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Diamondbacks Gameday Thread, #63: 6/9 @ Tigers

Snake vs. Tiger style. Who will prevail?

Bring ‘em Back Alive Photo by LMPC via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Pavin Smith - RF Zach McKinstry - RF
Ketel Marte - 2B Javier Baez - SS
Corbin Carroll - LF Spencer Torkelson - 1B
Christian Walker - 1B Nick Maton - 3B
Emmanuel Rivera - DH Kerry Carpenter - DH
Josh Rojas - 3B Zack Short - 2B
Jake McCarthy - CF Akil Baddoo - LF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Jake Rogers - C
Jose Herrera - C Jake Marisnick - CF
Merrill Kelly - RHP Michael Lorenzen - RHP

The D-backs go into the series opener in Detroit with a one and a half game lead in the National League West. In case you hadn’t noticed, it's June. The last time Arizona had a lead that size, later than May? The ill-fated 2018 campaign. They were as much as six up at the beginning of May, but were reeled in and lost first place by the end of the month. The D-backs recaptured it in June and were 2 1/2 up on July 1. They ended nine back at 82-80. Before that, you're looking at almost a decade. Going into the 2013 All-Star break, on July 14, they were 2 1/2 games up, with a record of 50-45. But they lost seven of the first eleven after the break and ended with a record of exactly. 500.

It's worth noting that on neither occasion did the Diamondbacks make the post-season. The last time they did, in 2017, their lead was never more than one game, and that came back in mid-April. So we'll see what happens the rest of the way. There is still work to do. But at 37-25, the team’s record is four games better than it was to this point in 2018, and two better than in 2013. Four times previously the D-backs have had 37+ wins through 62 games. In four of those (2001, 2002 and 2017), they made the playoffs. The exception was 2000, when they were as high as 17 games over .500, and tied for the division lead into August. They finished third, 12 back: Russ Ortiz beat Randy Johnson on the final day.

That said, my commonsense caution is being harder to maintain. Could thus be... EXCITEMENT I am feeling? Hard to say - it has been a while. We'll see. But at this point, it feels almost like the D-backs are already playing with house money. The team still has issues, to be sure. The pitching rotation is Kelly and Gallen, then everyone’s fallin’. [AZ SnakePit! Come for the baseball, stay for the Vogon poetry!] But the Mets, Padres and Phillies are three of the four biggest payrolls, totaling $837,112,522 this year per Spotrac, and all of them have losing records. The Mets’ payroll alone is $345 million, they are 30-33, and just put Pete Alonso, their best player, on the injured list.

So, I’m simply enjoying what happens for now, and not sweating the small stuff. Such as Pavin Smith batting lead-off. :)