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Preview #134: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

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A winning August is already in the bag. Which seemed very unlikely 11 days ago.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

LOS ANGELES DODGERS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Chris Taylor - SS Gregor Blanco - LF
Curtis Granderson - CF Chris Iannetta - C
Justin Turner - 3B Jake Lamb - 3B
Cody Bellinger - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Yasmani Grandal - C J.D. Martinez - RF
Yasiel Puig - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B Daniel Descalso - 2B
Logan Forsythe - 2B Ketel Marte - SS
Kenta Maeda - RHP Zack Greinke - RHP

On August 20th, after being swept by the Minnesota Twins, the Arizona Diamondbacks were 7-12 for the month. They looked all but certain to be enduring their second consecutive losing month, having gone 10-14 in July. But they have won eight of their last nine, and go into the final game of both August, and the regular season against the Dodgers, having already clinched a winning record at 15-13. With a clear three-game lead over the idle Colorado Rockies, a win at Chase Field this afternoon would guarantee them the holding onto the first wild-card spot through the weekend, even if they were to be swept at Coors.

Of course, we’d rather do a bit better than that, but it’s nice to have something of a cushion. Sweep Colorado in the upcoming series - the way this team has been playing, I wouldn’t bet against it - and we can probably all but start making plans for the wild-card game at Chase Field [I just went back and added “all but”. Hey, no point in taking chances, amIrite?] It’s remarkable what a difference less than 11 days makes in the outlook. After the Twins sweep, even the most optimistic of fans e.g. me, were feeling pangs of concern: the negative nabobs, of course, were in their element. I hardly dared go onto Twitter, to see the flood of “season over” posts.

But those whose faith (in run differential, perhaps more than a higher power) told them that this team was actually pretty good, have duly been rewarded. Victory here will level the season series at 8-8 (with the D-backs having outscored the Dodgers over those 16 games). That would send a message to Los Angeles, which seems even to have reached the Dodger fan at work: Arizona is a legitimate threat. At seven games long, it would also tie the mark for the team’s longest winning streak since almost exactly the same point in the 2011 season - we won nine straight from August 23-31 that year.

But can we please do it without any late-inning meltdowns? That’d be GREAT...