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Preview, #121: 8/14 @ Rangers

The race to the bottom of the top of the NL West continues

Cooper’s Hill Hosts The Annual Cheese Rolling And Wake Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jon Jay - CF Shin-Soo Choo - RF
Paul Goldschmidt - DH Rougned Odor - 2B
David Peralta - LF Elvis Andrus - SS
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Jurickson Profar - 3B
Steven Souza - RF Robinson Chirinos - DH
Ketel Marte - 2B Joey Gallo - LF
Daniel Descalso - 1B Isiah Kiner-Falefa - C
Nick Ahmed - SS Ronald Guzman - 1B
Alex Avila - C Delino DeShields Jr. - CF

Depending on results elsewhere, we could end up with a triple-tie at the top of the NL West by the end of play. That would take us losing to the Rangers, while the Dodgers beat the Giants and the Rockies defeat the Astros. Not sure when would be the last time that happened after the All-Star break, never mind at the three-quarter point of the season. It’s interesting how all three of Arizona, Los Angeles and Colorado are competing, despite having significant issues with their bullpens of one kind or another. Of the three, the D-backs have the lowest relief ERA in the second half, at 4.67, but the worst record, with our bullpen having gone 2-7. And it’s a far cry from the league-BEST 2.85 ERA in the first half.

The Dodgers have posted a 4.80 ERA to go with a 3-6 record, and have recently lost their closer Kenley Jansen, for a period estimated at four to six weeks. They’ve dropped four in a row - games they were leading in the seventh, leading in the ninth, tied in the ninth and leading in the ninth respectively. It has to have become psychological at this point. And, of course, we have the Rockies, and their $100 million bullpen of misfit toys, No team actually has more second-half wins (7) from their relievers, but that 4.94 ERA suggests a winning record is likely not sustainable. Whichever team is able to get things straightened out may have a significant edge over the final quarter.

Tonight, if not quite a “must win” in Texas, is therefore pretty close to it. Both us and Los Angeles were unable to take advantage of having their Opening Day starter on the mound, though at least the Diamondbacks didn’t waste eight innings of one-run ball, like the Dodgers did. The Rockies were idle, but for an off-dat, results could not have gone much better for them, as they gained ground regardless. Indeed, they are now a click above Los Angeles in the standings, despite a run differential which is 110 runs WORSE. Indeed, right now, the team with the best run differential in a league (Los Angeles) would not make the playoffs. That hasn’t happened since 2005, when +147 Cleveland missed out.