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Preview, #158: 9/25 vs. Dodgers

Peralta and Goldschmidt return, Ahmed sits for the second game against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Joc Pederson - LF Jon Jay - RF
Justin Turner - 3B Ketel Marte - SS
Max Muncy - 1B David Peralta - LF
Manny Machado - SS Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Cody Bellinger - CF Daniel Descalso - 2B
Yasiel Puig - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Yasmani Grandal - C Chris Owings - 3B
Enrique Hernandez - 2B John Ryan Murphy - C
Walker Buehler - RHP Matt Koch - RHP

No more Christian Walker the rest of the season for the D-backs. The beaning he got last night from the Dodgers resulted in a sinus fracture, so he’s out for the remaining five games. According to Fox Sports Arizona, “He’ll have surgery tomorrow, which will necessitate his jaw wired shut for a week and a liquid diet for a month.” Damn. Not exactly my idea of a fun way to start the off-season. His absence might play into a bit more of a normal line-up for the D-backs, with Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta, the two most regular starters for the team (with 152 and 133 starts respectively) back in the line-up tonight. No Nick Ahmed though, who is #3 on that list, having started 132 times.

Despite all the fuss about Torey Lovullo’s line-up choices last night, it wasn’t particularly the offense which was to blame for the loss in the end. Last night’s defeat was - and stop me if you’ve heard this before - another loss chalked up to the D-backs bullpen. Their failures have now become so expected that I couldn’t even be bothered to keep watching after Ketel Marte’s RBI single gave us a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning. The D-backs have lost no less than twenty games which they were leading at the end of the fifth - that’s twice as many as the ten games they have won when trailing after five. It’s also FOUR TIMES as many defeats as last year, where they went 65-5 when leading through the same point.

For the month, Arizona’s relievers are now 1-7, with a 6.38 ERA for September. That’s their lowest winning percentage in over six years - they went 0-3 in July 2012 - and lowest winning percentage EVER for a month with more than six decisions. Since the break, they’re 6-17, which even before last night had already set a franchise record for most second-half losses by the bullpen, breaking the previous worst of fifteen set in 2000 and 2014. It’s an especially unimpressive record, given the second-half has been particularly short this year. Arizona has only played 59 times since the break so far, compared to 73 in 2018.