diamondbacks have hit at Chase Field, so it doesn’t appear there is too much grounds to complain. Though any more 358-footers and I reserve the right to do so, anyway!

This afternoon, we get to see Paul Goldschmidt as the designated hitter. It’ll be his fifth appearance in that role, and the previous results have been... okay, I suppose. He has gone 4-for-16, with a home-run and two walks. Daniel Descalso gets to start at 1B, and Gregor Blanco is in left, replacing the paternally-absent David Peralta. Blanco is batting leadoff, with Pollock behind him, which seems to have been the way of late. Pollock’s last game hitting on top of the order was almost a month ago, on July 18. Since then, it has been mostly #2, with a smattering of #3.

It is worth remembering though, that batting order does not matter as much as we perhaps think it does. The difference between the best and worst possible orders has generally been figured out to be 5-15 runs over the course of a season - and that worst one, is so ludicrous, it would never be applied. It’s likely the difference between normal and best-optimized, is a handful of runs at most. Nice to have, but not worth worrying too much about. Those mounting a campaign to have Goldschmidt batting third or whatever might want to find better things to do...