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Diamondbacks Game Preview #97: 7/26 vs. Giants

Tyler Gilbert starts. No, really!

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Austin Slater - CF Carson Kelly - C
Wilmer Flores - 2B Jordan Luplow - LF
Darin Ruf - LF Ketel Marte - DH
Yermin Mercedes - DH Christian Walker - 1B
Thairo Estrada - SS Buddy Kennedy - 2B
Brandon Belt - 1B Jake McCarthy - RF
David Villar - 3B Sergio Alcantara - 3B
Joey Bart - C Alek Thomas - CF
Luis Gonzalez - RF Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Carlos Rodon - LHP Tyler Gilbert - LHP

Last night, Merrill Kelly and two Arizona relievers combined on a three-hit shutout of the San Francisco Giants. They also walked none, though did hit a batter. What was notable, is that they also erased three of those base-runners on a pair of double-plays and a pick off. This meant that the D-backs faced 28 batters, which is just one over the minimum. How rare is that kind of feat? On the barest level, not actually that impressive. In team history, they have seen 28 or fewer hitters on no less than 24 occasions, so it happens about once a season. Heck, they did it three times last year (in the recap, I said the last time was Greinke’s one hitter, but it actually happened in Tyler Gilbert’s no hitter against the Padres too).

There are some obvious caveats to that, most obviously that a team doesn’t always throw nine innings. It’s not so impressive to face 28 batters, when you lose on the road and don’t have to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Half of the 24 cases fall into that category, and there are another three where the game lasted even fewer innings. The all-time low for batters faced in a game by Arizona is all the way down at 19: the 3-0 win in Washington, ended by rain in the sixth inning. There hasn’t been a game in the NL where a team has faced fewer since 2014. The all-time low in the majors is 11 - according to Baseball Reference, the game was forfeited to the home team, but I’ve not been able to track down why.

It takes a bit of fiddling to get a “meaningful” set of games, where the team has faced one batter over the minimum, but I think these 10 cases are there or thereabouts. They include the three times Arizona faced the exact minimum, thrown by Randy Johnson, Josh Collmenter and Madison Bumgarner (the last being the 7-inning doubleheader contest in Atlanta). Last night’s contest actually set a new high for base-runners allowed in these games, with four. Most of the others (six of the ten) had three base-runners, with one game each at 2. 1 and 0. They were all wins, and Greinke’s one-hitter the only case where Arizona allowed a run. It all goes to show that any game can potentially become a bit special on the night.

Pre-game media chat today was from the team’s hitting coach, Joe Mather. Some interesting stuff in there, which Jack is going to write up separately. No apparent roster move made with regard to Keynan Middleton, who came out of the game with one out remaining last night. That feels like good news, and it may just be a day-to-day situation for him. Fingers crossed it’s not a case of them waiting for MRI results or whatever.