|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||ATLANTA BRAVES|
|Jon Jay - CF||Ender Inciarte - CF|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Ozzie Albies - 2B|
|David Peralta - LF||Freddie Freeman - 1B|
|Steven Souza - RF||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Kurt Suzuki - C|
|Daniel Descalso - 2B||Johan Camargo - 3B|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Ronald Acuna - LF|
|Alex Avila - C||Dansby Swanson - SS|
|Zack Godley - RHP||Anibal Sanchez - RHP|
Into Atlanta, for our first encounter this year with the the Braves. Their rebuilding program seems to have got ahead of itself. After three consecutive seasons of 90+ losses, general expectations were for a team that would be better, but would still likely struggle to finish about .500 for the first time since 2013. But here we are, at the final series before the All-Star break, and Atlanta has the same number of losses as the division-leading Phillies - who were also projected for a losing record. The utter implosion (again!) of the Mets, and severe under-performance of the Nationals has helped open the doors for some fresh names in the 2018 post-season.
Can the Braves sustain this unexpected success? The good news for the D-backs is, they won’t have to face Mike Foltynewicz, who has been their best starter so far, making 18 starts with a 2.66 ERA. However, Anibal Sanchez, who starts tonight for Atlanta, has been having a very nice comeback year, after three seasons in Detroit where he made 68 starts with an ERA of 5.67. He seems to have solved the long-ball problem which inflated his numbers while a Tiger, cutting his home-run rate in half compared to what it was last season. Not much experience for the D-backs against him, outside of Jarrod Dyson. Jon Jay has most otherwise, and is 0-for-10 with a walk. Steven Souza has the only homer.
Meanwhile, we’ll see how Zack Godley fares, after his first relief appearance of the season, pitching the 15th inning of the marathon loss against the Padres on Sunday. That got him an extra day of rest, so he’s pitching on full rest after that one, even though Zack only threw 23 pitches. He had started the opening game in that series, and got the win there, with six innings of one-run ball. The key there was a K:BB ratio of 7:1, which was Godley’s best since April 21, and resulted in a 66 Game Score, Zack’s highest since a 78 on April 9. I’d like to see another good start before even beginning to hope that Godley has turned the corner. Fingers crossed that’s indeed the case though.