A four-game series between the D-backs and Pirates opens with the team's respective aces on the mound.
The Diamondbacks (19-16) got some of their offensive mojo back on Wednesday night, getting home runs from Nick Ahmed, Yasmany Tomas and Brandon Drury in a 7-1 win over the Tigers to snap a three-game losing streak. They had scored a total of six runs during the three-game downturn.
"It's good to kind of get the bats going again and get some guys early feeling good at the plate," Ahmed said. "We talk about linking our at-bats together and having team at-bats up and down the lineup and not having one guy try to do it all. When we are going good, it is everybody contributing up and down the lineup."
The Pirates (14-20) are in last place in the NL Central and come in with a four-game losing streak following Wednesday night's 5-2 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles. But they are 10-2 vs. the D-backs over the past two season, including a 5-1 mark at Chase Field.
It's back-to-back Zacks for the D-backs, as Greinke tries to follow up on Zack Godley's seven-inning gem on Wednesday. He got the win at Colorado in his last start on Friday -- giving up six hits and two runs and striking out seven in seven innings.
Greinke has a 2.33 ERA in his last four starts, issuing just three walks while striking out 33 over 27 innings of work.
Pittsburgh has given him trouble over the years. He is 6-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 10 career starts against the Pirates but hasn't started against them since joining the D-backs.
Cole's record is reflective of poor run support rather than poor pitching. He is 0-2 with two no-decisions in his last four starts despite a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings. He has given up 15 hits and five walks while striking out 31 in that stretch.
His last start in Milwaukee, which the Pirates won in 10 innings, was his best. He limited the Brewers to two hits, two walks and one run over seven innings, striking eight.
Cole is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts against Arizona, and he won his only starts at Chase Field, giving up one run in 7 1/3 innings on April 24, 2015. Paul Goldschmidt is 1 for 11 in his career against him.
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The D-backs were glad to see Yasmany Tomas end his power drought with a no-doubt home run on Wednesday, and Brandon Drury has come on strong as of late. The next two they'd like to see get going are lefties Jake Lamb and David Peralta.
Lamb is in a 1-for-18 slump, dropping his season average to .248. He's 7 for 48 with 21 strikeouts over his last 13 games, though he has walked eight times, and the seven hits include three home runs.
Peralta is 0 for his last 14 since returning from a bout with the flu on last week's road trip.
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Tough times in Pittsburgh
The Pirates' run of three consecutive postseason appearances -- with 94, 88 and 98 wins -- came to an end with a 78-83 record last year, and the road back to the playoffs doesn’t appear to be all that favorable this year. The Pirates rank 14th in the NL in both runs (123) and home runs (29) -- ahead of only the Giants in both categories.
Third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who hit 21 home runs last season, has had legal troubles in South Korea and been unable to get a visa to return to the U.S. All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder Starling Marte, who hit .311 and stole 47 bases last year, is serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. And just last week, promising young starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA, underwent surgery for what is suspected to be testicular cancer.
Among those who are playing, former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen is in the midst of a three-year slide that has seen his average drop from .292 to .256 to .215 and his on-base percentage dip from .401 to .294. Cleanup hitter Gregory Polanco, playing through some shoulder discomfort, has yet to hit a home run and has only six RBI in 30 games.
The top hitter so far has been utility man Josh Harrison, hitting .299 with five home runs. Harrison has a .358 career batting average and .623 slugging percentage at Chase Field.