Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen leads the NL in walks.
Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt may soon have that distinction the way teams are pitching to him.
McCutchen will return to the lineup Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, where Goldschmidt is looking to break out of a slump in the opener of a three-game series.
Manager Clint Hurdle gave McCutchen a scheduled day off Sunday as the Pirates (42-40) won for the seventh time in nine games, 5-2 over the New York Mets.
The center fielder is 10 for 31 during an eight-game hitting streak, and his 54 walks are nine shy of the club record before the All-Star break shared by Arky Vaughan (1936) and Ralph Kiner (1950, 1952).
He has walked just twice in his last seven games while Goldschmidt has drawn 14 in his past seven. The problem for the Arizona slugger is that he is 1 for 19 in that span with 10 strikeouts.
”It’s a combination. I have done a better job of not swinging out of the zone,” said Goldschmidt, who has 47 walks. ”At times, I have been aggressive in the zone. There have been some intentional walks. Walks, like anything, kind of come in streaks whether it’s homers, hits or wins.”
Arizona (35-49) is batting .221 with 21 runs in the last seven games. Goldschmidt has one of his team-high 53 RBIs in that stretch.
The Diamondbacks totaled six runs while taking two of three in San Diego over the weekend, falling 2-1 on Sunday. Goldschmidt was 0 for 5 with seven walks in the series.
”They pitched around Goldy all series and put it on the other guys. We didn’t get enough runs, we didn’t get enough contribution,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Goldschmidt is hitting .365 against left-handers. He’s 2 for 3 against Jeff Locke (1-1, 3.74 ERA), the Pirates’ starter Tuesday.
Locke won for the first time in seven outings last Tuesday by allowing three runs over 7 1-3 innings in a 6-5 victory at Tampa Bay. He has a 2.54 ERA in four starts since being recalled from the minors June 8.
"I’m just throwing strikes," Locke said.
Locke’s lone start against Arizona was a disaster. He allowed a career-worst eight runs over 2 2-3 innings in a 15-5 loss Aug. 17.
The Diamondbacks are a major league-worst 6-12 against left-handed starters.
Locke’s batterymate is expected to be Russell Martin, who sat out the last two games after hurting his shoulder in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Mets.
Arizona will also start a southpaw in Wade Miley, who is 0-3 with a 4.74 ERA in his last eight starts. Miley (3-6, 4.78) has not received a decision in four straight outings, allowing five runs over four-plus innings in last Tuesday’s 9-8, 14-inning win over Cleveland.
He’s 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts against Pittsburgh. McCutchen is 2 for 9 with four walks against Miley while Starling Marte is 5 for 10.
Marte went 1 for 4 on Sunday as he started for the first time in five games after a swollen finger kept him out of the lineup.