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Preview, #2: 3/29 @ Dodgers

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On the plus side, it can’t go much worse than yesterday. Can it?

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS DODGERS
Ketel Marte - CF Enrique Hernandez - 2B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Justin Turner - 3B
David Peralta - LF David Freese - 1B
Jake Lamb - 1B A.J. Pollock - CF
Wilmer Flores - 2B Corey Seager - SS
Adam Jones - RF Chris Taylor - LF
Nick Ahmed - SS Cody Bellinger - RF
Carson Kelly - C Russell Martin - C
Robbie Ray - LHP Ross Stripling - RHP

There are not many positives to take away from yesterday’s game, which teetered on the edge of being the worst Opening Day thumping in franchise history. A ninth-inning surge at least restored some respectability to the scoreline and delivered some loss-flavored tacos. And it wasn’t the bullpen slaughter it looked like it might be, after Greinke couldn’t even get through the fourth inning. It helped we only had to throw eight, and Matt Koch proved remarkably economical - if not very good - pitching the rest of the way to save the ‘pen. He only needed 62 pitches to get through 19 batters; the Dodgers were not hanging around. Really, it was a lickety-split contest overall, taking just 2:49 despite the 14 total runs scored.

Still, every season will have games like that one. We had nine games last year where we lost by seven or more runs. It’s just that it happening on Opening Day - and on national TV, naturally - concentrates our attention on it. It’s now up to Robbie Ray to see if he can right the ship. Based on spring training stats, this could be a strikeout frenzy. He fanned more batters this spring than any other TWO D-backs pitchers combined, with 32 K’s in only 16.1 innings. Indeed, Max Scherzer was the only pitcher anywhere in baseball with more K’s than Robbie this spring (34), and Mad Max tossed a bunch more innings (26.2). If Ray keeps that up, we’re talking Cy Young candidate.

Of course, that’s a big “if”. We’ve seen incredible starts and even incredible months from the starter previously. But the walks are always a bit of an issue, and he did issue eight BB this spring. But that’s still a K:BB of 4:1, which would easily be a career high for Robbie. His previous best is 3.07, in both 2016 and 2017, and last season it took a step in the wrong direction, regressing to only 2.36. There are rumblings that this Dodgers line-up might be vulnerable to a good left-handed pitcher, and on his day, Robbie can certainly be a good left-handed pitcher. After the bucket of crap which was last night’s game, we could definitely use the cleansing sorbet of Ray on his A-game.

If not... Well, it’s the first beercap of the season. :)