D-backs take momentum into crucial four-game series with Reds in Cincinnati.
By JACK MAGRUDERFS Arizona
The Diamondbacks will take a full dose of momentum into a four-game series at Cincinnati that begins Monday, a series that could prove to be the most pivotal of the season.
Fifteen runs in one game and a 16-inning victory in the next can do that for a team clinging desperatately to its postseason hopes.
After piling up a season-high 15 runs and 20 hits Saturday, the D-backs returned to their season-long M.O. with a 4-2, 16-inning victory over NL Central leader Pittsburgh on Sunday, winning for the 27th time in their final at-bat. That is the most in the majors and eight more than Atlanta, Kansas City and Boston, which are tied for second.
The D-backs have 36 come-from-behind victories and a major league-high and franchise-record 13 wins in extra innings (13-5).
Their resolve and fearlessness should stand the D-backs in good stead as they attempt to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and Cincinnati in the race for the second NL wild card spot.
The D-backs gained a game on the
Reds over the weekend and trail them by five games (four in the loss column) with 40 to play. The Dodgers, who lost Sunday, have a 7 ½ game lead in the division.
The series features the NL RBI leaders, Paul Goldschmidt (96) and Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (92). Goldschmidt leads the NL with 30 homers, and Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is fifth with 24.
Pitching matchups: Monday -- RHP Randall Delgado (4-3, 3.52 ERA) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (11-9, 3.35). Tuesday -- LHP Patrick Corbin (12-3, 2.48) vs. LHP Tony Cingrani (6-2, 2.78). Wednesday --RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-7, 4.84) vs. RHP Mike Leake (10-5, 3.01). Thursday -- RHP Trevor Cahill (4-10, 4.78) vs. Mat Latos (12-4, 3.02).
Who's hot for the Diamondbacks: Martin Prado is hitting .375 with seven doubles, two homers and 15 RBI in his last 16 games after going 7 for 17 against Pittsburgh. … Aaron Hill has an 11-game hitting streak, during which he is 21 hits in 47 at-bats with three homers and 12 RBI. … Didi Gregorius, who had adjusted his stance to bring his hands lower and closer to the hitting zone, has six hits in his last 15 at-bats, with two doubles and two RBI. … Gerardo Parra has five multi-hit games in his last eight.
Who's not: Lefty specialist Joe Thatcher has given up three runs in his last six appearances, covering one inning, and three times he has failed to retire the only batter he faced. … Brandon McCarthy is winless in three starts since returning from the disabled list.
Who's hot for the Reds: Brandon Phillips has nine hits and five RBI in his last 29 at-bats.… Leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo is 6 for 17 with seven walks in his last five games. … Cingrani, a third-round draft pick in 2011 out of Rice who began the 2012 season in the Class A California League, has limited opponents to a .164 batting average with 45 strikeouts in his last seven starts covering 40 innings.
Who's not: All-Star Joey Votto is 5 for 28 with one homer and four RBI, a .179 batting average, in his last eight games. Still, he is hitting .316 and has been above .300 since May 3. … Jay Bruce is 7 for 32 with one RBI in his last nine games. … Zack Cosart is 5 for 30 in his last nine games.
Notes, quotes, odds and ends: Cincinnati has won nine of its last 12 games; the D-backs have won seven of their last 10 … D-backs relievers threw eight scoreless innings against Pittsburgh on Sunday and have given up three runs in their last 25 1/3 innings, starting with a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Baltimore on Tuesday. J.J. Putz's save Sunday was his first since April 28. … The D-backs are 3-1-1 in their last five series against the Reds after taking two out of three games June 21-23 at Chase Field. … Since Jason Kubel's two-run, pinch-hit, walkoff single beat Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman on June 22, the Reds' 100-mph-closer has been very human. Chapman is 0-3 with 12 saves, three blown saves and a 5.19 ERA in the last eight weeks. He blew a save in his last appearance Friday, giving up a two-run, walkoff homer to Jonathan Lucroy in the ninth inning of Milwaukee's 7-6 victory. Kubel, meanwhile, 12 for 89 (.135) with six RBI since and has been reduced to a pinch-hitter role. … Led by former D-backs pitching coach Bryan Price, Cincinnati has the fourth-best ERA in the major leagues (3.36) and the second-best ERA from its starting pitchers (3.31). Only the Dodgers' starters (3.16) have a better ERA. … There are some interesting matchups in play: Aaron Hill is 7 for 19 with two homers against Bronson Arroyo, and Martin Prado is 6 for 12 with a homer off Arroyo. Shin-Soo Choo is 4 for 6 with three walks and three RBIs against Cahill. Jay Bruce has homered in his last two plate appearances against Heath Bell. Brandon Phillips is 0 for 6 against Patrick Corbin. Gerardo Parra is 6 for 16 against Mat Latos, with four hits in his last seven at-bats.