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Preview #1: 7/24, Diamondbacks @ Padres

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

MLB: JUL 11 Athletics Summer Camp Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Ketel Marte - 2B Fernando Tatis - SS
David Peralta - LF Manny Machado - 3B
Starling Marte - CF Tommy Pham - LF
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Jurickson Profar - 2B
Christian Walker - DH Eric Hosmer - 1B
Kole Calhoun - RF Wil Myers - RF
Carson Kelly - C Ty France - DH
Jake Lamb - 1B Francisco Mejia - C
Nick Ahmed - SS Trent Grisham - CF
M. Bumgarner - LHP Chris Paddack - RHP

It has been more than ten months since I last wrote one of these, so forgive me if I’m a little rusty. There have been times when I didn’t think I would have anything to write about, particularly as owners and union butted heads over the shape of the 2020 season. But, here we are, albeit beginning a campaign which will see barely one-third of the normal number of games, as well as having wrinkles like a designated hitter, expanded playoffs, and that whole “runner on second” rule for extra innings. It’s certainly going to be interesting, and at least I won’t have to worry about fatigue setting in. Can’t be out of it with two months to go, when the season is only two months long... [Insert touching head meme here]

It will be the first time we get to see Madison Bumgarner start in a major-league contest for the Diamondbacks, having signed a free-agent deal with the Diamondbacks last December. How long ago that seems now. It’d be nice if we got the pitcher who was an All-Star for four consecutive seasons, from 2013-16, but I think it’s more likely we’ll get a solid mid-rotation guy. It would certainly not surprise me if Robbie Ray and Zac Gallen both ended up being more productive over the course of the season. Just a shame we won’t get to see MadBum swing the bat. Instead, the honor of being the first Diamondbacks’ designated hitter in an NL ballpark goes to Christian Walker.

I also note the appearance of Kole Calhoun in the leadoff spot, for both of the warm-up games in Los Angeles, appears to have been a feint of some kind. He hits sixth, which would seem to make a bit more general sense. Instead, it’s a Marte Sandwich at the top, with Ketel followed by David Peralta, and then Starling. My first thought was that the first is a bit of a waste of his power, but that doesn’t take into account that there’s no longer a pitcher’s spot in the order. As a result, there is probably a greater chance of the #1 hitter coming up with someone on base. Jake Lamb starts at 1B with a RHP on the mound, so we’ll see how that goes...

The Padres, much like the Diamondbacks, are a team who have playoff aspirations. Though it feels like we’ve said that about them on Opening Day quite a few times, since they last made the post-season in... [checks records] 2006. Ouch. Heck, they haven’t even finished better than fourth in the division since 2014, but the expanded playoffs this year certainly mean a better chance. The presence of Fernando Tatis Jr. for a full season would certainly be a big boost. This series will be an interesting test of the two teams who could well find themselves tussling for one of those eight playoff spots toward the end of September. With every game counting close to triple, a good start would be a big help to Arizona’s chances.

Pre-game audio

  • Jon Jay attended the interview wearing Black Lives Matter T Shirt.
  • He spoke earnestly and humbly about the plans for tonight. His personal choice is to kneel during the Black Ribbon Ceremony, but not during the Anthem as he has family members who have served in the military, so he is a bit in between on this one.
  • However he works extensively in the community, and he is also deeply grateful for the D-backs organization giving the players the freedom and platform to express themselves as they see fit.
  • He spoke about some of his personal experiences with racism and how that’s affected him. The last several months have made it easier for him to speak with teammates and share experiences.
  • Torey Lovullo was asked if he saw Mookie Betts pre game and his thoughts. Torey too was wearing a BLM tee shirt and voiced total support for both Mookie and the player’s right to use this platform to speak out on injustice.
  • He also said that Betts could well be one of the key faces of the sport and baseball should lean on him
  • Carson Kelly catching Bumgarner appears like it will be a consistent match going forward
  • Alternating L/R hitters in the lineup was done with the 3 batter minimum on the mind.
  • Expect Walker and Lamb to get similar time share defensively at 1b, although at the end of the day Walker should have more innings there as Lamb will also get some time at 3rd.
  • There were no protocol/testing updates to give from either Arizona or San Diego.