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Preview #145: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies

Suns night at Chase Field tonight. I hope it’s not infectious.

Kings v Suns X

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - CF David Peralta - LF
DJ LeMahieu - 2B Chris Iannetta - C
Carlos Gonzalez - RF Jake Lamb - 3B
Nolan Arenado - 3B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Gerardo Parra - LF J.D. Martinez - RF
Trevor Story - SS A.J. Pollock - CF
Mark Reynolds - 1B Daniel Descalso - 2B
Jonathan Lucroy - C Ketel Marte - SS
Jon Gray - RHP Taijuan Walker - RHP

Diamondbacks post-season magic number: 12

Diamondbacks home-field magic number: 15

Diamondbacks division anti-magic number: 10

The Diamondbacks have been to the post-season more recently than the Suns - and the latter team play in a league where more than half the teams reach the playoffs. It is literally harder to miss the post-season in the NBA than to reach it. And the Phoenix Suns have managed to miss out seven seasons in a row, finishing this most recent campaign with a 24-58 record, the worst in the Western Conference. Yeah, with the Coyotes on a five-year playoff-free run, and the Cardinals season apparently in the dumpster almost as soon as it began, the D-backs look increasingly likely to be the only serious pro game in town for Arizona sports fans (sorry, Rattlers and Mercury).

But there’s nothing wrong with a little cross-promotion. The team had Coyotes Night just last week - it was Friday night, which was also SnakePitFest - and follows that up with Suns Night tonight. That means players Alan Williams, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and Tyler Ulis will be in attendance, along with head coach Earl Watson. The Suns dancers and their mascot, the Suns Gorilla will also be at the park. Do have to say, I like the Gorilla. It makes no real sense, of course - it stemmed from a Gorillagram delivered to the Vet during a timeout in 1980 - but it grew organically, and so works when more manufactured mascots (the Suns tried a sunflower at one point!) have failed.

Taijuan Walker has an ERA of 0.79 over his last four starts, though I can’t say it has felt like it. They have been kinda short, totaling only 22.2 innings, and there have been 18 hits and 8 walks in that time, for a WHIP of 1.15, which is not particularly outstanding. That only two of those base-runners came around to score is the more impressive feat. Given one of them was a home-run, it’s a strand-rate of 97.6%; league average is generally somewhere in the low-to-mid seventies. Walker has clearly been doing very well, but it’s probably not sustainable. I’ll be happier if he doesn’t allow as many base-runners at all tonight.