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Preview #159: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants

The last meaningless game of the year at Chase Field.

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Las Vegas Hotels And Casinos Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Denard Span - CF David Peralta - LF
Joe Panik - 2B Ketel Marte - SS
Pablo Sandoval - 1B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Brandon Crawford - SS J.D. Martinez - RF
Nick Hundley - C Jake Lamb - 3B
Jarrett Parker - LF A.J. Pollock - CF
Mac Williamson - RF Daniel Descalso - 2B
Ryder Jones - 3B Chris Herrmann - C
Jeff Samardzija - RHP Braden Shipley - RHP

A win this afternoon at Chase Field would give the Diamondbacks a record at home this year of 52-29. That would tie the 1999 team for the second-best mark in Phoenix, three games behind the 2002 version, who went 55-26. It’s a particularly marked change, considering last year’s team could hardly win anything here. Their mark of 33-48 was the second-worst in franchise history, ahead only of the thoroughly woeful “Baby Backs”, who were still-born in 2004, posting a 29-52 mark. There’s no doubt what has triggered the improvement in 2017; for whatever reason, this year, our pitchers are a lot better working at home.

Coming into this season finale the team ERA at Chase is 3.80, which is virtually a run and three-quarters better than the 5.54 figure from 2016. This is reflected in the peripherals, with the WHIP dropping from 1.56 to 1.24, and both strikeout and walk-rate going in the right direction. As a result, our K:BB ratio has improved from 2.11 to 2.99. But we should likely not forget the role played by the defense, which has been converting more balls in play into outs. Last year, the figure was only 66.4%; that has gone up to 70.8% in 2017. That’s the best figure by the Diamondbacks at Chase Field since 2011.

I wonder whether the team might quietly drop the humidor proposal over the winter, now that the team has figured out how to pitch here. It was announced in the first week of the season, and then on June 24, we were told it was “almost fully operational”. But then, just five days later, Mike Hazen suddenly said the team had tabled the plans, the explanation being that “We’re just running into some logistical issues along the way.” We’ll see what happens, but given the team’s success at Chase Field, helping them reach the post-season for the first time in six years, it would not surprise me should this turn out to be a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”