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Preview #42: 9/7, Diamondbacks @ Giants

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The Milkman delivers another outing for the D-backs

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - 2B Mike Yastrzemski - RF
Ketel Marte - CF Alex Dickerson - LF
Christian Walker - 1B Donovan Solano - 2B
Kole Calhoun - RF Brandon Belt - 1B
Wyatt Mathisen - 3B Wilmer Flores - DH
David Peralta - DH Brandon Crawford - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Daulton Varsho - LF Joey Bart - C
Carson Kelly - C Mauricio Dubon - CF
Zac Gallen - RHP Kevin Gausman - RHP

I’m tempting fate by mentioning this, but Zac Gallen is still undefeated. No qualifying pitcher has ever made it through a complete season without a loss. Indeed, only one such player since the 1880’s has managed a season with even a single defeat: Johnny Allen of the 1937 Cleveland Indians went 15-1 over 20 starts and a total of 173 innings. Want to know the really sick thing? Thet solitary loss came in the Indians’ final game of the year. And Allen, who had gone 15-0 to that point, tossed eight innings of one-run ball one the day, only to take the L in a 1-0 defeat to the Tigers. Jake Wade, who came in with a 6-10 record and 5.64 ERA, tossed a complete-game one-hitter for Detroit for the win.

Of course, the feat this year would deserve a large asterisk, due to the shortened nature of the season. Indeed, right now, there are no fewer than SEVEN qualified pitchers who are unbeaten. Oddly, three of them are called some variety of Zac/k/h: As well as Mr. Gallen, we have Messrs Greinke and Wheeler in the no-loss club, plus Shane Bieber, Johnny Cueto, Max Fried and Adam Wainwright. Despite Gallen’s 1.80 ERA, the others all have more wins than Zac, naturally: Cueto’s two victories is the next-lowest total. The only one with a lower ERA is Bieber. At 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA, he seems odds-on favorite to win the Cy Young in the American League.

Last year, through 41 games, there were only four qualifying undefeated pitchers. Two of them didn’t lose until their fifteenth starts - another Zach, Davies, and Cole Hamels - so it is clearly possible for a pitcher to go more than sixty games without tasting defeat. The others were Cole Hamels (lost his 11th start) and Aaron Nola (13th). With seven sitting undefeated, there’s a good chance somebody will survive. If we assume win, loss and no-decision are equally likely, the odds of any one of them managing four more starts without a loss is 19.8% (16/81). With seven such pitches, that gives us a 41.8% chance of at least one player going unbeaten for the year. Will it be Zac Gallen? Step one will be decided tonight...

A positive is that he will miss the Dodgers. Assuming he stays on regular rotation, Zac's other starts would be at Chase against Seattle and Colorado, split by one in Houston. The Astros are the only one of the four currently with a winning record, so the schedule is in his favor.

Jack’s getting the day off, so no pre-game audio for this one. But I do want to give a shout out to Wyatt Mathisen, who is in the starting line-up this afternoon. He will finally be making his major-league debut, more than eight years and over 2,500 minor-league plate appearances after having been drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2012 draft. He even pitched three times for Reno last year, though... it did not go well (nine earned runs in 2.1 innings). I am trusting Gallen will do his part to ensure tonight’s game does not lead to Arizona needing a position player to pitch this evening!