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Preview, #158: 9/24 vs. Cardinals

It’ll be a tough task for Arizona tonight. Mike Leake keeping the ball in the park will help.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Dexter Fowler - RF Abraham Almonte - RF
Tommy Edman - 2B Domingo Leyba - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Marcell Ozuna - LF Jake Lamb - 1B
Yadier Molina - C Josh Rojas - LF
Matt Carpenter - 3B Alex Avila - C
Paul DeJong - SS Nick Ahmed - SS
Harrison Bader - CF Jarrod Dyson - CF
Jack Flaherty - RHP Mike Leake - RHP

It’s over now. The D-backs’ last, flickering hopes of making the post-season were ended when Eduardo Escobar stared at strike three to end the game at Chase last night. The remaining five games are meaningless for Arizona, save in terms of 2020 draft pick. Of course, they’re not meaningless for St. Louis, whose magic number for clinching the NL Central is three. So they won’t be able to clinch tonight, regardless of the results here and in Cincinnati, where the Brewers are playing the Reds. But if St. Louis win and Milwaukee lost, they would put themselves in a position to clinch with a victory in tomorrow’s matinee game at Chase.

Certainly, it feels like the Cardinals certainly have the pitching edge, with staff ace Jack Flaherty and his sub-three ERA going up against Mike Leake. Flaherty’s dominance has not been reflected in a 10-8 record. But that’s because, over his eight losses, the Cardinals scored a total of a mere ten runs, and were shut-out entirely four times. The no-decisions aren’t much better: Flaherty’s ERA in those is still below three, at 2.99. All told, St. Louis are 16-15 when Flaherty starts, and you feel they should be rather better than that given his ERA and other peripherals. It seems unlikely we’ll match last night’s seven runs: Opponents have got past six in just 2 of his 31 games.

Meanwhile, the D-backs outfield tonight consists of Josh Rojas, Jarrod Dyson and Abraham Almonte, which definitely has a “meaningless baseball in the final week” look to it. Though, to be fair, all three men have been serviceable. Whether they’ll have a role next season is harder to discern. Dyson will be a free-agent, and the team should have David Peralta and perhaps Stephen Souza back for 2020, along with Ketel Marte of course. Depth in Reno may be a more plausible destination for Rojas and Almonte, at least as far as Opening Day in concerned. The wheels of Tim Locastro would be a cheaper alternative to Dyson, and a similar skill-set. But time enough to worry about that, over the long, dark winter nights!