|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||OAKLAND A'S|
|David Peralta - LF||Matt Joyce - LF|
|Paul Goldschmidt - DH||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Jed Lowrie - DH|
|Daniel Descalso - 1B||Matt Olson - 1B|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Socrates Brito - RF||Mark Canha - RF|
|Alex Avila - C||Dustin Fowler - CF|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Chad Pinder - 2B|
|Jarrod Dyson - CF||Bruce Maxwell - C|
|Clay Buchholz - RHP||Daniel Mengden - RHP|
Last night’s win was certainly something of a tonic, but before we can even begin to move on from the struggles of the past three weeks, the Diamondbacks need to prove it wasn’t a fluke. A win this afternoon would give them their first series victory since Arizona beat Houston at Chase Field - how long ago that all seems! As such, it wouldn’t necessarily proclaim that all is right in the world, but it would be a hopeful sign that the team is getting back on track. It would push their road record back above the .500 mark, which is where we want it to be: if you win 60% of your games at home, and half of them away, you’ll end up with 89 wins, which should be knocking on the door of a playoff spot.
It’ll be the second start for Clay Buchholz, who had a relatively successful debut for the D-backs. It may seem churlish to call five innings of one-run, two-hit ball only “relatively successful,” but Buchholz was very much dependent on defense, with a batting average for balls in play of .071. There were just two strikeouts for Clay, and his FIP (expected ERA) was a hefty 5.51, so that start really wasn’t as good as the top-level line would indicate. He needs to miss more bats, and perhaps get ahead in the count a bit better, as he only threw a first-pitch strike to half the batters faced. But, let’s be honest, there’s a reason he couldn’t make the big league this year with anyone else, so I’m just looking for him to keep us in the game.
With a right-handed pitcher starting for the A’s, the D-backs go left-hander heavy, including an all-lefty outfield of David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson and Socrates Brito. We also get an Alex Avila start. With the inevitability of the sun rising in the East, this decision leads the usual idiots on social media to whine about, “I’m literally shaking my head seeing Avila’s name in there. What does Murphy need to do for Torey to come around?” Oh, I dunno: post better than a .558 OPS - both for his career and this season - against right-handed pitching would probably be helpful. NEXT!