Mercifully the Diamondbacks road trip is now over and they return tonight to Chase Field. The team has only been gone for 8 days and 7 games; it just feels like it has been longer. The inconsistent offense and lack of production has been extremely painful to watch. I’m sure everyone is hoping that a return to Chase Field for 3 games against the National League West will be just what the doctor ordered to get the team back on its winning ways. The San Francisco Giants come in for 3 games followed by the Washington Nationals for a weekend series. On paper you would think this would favor the Diamondbacks but if this past week has taught us anything it is that you just have no way of knowing which Diamondbacks team is going to show up on any given night.
The San Francisco Giants are currently in third place in the National League West tied with the Colorado Rockies with a record of 20-31 ten games behind the Diamondbacks. Co-ace Dan Haren is scheduled to pitch game one of the series tonight. You would think that would be enough to calm the fears of Diamondbacks fans that are beginning to question whether this team can gain the consistency necessary to reach the post season. But the Giants have an ace of their own in young Tim Lincecum who is putting together a very solid year. Lincecum is 6-1 this season with an ERA that you nearly need a microscope to find. He is allowing just 2.17 earn runs this year which is second in the National League. He is also fourth in the league in strike outs having collected 69 in his 10 games this season. A low ERA coupled with a high strikeout total has all the makings for a brutal night tonight for Diamondbacks fans. Considering that the Diamondbacks have 3 players in the top 4 in strikeouts this game may just catapult Lincecum into the lead league since he is only 7 behind the league leader. The way the Diamondbacks have been swinging the bats he may have 7 strikeouts by the third inning.
During his last start Dan Haren pitched a great game for the first 6 innings against the Florida Marlins allowing only 1 run during that time. He ran into a little trouble in the seventh and gave up 3 runs but it didn’t really matter since the Diamondbacks were unable to push anyone across the plate leading to a 4-0 loss. Haren has to be looking at this match-up tonight and wondering whether he is going to get snake bit two straight starts with no run support.
After tonight the match-ups get a little better for the Diamondbacks but not much. Doug Davis will go in tomorrow night’s game in his first home start since returning from cancer surgery. Thursday is the most intriguing match-up that has Randy Johnson facing Barry Zito. Zito just this week won his first game of 2008 while the Big Unit lost as a result of poor run support after he pitched a gem of a game striking out 10.
About the only thing I can suggest is that fans going to Chase Field should eat well before the game and keep their arms and legs inside the stadium at all times. This rollercoaster is about to pick up speed and if you have a weak stomach this may cause you to lose your lunch if you’re not careful.