|Ketel Marte - CF||Alex Blandino - 2B|
|Wilmer Flores - 2B||Joey Votto - 1B|
|Eduardo Escobar - 3B||Eugenio Suarez - 3B|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Aristides Aquino - RF|
|Josh Rojas - LF||Jose Iglesias - SS|
|Adam Jones - RF||Phillip Ervin - CF|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Curt Casali - C|
|Carson Kelly - C||Jose Peraza - LF|
|Robbie Ray - LHP||Tyler Mahle - RHP|
The Cubs won their third straight game yesterday, damn them all to hell, so the Diamondbacks lost half a game without doing anything. Arizona now sits 3.5 games back of Chicago, as they start a road-trip through Cincinnatti and New York. The Cubs are also on the road this weekend, making the relatively short trip to Milwaukee. The Brewers can do both their slim hopes and ours good by beating the Cubs. Since they currently sit five games back, if they can’t win that series, it may well be the death-knell for their hopes. Being at least six back with only twenty games left is close to insurmountable, especially given the other teams sitting between them. But for the D-backs, they just need to worry sbout taking care of their own business for now. Help elsewhere would be nice, but if Arizona can’t win, it won’t matter.
We begin the series with Robbie Ray on the mound. He seems to have returned to somewhat normal service after his back issue caused him to miss a start. Though he does seem to have somewhat regressed, both in terms of length (both starts being only five innings) and walks (allowing seven over the ten innings of work), even as he took the W against the Brewers and the Dodgers. The former was more impressive, Ray throwing five shutout innings on three hits, and the Reds should present a less taxing test, having an OPS+ of only 89 this year. Conversely, Mahle hasn’t won a game since May, in nine attempts, and the Reds have gone 4-16 in his starts. But he did hold the Cardinals to two runs over 6.1 innings last time out. So this is your regular reminder that, on any day, any major-league starter can achieve any result. I do not expect this to stop the “Why can we never hit SCRUUUUUUBS?” whining.
Meanwhile, it is our last full day in San Diego, and I think I am just about ready to come home. If, admittedly, only so that I can stop eating! It has been... rather calorific, to put it mildly. Hell, we didn’t even let an approaching thunderstorm stop us from firing up the barbecue on Coronado Island. “We will grill them on the beaches... We will never, ever surrender...” Our sole concession was to lower the pop-up cabana, on the basis that standing under a large metal dome might have been tempting fate just a tad. But we lived to tell the tale, and I can report that “tornado tacos” taste all the better, with a garnish of life-threatening danger.