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Preview, #73: 6/16 @ Nationals

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After 168 bullpen appearances, Archie Bradley starts again!

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS NATIONALS
Jarrod Dyson - RF Trea Turner - SS
Ketel Marte - CF Adam Eaton - RF
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Anthony Rendon - 3B
Christian Walker - 1B Juan Soto - LF
Ildemaro Vargas - 2B Howie Kendrick - 2B
Tim Locastro - LF Matt Adams - 1B
Nick Ahmed - SS Kurt Suzuki - C
Caleb Joseph - C Victor Robles - CF
Zack Godley - RHP Anibal Sanchez - RHP

It’s safe to say, the announcement by Torey Lovullo that Archie Bradley would get the start today, came as a surprise to most. Bradley last did so back in 2016, since when he has made 168 appearances out of the bullpen. It’s hard to say how far he might go. His longest outing as a reliever was a 57-pitch outing, but that was his very first outing after being taken out of the rotation in April 2017. Three of his four longest relief outings were in that month, with the exception being the 39-pitch emergency extra-inning appearance he made in Tampa on May 8th this year. That got him through three innings, and I suspect once through the order is probably going to be about it for Bradley here.

We’ll then almost certainly see Zack Godley take over. Godley’s last outing was on June 10, and was 58 pitches, so should be able to give us about the same. It’s interesting that they opted for Bradley to act as the “opener” - though Lovullo wouldn’t call him that, it’s effectively what Archie is, since it seems there’s little or no change of him getting through five innings and qualifying for the win. I wonder if this pattern is going to be maintained for a bit, with Jon Duplantier likely on the shelf for a couple more weeks? Or is this just a stop-gap, until someone else (internal or external) is available? We’ll find out next weekend!

Almost regardless of the result - this feels like a “house money” game - it has been an excellent road-trip for the Diamondbacks. With today’s game left to play, they have gone 7-2, beating both the Blue Jays and the Phillies on their own turf, and have clinched at worst a split of this series in Washington. They’re back in the wild-card race, two games back, and with no-one between them and the teams occupying the spots currently (pick any two from the Cubs, Phillies and Brewers, who all have identical 39-31 records). They’re 8-2 over the past ten games, tied with the Braves for the best record in baseball. A win today would be icing on the cake. Maybe Archie will even unblock us! Nah, let’s not get TOO optimistic...