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Preview #72: 6/18 @ Angels

Let’s hope Anaheim turns out to be the happiest place in the world for the D-backs.

Bryce Harper Meets Mickey Mouse At Disney Sports Complex Photo by Gene Duncan/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jon Jay - RF Ian Kinsler - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Mike Trout - CF
Jake Lamb - 3B Justin Upton - LF
David Peralta - LF Albert Pujols - DH
Daniel Descalso - DH Jose Miguel Fernandez - 1B
Ketel Marte - 2B Andrelton Simmons - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Luis Valbuena - 3B
Jeff Mathis - C Martin Maldonado - C
Jarrod Dyson - CF Kole Calhoun - RF
Zack Greinke - RHP Jaime Barria - RHP

Back into the land of the designated hitter go the Diamondbacks, Daniel Descalso getting the job for the opening contest in this quick two-game set against the Angels. Both sides of the battery have Angels connections as well, though Zack Greinke and Jeff Mathis never overlapped in their time there. Mathis played for Anaheim from 2005-11, while Greinke spent half a season there after being dealt from the Brewers at the trade deadline in 2012 [the players going the other way including Jean Segura]. Mathis ranks fourth on the Angels’ all-time games caught list with 411, trailing Bob Boone (961), Bob Rodgers (895) and Bengie Molina (685). Fernando Salas also played for them for parts of four seasons, from 2014-17.

Plenty of connections on the other side of the lines as well, not least manager Torey Lovullo, who had his best season in the majors (0.6 bWAR!) with what was then called the California Angels in 1993, appearing in 106 games for them. One of the team’s relievers that year was none other than our current pitching coach, Mike Butcher. He played for the Angels from 1992 through 1995, and then had a long tenure as pitching coach (2007-15), before coming to Arizona. Bullpen coach Mike Fetters and bench coach Jerry Narron also spent time as players in Anaheim, so they’ll all be familiar with the park, as the team visits the Angels for the first time since 2015, when they split a two-game set like this one.

The D-backs would like to see their offense get back on track, as that has been powering their June resurrection. Arizona’s 103 runs scored is most in the majors, already 26 more than the entire month of May, and only 11 short of what the D-backs posted in the (hardly disappointing) month of April. The team record for runs in a calendar month is 167, which has been done twice before: June 2001, and May 1999. So we need to score 65 over the dozen remaining games to set a new record; tough, but not impossible [ lists Sept/Oct 1999 listed as #1, with 179, but that does include three games in October where 18 runs were scored, so not a “true” calendar month] That quest starts tonight!