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Diamondbacks Game Preview #135: 9/6 @ Padres

Merrill Kelly hasn’t lost since June. It’s not even the current longest streak without defeat in Arizona.

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS PADRES
Josh Rojas - 3B Jurickson Profar - LF
Daulton Varsho - RF Juan Soto - RF
Ketel Marte - 2B Manny Machado - 3B
Christian Walker - 1B Josh Bell - DH
Jake McCarthy - LF Jake Cronenworth - 2B
Corbin Carroll - DH Ha-Seong Kim - SS
Carson Kelly - C Wil Myers - 1B
Alek Thomas - CF Trent Grisham - CF
Sergio Alcantara - SS Jorge Alfaro - C
Merrill Kelly - RHP Joe Musgrove - RHP

Among currently active starting pitchers, the Diamondbacks currently have two of the three longest streaks without a loss: Merrill Kelly has gone 12 starts and Zac Gallen 15. They both trail only Joe Kelly, and he only technically qualifies, having started for the White Sox on Friday night, going one inning. Still, Joe has not lost a game as a starter in more than seven years, having last been defeated on July 22, 2015 as a member of the Red Sox. Since then, Kelly has made 18 starts and gone 10-0. The only other live streaks of more than 11 games by active pitchers belong to a trio who did it while openers for Tampa, e.g. Ryne Stanek reached 19, though he is now in the Astros’ pen and unlikely to start.

It’s also worth noting that both Kelly and Gallen are on course to have ERAs below three, sitting at 2.84 and 2.42 respectively. If sustained over the final month of the season, it’ll be the first time since 2003 that the D-backs have had a pair of qualifying pitchers post ERAs that start with a two. Then it was Curt Schilling (2.95) and Brandon Webb (2.84). The only other occasion was, of course, in 2001 when it was Schilling (2.98) and Randy Johnson (2.49). Did anyone think at the start of the season that we’d be speaking about Merrill and Zac in the same conversation as those Cy Young winners and runners-up? Bringing those two men to Arizona may be the best moves Mike Hazen has made to date.

Both are on pace for a value somewhere round 5.8 bWAR. If that is achieved by either, it will be the best for an Arizona pitcher in over a decade, since Dan Haren reached 6.5 bWAR in 2009. The only time we’ve had a pair that cailbre was 2001-2003, with the trio noted above. In 2003, the value was comparable (Schilling/Webb = 6.0/6.1). But the insane workload of Schilling and Johnson the previous two seasons, (averaging over 250+ innings per man), helped lead to a 1-2 punch we may never see again. In 2002, the pair combined for 19.3 bWAR, and 18.9 bWAR the previous year. Gallen and Kelly could be around 11-12 between them, among the best in the majors. That’s just how damn good Curt and Randy were.