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Preview #77: 6/24 @ Pirates

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A four-game road sweep is possible. Been a while.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Jarrod Dyson - CF Josh Harrison - 2B
Ketel Marte - 2B Austin Meadows - RF
Jake Lamb - 3B Starling Marte - CF
David Peralta - LF Colin Moran - 3B
Daniel Descalso - 1B Corey Dickerson - LF
John Ryan Murphy - C Elias Diaz - C
Chris Owings - RF Josh Bell - 1B
Nick Ahmed - SS Sean Rodriguez - SS
Clay Buchholz - RHP Trevor Williams - RHP

Four-game road sweeps are rare, not least because there are typically not many such series in a season. This year, however, there are no less than six: after this, we immediately go into another against the Marlins, and then play four at Wrigley against the Cubs in late July. There’s also one in San Diego in August, one against the Dodgers as we cross into September, and we finish with one in Coors later that month. In 2017, there were five, but the only D-backs’ victory was the final one, where we won three out of four against the Mets. The last time we even took the first three, to have a chance at a sweep, was June 2016 in Philadelphia, and we completed it with a 3-1 win.

Perhaps it’s an omen that the starting pitcher on that day was Shelby Miller (above), who will make his return to the rotation tomorrow, following his Tommy John surgery. It’s startling to look at the D-backs team, almost exactly two years ago and see how much has changed. Just a couple of the fourteen players used that day are currently on the D-backs 25-man roster: Jake Lamb and Nick Ahmed. Another three - Yasmany Tomas, Socrates Brito and Miller - are still with the organization, but the majority are... elsewhere. It’s all reminiscent of the Ship of Theseus paradox: if you keep replacing parts of something, at what point is it no longer the same object? There’s your Sunday #PointToPonder.

Today, Clay Buchholz takes the mound, and continues his campaign for Unsung Hero of the First Half [Not sure Daniel Descalso qualifies as “Unsung”, but will hear arguments to the contrary!] He wasn’t even with the Diamondbacks on Opening Day, had to make his way through the minors to claim a roster spot, and has done absolutely everything you could ask of him - and then some - giving Arizona six outings and a sub-three ERA. The FIP does suggest that’s going to be hard for him to sustain, given his peripherals, but those starts are in the bank. That we’re asking whether he or Zack Godley should stay in the rotation when Robbie Ray returns is testament to what Buchholz has done.

One roater move before this one, with Braden Shipley replacing Jake Barrett, though as we’ll need a spot for Miller tomorrow, this is likely to be an extremely brief stay. And if we’re to complete the sweep, we’ll have to do it without Paul Goldschmidt, who is getting his first day off of June. Considering how he has played, he deserves it.