We WON!!! Ahhhh, it feels good doesn’t it? The summer heat has passed and the weather is getting nicer in the Valley of the Sun. Winning baseball is upon us, and one crazy game is now set for Chase Field on October 4th, 2017. The six year wait to return to the post season may have felt like an eternity, but to me, it was more than worth it because this team has been, and will continue to be, a group that is really easy to root for. I was fortunate enough to attend the game yesterday, and I can say unequivocally that it was my favorite Diamondback game I have ever attended.
What’s more, is this is the type of season that will remain with fans forever, and will be the cornerstone of coffee shop debates amongst fans for years to come. This is the type of season that you will always remember where you were in your life, and what you were doing because there have been so many amazing moments to bask in. I personally will be having a daughter in the coming days, and will always correlate these good times as a fan, with even better times as a father-to-be. I will one day be able to share these times and experiences with my daughter, in the same way that I was able to share them with my wife this year. And so this is true for you all. Enjoy this time because it is not frequent that you have a team that is so good, AND is easy to root for, AND are a good bunch of guys. So, let’s see what we can expect from the final home stand of 2017!
Wild Card Update
Now that we have not only clinched a wild card spot, but also clinched hosting rights, the only thing left to determine is who will be facing. There are three teams left in the hunt for a playoff spot (technically four, but the Cubs have all but locked up the division) in the National League. The Rockies have the inside track on the second wild card spot with a 2 game lead as of today. But they also have to face the Dodgers one more time this year, so that sucks for them. But, the Cardinals and Brewers don’t have a cake walk to the finish either. The Cardinals will face the Cubs and the Brewers to end the year, so it will take a solid six game stretch for them to remain in the hunt. The following are the standings for these three teams and the second wild card spot.
- Colorado Rockies: ---
- Milwaukee Brewers: -2.0 games
- St. Louis Cardinals: -2.5 games
It should be an interesting week to end the season for these three teams fighting for one measly spot, and the “right” to fight in a one game playoff on the road. What I am rooting for now, that the Dbacks spot is cemented, is for the remaining three teams to finish the regular season with identical records. I haven’t looked into what kind of tie breaker scenarios and play-in games would have to occur, but I do know that it would force the winner to play a lot of stress-filled baseball with a lot of travel in a few short days before coming to AZ.
Torrey Lovulo has made it very apparent that he has asked all of the players to finish the season on a strong note, and not coast in to the playoffs. This seems especially imperative with a winner moves on playoff game looming a little more than a week from now. So I would expect to not see too many days off, but perhaps a few here and there, and maybe even some half games from our stars. As for the pitching rotation, it appears unaltered at the moment, and here is how the pitching matchups look for the coming week:
- Game 1: Johnny Cueto (7-8, 4.49 ERA, 136.1 IP, 126 K’s) vs. Zack Godley (8-8, 3.20 ERA, 149 IP, 158 K’s)
- Game 2: Matt Moore (6-14, 5.20 ERA, 173 IP, 148 K’s) vs. Robbie Ray (14-5, 2.95 ERA, 155.1 IP, 212 K’s)
- Game 3: Jeff Samardzija (9-15, 4.51 ERA, 201.2 IP, 201 K’s) vs. Zack Greinke (17-6, 3.18 ERA, 198.1 IP, 211 K’s)
What is interesting here, is that the Dbacks may alter the rotation a little bit to work around the timing of the Wild Card game, and who will be pitching at what time. Greinke will likely remain as the starter on Wednesday, since Thursday is an off day. But they could push him back to pitch the series opener in Kansas City to put him on track for normal rest for the Wild Card game. Same thing goes for Ray. They are likely looking at a possible scenario of Ray pitching game 1 of the NLDS in Los Angeles, which would start on Friday October 7th. Now, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves in thinking that we will get there, but it is better to plan for it, rather than be unprepared going in. So, Ray could feasibly pitch Tuesday this week, and then pitch the final game of the year on 4 days rest (normal rest), which would set him up to pitch game 1 of the NLDS on 4 days rest as well.
The other thing that we can look out for this series, and the rest of the year for that matter, are some milestones that players could reach by season’s end. Here are some of the records or thresholds that may be achieved in the coming days:
- 6 RBI from both Goldy and Just Dingers would give them each career bests in that category. 126 and 103, respectively.
- 2 HR from Jake Lamb would give him 30 on the year, and a new career best.
- 1 RBI from Daniel Descalso would give him 50 on the year, and a career best.
- 3 RBI form A.J. Pollock would give him 200 for his career.
I think that the Dbacks will take two of three from the Giants who are still having a tough year. So, while the Dbacks have nothing left to fight for in the regular season (other than remaining fresh for the playoffs), I think they will continue to play their starter and should roll to a series win. Hopefully these next seven days help the MVP case for Paul Goldschmidt, and an entirely possible player of the month award for J.D. Martinez. I will still be watching and rooting on my team, because I know that winter is coming, and I want to take in as much baseball as possible (which hopefully lasts deep into October).
I am uncertain of how the playoff preview situation will pan out, so I wanted to thank all of you for letting me bring you a preview every Monday this season. I have really enjoyed myself, and love writing about the Diamondbacks, and it has been amazing! Thank you so much Jim, for giving me a place to express my thoughts and an avenue to satiate my statistical urges. I am extremely grateful, and in the words of the beard … LET’S GOOOO!!!