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Preview, #148: 9/14 @ Astros

Into the “fun-sized” environment of Minute Maid Park we go.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

A.J. Pollock - CF George Springer - CF
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Jose Altuve - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Alex Bregman - 3B
David Peralta - LF Yuli Gurriel - 1B
Christian Walker - DH Carlos Correa - SS
Steven Souza - RF Tyler White - DH
Nick Ahmed - SS Marwin Gonzalez - LF
Ketel Marte - 2B Martin Maldonado - C
Jeff Mathis - C Josh Reddick - RF

When these two teams first met, in early May, the Diamondbacks were riding high, leading the NL West by four and a half games, and not having lost a series to that point. After losing the opener 8-0, that streak looked to be in jeopardy, but Arizona came back to win the next two games and remain unbeaten. Since then, however, the two teams have gone in sharply different directions. The Astros have gone 71-39, the second-best record in the majors behind the Red Sox after they parted company with the Diamondbacks. Arizona, meanwhile... The rest of May pretty much sucked. They didn’t win another series until the very end of the month, and have gone 54-59.

The past two weeks, the D-backs going 3-10, have imploded their post-season hopes to the point where they are effectively all but gone. We can’t even hope for the Astros to have taken their foot off the gas this weekend, because they will still be looking somewhat nervously over their shoulders at the Athletics, who are 3.5 back coming into play, That’s probably unlikely. Otherwise, though, they’re set fair for an American League Division Series match-up against the Cleveland Indians, who could conceivably become the first team to secure a division. They would clinch the AL Central as soon as tonight, if they win and the Twins lose.

Scoreboard watching will continue in the NL West. The Dodgers will get under way against the Cardinals in St. Louis, not long after we get started. And the Rockies are visiting San Francisco, where they will face the Giants in a game beginning at 7:15pm. For now though, that is only of practical interest to the (admittedly large number of) D-backs fans who are now in “Anyone but LA” mode. If the D-backs want to engage in scoreboard watching, the only one of real interest to them at this point is the one at Minute Maid Park, until proven otherwise.