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Preview, #30: 4/30 vs. Yankees

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The Evil Empire (Retro Battalion) is in the house...

First Annual Dragon*Con Parade Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty News Images

Today's Lineups

YANKEES DIAMONDBACKS
Brett Gardner - CF Adam Jones - RF
Luke Voit - 1B Ketel Marte - CF
Gary Sanchez - C Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Gleyber Torres - SS David Peralta - LF
Mike Tauchman - RF Christian Walker - 1B
Cameron Maybin - LF Wilmer Flores - 2B
Thairo Estrada - 2B Nick Ahmed - SS
Tyler Wade - 3B John Ryan Murphy - C
CC Sabathia - LHP Zack Greinke - RHP

Games against the New York Yankees at Chase Field will always have a special frisson, simply because they will inevitably evoke memories of the 2001 World Series. That was now approaching 18 years ago, but it remains the greatest sporting moment in the century-plus history of Arizona as a state - not just for the success, but the amazing way in which it was achieved. You literally would not have been allowed to write that ending as a script. It would have been too unbelievable to have the Diamondbacks rallying from defeat, in the bottom of the ninth inning of the winner-take-all game, against the most dominant reliever in the history of the game. Totally implausible.

Of course, all the players involved that series are out of the major leagues - though perhaps not quite as long gone as you’d think. You might be surprised to learn that the last man standing from the 2001 World Series was left-handed reliever Randy Choate, who bowed out of the majors as recently as 2015, having gone from the Yankees to spend four years with the D-backs, from 2004-07. Now, the Yankees don’t - as far as I’m concerned - quite rate the same level of intense dislike that they did at the time they were the Evil Empire. That mantle now belongs to the Dodgers, with the Yankees being just another richer, rather well-run ball-club.

But tonight will still be special, since it pits two potential future Hall of Famers against each other. According to Elias - and I’m sure this will be brought up during the broadcast, if not before! - Zack Greinke and CC Sabathia have combined for 5,471 career strikeouts, the most for opposing pitchers in approaching eleven years. You have to go back to Aug. 15, 2008 to find a superior match-up, when Jamie Moyer of the Phillies (2,218 strikeouts) faced off against Greg Maddux, then with the Padres (3,349 K’s), for a total of 5,567 strikeouts. We may also get to see Sabathia reach three thousand strikeouts; he needs three for that mark, and would become the only active pitcher in that club. Should be a fun night.