|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Jon Jay - RF||Derek Dietrich - LF|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Brian Anderson - RF|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Justin Bour - 1B|
|David Peralta - LF||Starlin Castro - 2B|
|Daniel Descalso - 2B||JT Riddle - SS|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Miguel Rojas - 3B|
|Jarrod Dyson - CF||J.B. Shuck - CF|
|Jeff Mathis - C||Bryan Holaday - C|
|Zack Greinke - RHP||Trevor Richards - RHP|
[Yawn!] Good morning. This is early, even by the early standards of early east-coast games. I was thinking it might be starting about 1pm over there, which would give me the chance for a spot of breakfast before the game begins. Nope. 12:10 am first pitch, so the game stream for this one is going to crash head long into Snake Bytes! Still, at least it means our Eurofans like hotclaws and DbacksEurope will be able to see the game at a civilized hour: I think it’s just after 5pm in the UK, and an hour later in the Netherlands. That’s practically a normal time to be watching baseball! Just don’t get used to it, as we’re (fortunately for me!) back to West-coast evenings tomorrow...
This marks the half-way point in the season, and all told, I think we have to be happy with the way the team has played and the current situation. We’re on pace to match last season’s total of 93 wins: that’s impressive, considering the off-season losses of 2017 contributors like J.D. Martinez and Chris Iannetta, significant injuries to A.J. Pollock, Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker, and the real Paul Goldschmidt not turning up for the first two months of the season. The team is not only in a play-off spot, they’re leading the division, and are just one-half game out of the best record in the National League. Can’t really ask for much better than that, can you?
There have been a number of pleasant surprises for us to enjoy. The power surges of both David Peralta and Nick Ahmed. The remarkable success of Yoshihisa Hirano, who may well see higher-leverage innings in the second half. Clay Buchholz - a name few people would have associated with the Diamondbacks before the season! - helping to stabilize the fifth spot in the rotation. The supreme clutchiness of Daniel Descalso. Sure, there have been bumps in the road: the entire month of May was pretty much one large hillock. And the Dodgers loom, large as ever in the rear-view mirror, like a small child with motion sickness in the back seat. But bring it on, second half. Bring it on...