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Preview, #95: 7/16 @ Rangers

Can Alex Young keep up the good start to his career? Might be tougher today...

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jarrod Dyson - RF Shin-Soo Choo - LF
Ketel Marte - CF Elvis Andrus - SS
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Hunter Pence - DH
Jake Lamb - 1B Nomar Mazara - RF
Kevin Cron - DH Joey Gallo - CF
Alex Avila - C Danny Santana - 1B
Nick Ahmed - SS Rougned Odor - 2B
Ildemaro Vargas - 2B Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B
Tim Locastro - LF Jeff Mathis - C

It’s possible that the next six days could define, for better or worse, the 2019 Diamondbacks season. Beating teams currently above .500, in the form of the Rangers and the Brewers, would cement their status as a legitimate wild-card contender. Losing to them might be the final nail in the coffin of contention, and set Mike Hazen into sell mode. However, I suspect the team will probably end up going 3-3, and nothing of anything much will actually be decided. It has, after all, been the Diamondbacks way: hanging around at or fractionally above .500 for almost the whole season, part of the pack of teams which might have a shot at a wild-card spot, if you squint at the right angle.

Right now, the second wild-card is a tie between the Cardinals and Phillies, both on pace for only 82.7 wins. Right now, it seems that the Washington Nationals are going to pull away for the first wild-card spot - quite a comeback there, considering they started the season 19-31. Only two teams have ever had a worse beginning, and still reached the playoffs: the 2005 Astros and 1974 Pirates both opened the year 18-32. But who might end up with the second spot is anyone’s guess. There are six teams within 212 games there, and another trio just one more back. Most of them will be disappointed. And some will make the wrong decision, deciding to be buyers at the deadline, and still coming up short.

Alex Young seeks to become the seventh player to win his first three starts as a Diamondback - and only the third to do so at the start of his major-league career. The previous two were Chase Anderson, who won five in a row in 2014, and Zack Godley, who began by going W-W-W the following year. In terms of ERA, Young has done considerably better than either, allowing only one run over those two starts (or, indeed, also including his relief appearance against the Dodgers, where a Holland meltdown robbed him of the W there too). But as noted previously, neither the Giants at home, nor the Rockies on the road, are much of a test. This will be a significantly tougher examination of his true abilities.