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Preview, #27: 4/29 @ Nationals

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A chance for a sweep in Washington

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS WASHINGTON NATIONALS
David Peralta - LF Trea Turner - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Ryan Zimmerman - 1B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Bryce Harper - RF
A.J. Pollock - CF Howie Kendrick - 2B
Chris Owings - RF Michael Taylor - CF
Ketel Marte - 2B Matt Wieters - C
Deven Marrero - 3B Moises Sierra - LF
John Ryan Murphy - C Wilmer Difo - 3B
Robbie Ray - LHP Gio Gonzalez - LHP

It’s interesting that the D-backs have won nine series so far, but eight of them have been by the odd game in three. The only sweep was the second set of the year, when we came back in the ninth to snatch the opener from the Dodgers, then followed up with two more victories. While we’ve won seven more series since, the only other time we’ve gone into the final game with even the chance of a sweep was the other series against Los Angeles, in LA, where we lost 7-2 to Kershaw. The team has, however, been extraordinarily good at rubber games, going undefeated in the seven of those played by the D-backs so far. Obviously, that won’t be changing this afternoon in Washington.

A win could do a very good job of burying the Nationals. It may still only be April, but history tells us that bad starts are very difficult to overcome. If Arizona completes the sweep today, Washington would have a record of 11-16. Only one team since 2009 has overcome such a poor start to the year and reached the post-season - the 2014 Pirates began the year 10-17. The Nationals have certainly been bit by the injury bug so far, losing the likes of Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon, but the D-backs have also had their share, being without Taijuan Walker, Jake Lamb and Steven Souza, and have come through that test admirably. I certainly doubt Washington will repeat last year’s 20-game margin.

Normal service has been resumed, with Paul Goldschmidt back in the line-up and batting in the three-hole. He struck out off the bench yesterday: I think perhaps we’ve found the biggest flaw in Goldy’s game, because his line as a PH is .118/.105/.294, for a sub-.400 OPS - he’s 2-for-17 with no walks, six strikeouts and a pair of double-plays. Fortunately, it’s one which comes with an easy fix: play him every day. Problem solved. :) Still, the team managed to win yesterday, improving their record when he doesn’t start, discussed in yesterday’s preview, a bit further. Let’s not see it again for a while though, eh?