Up until the past week and a half, the road had been fairly kind to the Diamondbacks. They were 20-18 away from Chase Field and had won some big games in opponents’ parks.
But then came a brutal 10-game East Coast swing that probably has the D-backs clamoring for the comforts of home, especially after playing 14 total extra innings and sitting through more than four hours of rain delays. The D-backs went 3-7 on the road trip but still hold 2 1/2-game lead in the NL West.
Of course, the D-backs woes on the road trip were also the result of continually ineffective pitching and an inconsistent offense. Both will need to return to earlier form for the D-backs to hold off the Dodgers and the Rockies, who are at Chase Field for a weekend series. The D-backs and Rockies have been evenly matched this season, splitting the 10 games they’ve played thus far. The D-backs, though, won three of four games at home against the Rockies in April. Here’s what to look for in this weekend’s series:
PITCHING MATCHUPS: Friday — LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. LHP Jorge De La Rosa (8-4, 3.09). Saturday — LHP Wade Miley (4-7. 4.29) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (0-1, 8.31). Sunday — LHP Patrick Corbin (9-1, 2.49) vs. RHP Roy Oswalt (0-3, 7.88).
WHO’S HOT FOR THE D-BACKS: Since returning from a lengthy stint on the disabled list with a broken hand, second baseman Aaron Hill has batted .286 (10 for 35) with three RBI and three doubles. But with six runs scored in 10 games, Hill is again proving himself an important table setter. … Since a rough stretch in May, Saturday starter Miley has thrown quality starts in four of six outings. He is 1-2 in that stretch but owns a 3.00 ERA, never allowing more than three runs. … After going 4 for 7 with two RBI on Thursday, reserve catcher Wil Nieves is hitting .397 (25 for 63) with a .426 on-base percentage this season. … Reliever Will Harris has not allowed a run since June 8, a span of 9 1/3 innings. He owns a 1.83 ERA in 23 games on the season.
WHO’S NOT: Shortstop Didi Gregorius played in seven of the 10 games on the road trip and went 4 for 23 at the plate with one RBI and no extra-base hits. … Though he got a save in a scoreless appearance Thursday, reliever Brad Ziegler allowed four total runs while recording just three outs in his two previous outings in the Mets series. … Reliever Chaz Roe threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut Monday but allowed a run in each of his next two appearances, including a game-tying home run in the 14th inning Thursday. … Gerardo Parra went 6 for 35 (.171) on the road trip with no RBI and one extra-base hit.
WHO’S HOT FOR THE ROCKIES: Outfielder Michael Cuddyer had his 27-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday, but in his past 30 games he has been nearly unstoppable, hitting .366 (45 for 123) with 23 RBI, seven home runs and a .406 on-base percentage. … Friday starter Jorge De La Rosa has a 2.22 ERA over his last four starts, not allowing more than three runs in a game in that stretch. He owns a 3.09 ERA on the season and has only allowed one home run since April 30. … Amid a nine-game hitting streak, catcher Wilin Rosario is batting .424 (14 for 33) with seven RBI, three doubles and two home runs.
WHO’S NOT: Sunday starter Roy Oswalt signed with the Rockies in early May and after a stint in the minors has made three big league starts. He has not pitched past six innings and owns a 7.83 ERA in those starts, surrendering four runs in his first game and five in each of the next two. … Saturday starter Drew Pomeranz, 24, made his season debut last Sunday, giving up four runs in just 4 1/3 innings pitched. … After giving up just one run in his first 36 appearances this season, reliever Rex Brothers has allowed three total runs over his past two outings. He gave up two key ninth-inning runs in a loss Wednesday.
NOTES, QUOTES, ODDS AND ENDS: The D-backs on Thursday announced left-hander Tyler Skaggs as their starting pitcher for Friday’s series opener. Skaggs, who has made three starts in the majors this season, is filling in for Trevor Cahill, who went on the disabled list this week with a right hip contusion. … Of the scheduled starting pitchers for both teams this weekend, only the veteran Oswalt is right-handed. … D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was out of the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time since May 27. It was just the third game he has not started this season, but after pinch-hitting Goldschmidt has still appeared in 84 of the D-backs’ 85 games. Gerardo Parra got two days off in New York but has still appeared in 82 games. … The Rockies are without center fielder Dexter Fowler, who went on the disabled list Tuesday with a bone bruise on his hand. Tyler Colvin and Corey Dickerson will split time in his place.