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Preview, #157: 9/23 vs. Cardinals

He’s back...

MLB: JUL 14 Diamondbacks at Cardinals Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Dexter Fowler - RF Jarrod Dyson - CF
Tommy Edman - 2B Josh Rojas - LF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Eduardo Escobar - 2B
Marcell Ozuna - LF Christian Walker - 1B
Yadier Molina - C Jake Lamb - 3B
Paul DeJong - SS Adam Jones - RF
Matt Carpenter - 3B Nick Ahmed - SS
Harrison Bader - CF Carson Kelly - C
Adam Wainwright - RHP Alex Young - LHP

Definitely a case of mixed emotions at Chase Field tonight, as we welcome back the best position player ever to pull on a Diamondbacks uniform. Only he won’t be pulling on a Diamondbacks uniform tonight, Paul Goldschmidt playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Cardinals fans will know kinda what it’s like, having your greatly-beloved first baseman go elsewhere, though at least Albert Pujols went to the other league. He didn’t actually return to St. Louis until June this year, 712 years after signing with the Angels, and by that point largely sucked, so the emotional torment would have been considerably less than has to be endured by Arizona fans.

Still, all qualms aside (mostly relating to Goldschmidt’s rapid signing of an extension with the Cardinals, before he’d even played a game in St. Louis), there’s no doubting Goldy’s place in franchise history. Even allowing for the sterling work we’ve received from Christian Walker, and Goldschmidt’s sub-par performance (this is likely to be his worst season by bWAR since his sophomore campaign in 2012), he remains an icon. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any team-mate, past or present, discuss him in anything save the most glowing of terms either as a player or - and this matters - as a person. In that regard, he seems to be the Tom Hanks of baseball, and every ounce of applause he gets tonight will be deserved.

Thereafter though... The Diamondbacks “tragic number” for elimination from the post-season is down to one, and it would be nice, at the very least, to make the Brewers earn it with a win, rather than handing it to them with a loss. So once the standing ovation in the top of the first inning is over, Goldschmidt will become just another enemy player. I expect Alex Young and the rest of the team to try and retire him, perhaps even harder than normal. The team owe it to their fans and the Brewers, to give it their all. And, you know what, I strongly suspect that this is exactly what Paul Goldschmidt would want. It’s probably the best way to honor the man on his return to Chase Field.