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Preview, #152: 9/18 vs. Cubs

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Are we there yet? What about now? Now?

Palestinian Refugees Return To Their Homes Photo Abid Katib/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

CUBS DIAMONDBACKS
Daniel Murphy - 2B A.J. Pollock - CF
Kris Bryant - 3B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Anthony Rizzo - 1B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Javier Baez - SS David Peralta - LF
Ben Zobrist - LF Steven Souza - RF
Willson Contreras - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Jason Heyward - RF Ketel Marte - 2B
Mike Montgomery - LHP Jeff Mathis - C
Ian Happ - CF Matt Andriese - RHP

Games until the merciful end of the season: 11

Time to start the countdown to the end. While not technically eliminated - five back of the Cardinals for the second wild-card with eleven to play - it has been readily apparent from their performances over the past couple of weeks, that this team has thrown in the towel. If that weren’t already clear, tonight we start Matt Andriese, who’ll be replacing Clay Buchholz for the final couple of turns through the rotation (whether it’s two starts or three depends on how the team opts to handle the remaining off-days, either skipping the fifth spot or not). His results since coming over from the Rays have been less than whelming: a 7.31 ERA over 16 innings, mostly driven by the six home-runs allowed in that time.

To describe expectations for this evening as low is an understatement. But let’s just say, I‘ve been looking up the worst starts of the year from a D-back, by Game Score. Curiously, the top (or bottom) five there all came before the break. Three belong to Zack Godley, with the other two being Kris “I think I’d rather retire” Medlen and the worst all to Matt Koch. On May 16 against the Brewers, he allowed eight earned runs in 4.1 innings, including four home-runs and without striking out any of the 22 batters faced. [Though that wasn’t even Koch’s K-least start of the year: on June 19, he faced 27 without a K against the Angels. The franchise record is 33, set by Willie Blair in Arizona’s second-ever game]

Koch’s performance sets the bar rather low for Andriese to surpass. While it’ll be his first for Arizona, he has made 48 previous starts, going 14-14 with a 4.49 ERA. Four of those were for the Rays, but in line with their... ah, unusual approach to starting pitching, none of those involved him recording more than 10 outs. They did go pretty well, Andriese allowing four earned runs over 11.1 innings in those games. I suspect a fair number of bullpen arms, but the D-backs will be without T.J. McFarland, who has been shut down for the year after they found inflammation around his bone spur. He’s just getting an early start on the off-season, that’s all. The rest of us will be there, soon enough...