|Charlie Blackmon - CF||Jon Jay - RF|
|DJ LeMahieu - 2B||Eduardo Escobar - 3B|
|David Dahl - LF||David Peralta - LF|
|Nolan Arenado - 3B||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Carlos Gonzalez - RF||Daniel Descalso - 2B|
|Ian Desmond - 1B||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Garrett Hampson - SS||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Tony Wolters - C||Jeff Mathis - C|
|German Marquez - RHP||Zack Greinke - RHP|
The Rockies, having abjectly failed to take care of their own business against the Dodgers, come into town 21⁄2 games back of Los Angeles in the NL West, with ten games left to play (one more than LA). If the D-backs with the series, or worse still, sweep the Rockies, they will be all but handing the 2018 National League West crown to the Dodgers. And, making matters worse, it will give the Dodgers a very real chance of clinching the division at Chase Field when they come to Phoenix for a three-game set, starting on Monday. With Los Angeles hosting San Diego, there’s perhaps a case to be made for cheering for an Arizona defeat tonight.
That’s hardly new. Just two years ago, we were cheering for losses as part of Tankapalooza 2016 - and that began in mid-July, so by this point, it had become almost normal. But it’s safe to say that it’s not the way we wanted this season to go, and is testament to how quickly things have fallen apart this month. On the plus side, it’s nice to have a certain flexibility about the outcome. We either feel good because the D-backs win, or feel good because we’re doing our part to prevent the Evil Empire from... Well, ideally, losing to the Braves in the Division Series. After the last couple of week’s we will take our silver linings where we find them, thank you very much.
Going by the line-up tonight, it’s as if the 9-0 thumping administered to the Cubs in the series finale on Wednesday, never even happened. Eduardo Escobar, David Peralta, Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock are all back in the line-up, with the likes of Kivlehavleneaven back on the bench, despite their unexpected heroics. According to Jody Jackson:
I asked Lovullo if he wished he had made that lineup sooner - he said he thought about doing it after the series in LA when they came back home against the Padres. In hindsight it would have been interesting to see if that could have jumpstarted the team. Life of a Mgr.— Jody Jackson (@Jody_Jackson) September 21, 2018
It does seem a tad unfair that those players who delivered so far above expectations are not given another chance to do so tonight. Obviously, some of them are not likely to be part of the 2019 Diamondbacks. But I’m curious to see what the likes of Christian Walker and Ildemaro Vargas could do, given some consistent playing time. These last nine games seem an ideal opportunity to find out - win or lose...