It took the Arizona Diamondbacks 13 attempts to get back to .500 for the first time since being 8-8. Getting over that mark and remaining there heading into the All-Star break will require a series win over the New York Mets.
The teams meet Friday night for the first of three games in New York with the hot-hitting Diamondbacks seeking a sixth win in seven games and a fourth straight road victory.
Arizona (42-42) had lost its previous 12 attempts at reaching .500 before Wednesday’s 7-4 win in Texas.
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"It’s important to get to .500," manager Chip Hale told MLB’s official website. "It’s important getting into second place like we are, but it doesn’t matter until the end of the year."
Over a 6-3 span, the Diamondbacks are averaging 5.7 runs and batting .310, but those numbers could dip in New York. A.J. Pollock and Welington Castillo each homered, and Pollock is hitting .394 in seven games this month.
Pollock is 3 for 27 in eight career visits to Citi Field while fellow All-Star Paul Goldschmidt’s .190 average in New York is his second worst among NL parks.
The teams split four in Arizona last month, and the Mets have won eight of 13 in New York since 2011 while limiting the Diamondbacks to a .217 average.
The Mets (44-42) are 29-14 at home this season and are coming off their best road trip with series wins against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco, including Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the Giants.
"We needed it," Jacob deGrom said of the 4-2 road trip. "It’s a good way to go back home."
New York dropped seven straight from June 17-24, and the pitching has been key in the 8-5 span that’s followed. The Mets have a 1.41 ERA in that time, and their starters haven’t allowed an earned run in six of those.
Noah Syndergaard can’t claim any of them, but he’s pitching as well as he has all season. Syndergaard (3-4, 3.38 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and .174 opponent batting average in his last four starts, and the right-hander limited the Dodgers to a run and two hits in six innings of Friday’s 2-1 victory but didn’t earn the decision.
It was a major improvement over the rest of his season on the road but like his team, the rookie should be eager to return home. The 22-year-old is 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts in New York versus 0-3 with a 5.33 mark in five on the road.
He’s up against Chase Anderson, who’s allowed as many home runs in his last three starts as he had in his previous 20. Anderson (4-2, 3.71) gave up three runs and three hits in six innings of Friday’s 4-3 home win over Colorado, surrendering a leadoff homer to bring his total to seven in three starts. The right-hander didn’t receive the decision and is 1-1 with a 7.64 ERA in that span after going 3-0 with a 2.25 in his previous nine.
That included a 2-1 home win over New York on June 6 in which Anderson yielded a run and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings but didn’t earn the victory. Juan Lagares was 2 for 3 with a home run.
Michael Cuddyer is 2 for 9 with three strikeouts against Anderson but has missed six of eight games with a sore left knee. He’s 4 for 40 in his last 13 games, while Lucas Duda is 2 for 29 in July.