After a sweep at the hands of the Padres, the Diamondbacks got back in the win column with a little home cooking earlier this week, taking two of three games from the Marlins to maintain a 1 1/2-game lead atop the NL West.
But the lead appears a bit precarious for a couple reasons. First, the D-backs have not had a starting pitcher win a game since June 5, a span of 13 starts. Part of that is the pitching, obviously, but also to blame is the sputtering offense.
In three games against the Marlins, the D-backs batted .180 (16 for 89). They were 4 for 15 with runners in scoring position and as a team left 14 runners on base. That was after batting .181 as a team in the Padres series. Those are the kinds of numbers many expected from the D-backs this year, but the offense has mostly overachieved.
The D-backs try to get everything going again with a weekend series against the Reds, who currently sit in second place in the NL Central and also have the second-best record in the National League. Here’s what to look for in the series starting Friday night:
PITCHING MATCHUPS: Friday — LHP Wade Miley (4-6, 4.64 ERA) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto. Saturday — LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28) vs. RHP Mike Leake (7-3, 2.64). Sunday — Randall Delgado (0-0, 4.00) vs. RHP Mat Latos (6-1, 3.20).
WHO’S HOT FOR THE D-BACKS: Saturday starter Patrick Corbin was dominant Monday against the Marlins, allowing just two runs on two hits over eight innings, but did not get a win behind a quiet offense. His 2.28 ERA is currently fifth in the NL. … After going hitless in three games against the Padres, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt went 3 for 10 with two home runs and three RBI against the Marlins. His home run Tuesday gave the D-backs a walkoff win. … Outfielder Gerardo Parra has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, going 19 for 56 (.339) with five doubles and six RBI over that span.
WHO’S NOT: Despite notching two saves over the past four games, closer Heath Bell has allowed runs in each of those games, posting an 11.25 ERA in that span and raising his season ERA from 3.28 to 4.40. … Outfielder Jason Kubel is 2 for his last 12 with no extra-base hits. … Over the D-backs’ last three series, center fielder A.J. Pollock is 3 for 24 with two doubles but no RBI. He has been hitting below .300 since April 21.
WHO’S HOT FOR THE REDS: Saturday starter Mike Leake has thrown back-to-back one-run outings and has not allowed more than three runs in a game since May 8. He has posted a quality start in six of his last seven outings, and his 2.64 ERA ranks 10th in the NL. … Over his last eight games, outfielder Jay Bruce is batting .314 (11 for 35) with five home runs and five RBI. … First baseman Joey Votto is 9 for 21 (.429) with two RBI and a home run over the last five games.
WHO’S NOT: Catcher Ryan Hanigan is without an RBI since June 4. In that nine-game span, he has gone 7 for 34 (.206) at the plate with a .220 on-base percentage. … Outfielder Xavier Paul is 1 for 19 over the past week, and he is without a RBI or extra-base hit in that span. … Sunday starter Mat Latos is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA over his last two starts.
NOTES, QUOTES, ODDS AND ENDS: With Ian Kennedy serving a 10-game suspension, the D-backs are forced to shuffle the starting rotation a bit, and on Thursday they named Randall Delgado the Sunday starter. “That’s the way it’ll be while Ian’s unavailable,” manager Kirk Gibson said, explaining the series-to-series finagling. Delgado gave up two runs in seven innings Tuesday. … Though the D-backs on Monday lost for the first time in a game Patrick Corbin started, the lefty remains 9-0 and Saturday gets his fourth shot at improving to 10-0. … Friday starter Johnny Cueto has never lost to the D-backs. In six starts against them, he is 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA, his best against any NL team. At Chase Field, though, he owns a 2.84 ERA over three career starts. … Reds first baseman Joey Votto is the only player standing between D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and a start in the All-Star Game next month. At last update, Votto led Goldschmidt in voting by about 523,000 votes.