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Preview #155: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Miami Marlins

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Six years ago today, the team clinched their last post-season spot. Could it happen again tonight?

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks

Today's Lineups

MIAMI MARLINS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Dee Gordon - 2B David Peralta - LF
Giancarlo Stanton - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Christian Yelich - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Marcell Ozuna - LF J.D. Martinez - RF
Justin Bour - 1B Chris Iannetta - C
J.T. Realmuto - C Brandon Drury - 2B
Brian Anderson - 3B Jake Lamb - 3B
Miguel Rojas - SS Adam Rosales - SS
Dillon Peters - LHP Taijuan Walker - RHP

Everything could be decided by the end of tonight, though the D-backs would need some help. And even with that it’s almost certainly not going to happen until after the end of the game at Chase Field. The magic numbers to clinch both a post-season spot and home-field advantage are both down to two. If Arizona wins today, while St. Louis loses in Pittsburgh (first pitch shortly, at 4:10pm) and Colorado are beaten by San Diego (they get under way at Petco half an hour after us, at 5:40pm), we will be certain of playing the wild-card game at Chase Field on October 4. Defeat for the D-backs and... well, we’ll come back tomorrow and try again!

We’ll certainly be hoping for better results from our starting pitching than we’ve seen last time round the rotation. 0-for-5 in quality starts. Indeed, nobody got an out past the fifth inning OR allowed fewer than four earned runs, never mind both! The overall line in the past five games by our starters is this:
AZ rotation: 28.1 IP, 33 H, 26 R, 26 ER, 16 BB, 22 SO, 8.26 ERA
Yuck. Obviously, that ain’t going to fly in the post-season and would lead to a rapid exit - even though the D-backs are 2-3 in those games, having been only narrowly outscored by a 32-35 margin. But as ever, people need to look at the broader picture, not over-react to one bad start by our potential playoff rotation.

For what’s more likely: that the entire starting pitching staff have suddenly lost the talent which still has them the 2nd-best rotation in the majors? That hitters, who have been unable to figure them out for 512 months, suddenly and simultaneously cracked all the codes? Or that this is one of those random clusters of results that happen, and that the evidence of the previous 149 games, actually matters more than the last handful? It’s not as if we will be seeing the Padres or Marlins in the post-season. So even if they’ve broken the seal, they would need to be on the phone to their colleagues in Colorado and Los Angeles for it to matter. [Do players do that? I dunno]

The bottom line is, we are now in the happy situation where this team will be defined by what they do after Game 162. No-one will remember the series in San Diego where our starters got tattooed. If the same thing happens in the wild-card game, it will be that which decides the season, not some random late-season outing in Petco. Every starter will always have his bad days: in many ways, It’s far better for the team to get them all out of the way now.