Diamondbacks look for Godley help against Braves (Jul 16, 2017)

ATLANTA — The Arizona Diamondbacks starter with the lowest ERA isn’t Zack Greinke or fellow All-Star Game selection Robbie Ray.

That distinction belongs to Zack Godley, who began the season in the minors and has been recalled from Triple-A Reno three times and optioned back twice since.

Amid the ups and downs, the 27-year-old right-hander from South Carolina takes a rotation-best 2.58 ERA and a 3-3 record in 11 major league games going into Sunday’s start against the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a weekend series at SunTrust Park.

Godley, who will be opposed by veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia of the Braves, hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his outings and has pitched into the seventh inning six times while recording eight quality starts.

Godley being able to fill in as well as he has after Shelby Miller was lost to Tommy John elbow surgery was a key part of the Diamondbacks’ first-half improvement.

“I’m just trying to take advantage of the opportunity and fill the gap,” said Godley, who had a 6.39 ERA in 27 games (nine starts) with Arizona in 2016. “I had a couple of rough spots last year and I’m trying to get some consistency. I’ve done a lot better with that and appreciate that the team keeps putting me out there.”

The Diamondbacks (53-38) need Godley to be a stopper on Sunday as they try to avoid a series sweep against the Braves (44-45).

Godley is from Chapin, S.C., and pitched at the University of Tennessee, so he’ll have his own cheering section for his first start in Atlanta.

“I lot of family and friends are coming,” he said.

Godley will have an opportunity to atone for a rough outing against the Braves in Arizona last year. He gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings in a loss.

Garcia has had more than his share of iffy outings lately as his record has fallen to 2-7 with five straight losses and his ERA jumped to 4.55.

The free agent after the season allowed 10 hits and was charged with five runs in six innings against Houston in his last start before the All-Star break after giving up six runs in each of his three previous outings.

“I didn’t get the job done again. I’ve got to be better,” he said.

Garcia hasn’t won since May 26 at San Francisco, when he pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He was 5-2 with a 4.00 ERA in seven career starts against Arizona while with St. Louis.

The Braves, in a 9-4 stretch at home, have won six of their past nine series and tied another.

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have lost four straight games for the first time this season and have dropped 10 of their past 13.

“The season has ups and downs every year,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I know that we’re frustrated right now. We’ve lost a couple of games. But Atlanta is a quality baseball team.”

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