|Jarrod Dyson - LF||Matt Carpenter - 3B|
|Ketel Marte - CF||Jose Martinez - RF|
|Eduardo Escobar - 2B||Paul DeJong - SS|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Adam Jones - RF||Tyler O'Neill - LF|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Dexter Fowler - CF|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Matt Wieters - C|
|Carson Kelly - C||Kolten Wong - 2B|
|Merrill Kelly - RHP||Dakota Hudson - RHP|
The D-backs could end the day back in possession of a wild-card spot, if results elsewhere go their way. Firstly, they need to beat the Cardinals, of course. But they sit only one-half game back of the Phillies for that second NL spot, so if Philadelphia is unable to beat Patrick Corbin and the Nationals this afternoon, we’d overtake them. We are also level with the Brewers, and they face a tough task too, going up against the Giants’ ace and resident grumpy old man, Madison Bumgarner. From what I can see, the last time we occupied such a spot was May 9, when we were 22-16 and tied with the Cardinals for the second spot. We then went 6-14 the rest of the month and finished May with the 11th-best NL record.
Since the start of June, however, we’ve gone 19-15. That’s a solid performance, though actually only third-best in the West over that time, behind the (unsurprising) Dodgers and (considerably surprising) Giants. What matters is that it’s a better record than anyone in the NL Central. Which is why we find ourselves nipping at the Phillies’ heels, since they have the second-worst record after June 1, ahead only of the Mets - yes, over the past month and a half the Philadelphia Bryce’s have been worse than the Marlins. Like Goldschmidt in St. Louis, big off-season acquisition Bryce Harper failed to make the All-Star team for the first time in a while. Add the collapse of Jake Arrieta and all is not well there.
Yesterday’s win was a good way to start the second half, and with Zack Greinke - who hasn’t lost a July start since July 19, 2014 - going tomorrow, I’m feeling optimistic about our chances of at least winning the series. A sweep would be even better, naturally, and Merrill Kelly has been a significant part of the D-backs’ rebound. Since the start of June, he has a 2.98 ERA over seven outings, though hasn’t picked up a personal W in more than a month. If he can keep Goldschmidt and the rest of the Cardinals’ line-up in check, the Diamondbacks could well find themselves saying “If the playoffs started today...” by the end of the night.