|Corbin Carroll - RF||Kyle Schwarber - DH|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Trea Turner - SS|
|Tommy Pham - DH||Bryce Harper - 1B|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Alec Bohm - 3B|
|Gabriel Moreno - C||Bryson Stott - 2B|
|Lourdes Gurriel - LF||J.T. Realmuto - C|
|Alek Thomas - CF||Nick Castellanos - RF|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Brandon Marsh - LF|
|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Johan Rojas - CF|
|Zac Gallen - RHP||Zack Wheeler - RHP|
No surprises in the line-up for the series opener, Torey Lovullo keeping faith with the same nine players to have started every one of the five post-season games so far, I think? Seems reasonable enough: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And the mere fact the D-backs are one of the last four teams standing this year shows the Diamondbacks are clearly not broke, Even if we get swept in the Championship Series, as happened last time we were here, sixteen years ago, it’s not going to dampen what has been a remarkable success, exceeding just about all expectations. But why not keep defying the pundits? No-one expected Arizona to be in the post-season, and few expected them to beat first Milwaukee, then Los Angeles.
The key for tonight is “Don’t panic”. After the one-sided sweep of the Dodgers where the team led for 25 innings and tied in the other two, it’s easy to forget that the team needed to come back to win both of the games against the Brewers. Frankly, they did a better job of keeping their heads than many fans. So if it happens again tonight, I feel the team have earned our confidence. They’re called the Answerbacks for a reason. It won’t be easy, but I feel a credible goal for the team is to split these two, take two of three back in Arizona, and then split again back in Philadelphia. Sure, rolling to 6-0 on the road would be lovely. But newsflash: the Phillies are good. Then again, so were the Brewers and the Dodgers...
Arizona has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, with expectations much heavier in Philadelphia. But just as at the end of the regular season, what has gone before no longer matters - neither the D-backs’ sweep of the Dodgers, nor the Phillies’ defeat of the Braves change the fact the series is 0-0. It will be whoever plays better in the Championship Series which determines the NL pennant. For the first time in 16 years, the Diamondbacks are in that position, and I’ll enjoy this, almost regardless of results. As mentioned, ish95 and I will be in State 48 at Westgate to watch, so expect a quick recap on completion, then a full one after Mrs. SnakePit has taken me home. Don’t drink and drive, folks. :)