|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Joe Panik - 2B|
|David Peralta - LF||Buster Posey - C|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Andrew McCutchen - RF|
|John Ryan Murphy - C||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Chris Owings - RF||Pablo Sandoval - 1B|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Hunter Pence - LF|
|Jarrod Dyson - CF||Gorkys Hernandez - CF|
|Zack Godley - RHP||Derek Holland - LHP|
As a measure of how close the NL West is right now, the D-backs could end this series with 4.5 game lead in the division... Or they could end it in sole possession of fourth place. Of course, those two extreme cases are both quite unlikely. It’s more likely that one team - hopefully the D-backs - will take two out of three, and the needle won’t move much in the division. But it’s still fun (admittedly, for some loose definition of “fun”) to be scoreboard watching at the beginning of June! If the closeness in the division to this point keeps up, it’s going to be a VERY long four months, with every game triggering highs and lows in the appropriate fandoms.
The Diamondbacks use their fifth different lead-off hitter of the season in the starting line-up tonight, Nick Ahmed joining David Peralta (45 games), Jarrod Dyson (8), Daniel Descalso (3) and Chris Owings (2) in that spot. Nick does have a morsel of experience in the role, but not for a while: his last start at the top of the order was more than two seasons ago. May 25, 2016 to be precise. All told, he has 12 starts there, though the results previously have been kinda mediocre. A .235 average isn’t enhanced much by one walk in 52 PA, though he has only struck out three times. Curious what made Torey Lovullo go back to this particular well again now.
Elsewhere, Shelby Miller just finished off his second rehab start, pitching for the Jackson Generals tonight. Not quite as many strikes in this one, and he did end up walking four batters, but the overall results were still pretty solid: one run allowed over 4.2 innings. Miller scattered four hits and struck out six, throwing a total of 79 pitches, 52 for strikes. He even drew a walk in the third inning and came around to score the Generals’ first run. One more start, I suspect and it’ll be time to think about re-activating him, though as shoe mentioned, scheduling him for a soft landing in terms of the opponent he’ll be facing probably makes a lot of sense.