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Preview #96: 7/13 vs. Braves

Zack Greinke seeks to deliver a series win for Arizona

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS ATLANTA BRAVES
David Peralta - LF Ender Inciarte - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS Ozzie Albies - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Freddie Freeman - 1B
A.J. Pollock - CF Nick Markakis - RF
Steven Souza - RF Tyler Flowers - C
Ketel Marte - 2B Ronald Acuna - LF
Chris Owings - 3B Ryan Flaherty - 3B
Jeff Mathis - C Dansby Swanson - SS
Zack Greinke - RHP Sean Newcomb - LHP

It’s difficult to overstate quite how important last night’s win was. It may have been scratched out - it was Arizona’s fifth 2-1 win, and third in their last 21 contests - but it counts exactly the same in the standings as the 20-run outburst against the Padres. Coming on the road and against a team with serious playoff aspirations (indeed, if the post-season started today, the Braves would face the Brewers in the wild-card game) made it all the more impressive. The D-backs did not play well: they wasted any number of early opportunities, not least with some base-running blunders. Yet in the end, they still came way with the W.

It’s especially important as the NL West has been playing a lot better of late. The four leading teams are a combined 25-15 over their last ten games, even including zero-sum contests against each other, like our series in Colorado. It evened Arizona’s record against winning teams at 32-32. That may not sound like much, but it puts the D-backs only two games off the best record in the league (surprisingly, that mark belongs to the 38-34 Giants, who have been outscored overall in their games), so we are there or thereabouts. What is worth noting is that the D-backs do have the best record in the West against the West, at 23-17. Beating your division is a good way to win your division.

To that end, it’s perhaps worth noting that we still have 12 games to come against the basement dwelling Padres, although in a quirk of scheduling we still haven’t visited Petco yet this season. We face the Rockies ten times, with seven games against each of the Giants and Dodgers. Hopefully, that will give the Diamondbacks a chance to beat up on San Diego, while the other three challengers are slitting each other’s throats. But that’s likely getting ahead of ourselves. For now? Win today, clinch the series (and at least a split of the final road-trip of the first half) and give us a shot at the sweep on Sunday, which would be a psychologically grand way to go into the break.