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Preview #26: 8/20, Diamondbacks @ Athletics

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The D-backs winning streak ended. But that’s okay.

Arizona Diamondbacks v. New York Mets Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS ATHLETICS
Tim Locastro - RF Marcus Semien - SS
Ketel Marte - 2B Ramon Laureano - CF
Starling Marte - CF Matt Chapman - 3B
David Peralta - LF Mark Canha - LF
Christian Walker - 1B Matt Olson - 1B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Stephen Piscotty - RF
Nick Ahmed - SS Khris Davis - DH
Kevin Cron - DH Chad Pinder - 2B
Carson Kelly - C Sean Murphy - C
Alex Young - LHP Sean Manaea - LHP

All winning streaks come to an end eventually, and Arizona’s run of success is no different. But especially in a shortened season like this, a six-game streak is nothing to dismiss. Hey, we’ve had entire, regular length campaigns go by without seeing one: 2016 and 2018, for example. Hell, we almost went four years without winning six in a row, not all that long ago. After the one in August 2011 (which lasted nine games), the Diamondbacks didn’t do it again until July 2015. It’s harder than you’d think to go six games in a row without the offense laying an egg, a starting pitcher having a bad day, or a bullpen delivering a late-inning meltdown.

I’m not sure if a shortened season makes it harder or easier. Last year, there were 49 six-game winning streaks across baseball. MLB is currently on pace to go well past that. We’re not even thirty games in for any team (and considerably less for some) and there have already been a dozen six-game streaks. That includes the Astros, who have silenced the (non-existent) hostile road crowds by winning an MLB best seven in a row. Much like Arizona, they have rebounded from a poor start, to put themselves in good shape as we move towards the half-way point.

For Arizona, even a defeat tonight would be okay. I think we’d all have settled for a 2-2 split of these games against the A’s before the series started, so winning the first two make the series in Oakland the equivalent of house money. Winning would, of course, still be better. Not least because it would leap-frog the D-backs over the Rockies, and into second place in the division. That matters, because you are more likely to end up facing another second-place team in the first round of the playoffs, and not a division winner. The schedule then takes an easier turn for a bit, with six of nine against the Giants, and the remainder three at home against the Rockies. Be nice to go into that stretch with a win, and above .500.

Pre-game audio from Torey Lovullo.

  • Andrew Chafin is on his way back to Phoenix to be evaluated by hand specialist for left index finger sprain. He hurt it during the last batter he faced (Robbie Grossman) in game one of the series. It became increasingly sore by the following day
  • Kole Calhoun just a routine off day
  • Difficulty Facing Lefties: The team is batting .207 with a .538 OPS against LH Starters. Torey believed coming into the season he had a lineup of guys that would be really good against lefties and he still believes that. Perhaps they’ve just been facing some lefties that have been on top of their game
  • Unwritten Rules: Some interesting comments here. They are evolving, many of them were borderline crazy. There are some which are the new normal. Also couldn’t say enough good things about Tatis. Plays the game the right way, hustles, always engaged, seems like good teammate. In today’s game teams can put up crooked numbers in a hurry and make you go to your closer.
  • Madison Bumgarner threw a 30 pitch bullpen. They finally spoke to each other. He said he felt very good. “On to the next level” but no indication of game plan or next steps.
  • Bullpen Matchups with only one lefty, Matt Grace available, the best options among righties to face lefties were discussed. Guerra, Crichton and Rondon were mentioned: Torey went over their pitch mixes and why he thinks they can be effective vs. lefties.