|Albert Almora - CF||Jon Jay - RF|
|Kris Bryant - LF||Ildemaro Vargas - 3B|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Javier Baez - 2B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Ben Zobrist - RF||Patrick Kivlehan - LF|
|Willson Contreras - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|David Bote - 3B||Chris Owings - CF|
|Cole Hamels - LHP||Jeff Mathis - C|
|Addison Russell - SS||Robbie Ray - LHP|
No Pollock. No Goldschmidt. No Escobar. No Peralta. Yes, in his pre-game media chat, Torey Lovullo denied this line-up means the team is throwing in the towel, even though those are three of the team’s top five position players by bWAR on the bench tonight. He said he feels this is the team’s best chance to score some runs and try to win the game. He’s excited to see these guys playing, and is hoping for a jolt of energy, similar to some Sunday games where the bench guys get to play and light it up. He says the offense over the last few days hasn’t been working, so is shuffling the deck. The conversations with the starters not playing were mixed and not easy: they want to play.
Torey Lovullo’s pregame press conference ahead of the series finale against the Cubs.Posted by FOX Sports Arizona on Wednesday, September 19, 2018
To some extent, you can understand it. Over the last seven games, while going 1-6, the D-backs have averaged a feeble three runs per game, batting .176 and with an OPS of only .590. So, on the one level, it’s clear that he’s right when he says the tried and tested version hadn’t been working. However, I’m not exactly convinced that Patrick Kivlehan and his career OPS+ of 80 is the answer. Though that said, his numbers with the Las Vegas 51’s in the PCL this year were (at least, on the surface) impressive: .314 with twenty home-runs. However, I’ve a feeling Las Vegas and Reno aren’t too different in terms of environment, so would suggest restraining your excitement.
Be interesting to see what attendance is like over the last seven home games. Right now, the team is slightly more than a hundred thousand (102,548, to be exact) over last year’s figure. That will probably sustain, as figures down the stretch last year were probably lower than you’d expect, considering we were heading towards the post-season. In the last seven home games of 2017, crowds included a pair of games against the Rockies and Giants, which barely reached the twenty thousand mark. Even though fan interest is likely now at a season-low, an increase on last year still seems all but certain. However, I would not want to be in the season ticket renewal department this winter...