With a string of games against sub-.500 teams coming up, the
Arizona Diamondbacks would appear to have a good chance to make a
The Diamondbacks begin that promising stretch Friday night with
a visit to the major league-worst Houston Astros.
Time is drawing short for Arizona (59-59) to make its move
toward a second straight postseason berth, but the Diamondbacks
have 10 straight matchups against teams with losing records:
Houston (39-80), Miami and San Diego.
Arizona could use some success in those games as it’s currently
5 1/2 back in the NL West and six games behind the NL wild-card
The Diamondbacks helped themselves Thursday when they avoided a
three-game sweep in St. Louis with a 2-1 victory. Paul Goldschmidt
and Chris Young hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning for
their team’s fourth victory in 12 contests.
“It’s been a slow go for us, and we were getting shut out
again,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We had good life tonight. Guys
were upbeat right until the end and good things happened.”
Arizona hasn’t earned back-to-back wins since claiming four
straight July 30-Aug. 3, and will try to pull off that feat by
continuing its dominance over the Astros. The Diamondbacks have won
nine of 10 matchups, including a three-game sweep at Chase Field
from July 20-22, and seven of eight in Houston.
Wade Miley (12-8, 3.02 ERA) earned a win in the middle game
during that July series – his only matchup with Houston – by
yielding one run over seven innings.
The left-hander, though, is coming off one of his worst outings
of the season, giving up six runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 6-5
defeat to Washington on Saturday. He had given up three or fewer
runs over each of his previous five outings and one run in each of
the previous two.
“I wasn’t executing pitches. I was staying middle,” he told the
team’s website. “I wasn’t commanding the ball at all.”
Miley might have a chance to bounce against the Astros, who are
12-48 on the road, 8-22 against NL West opponents and 7-37 in their
last 44 overall.
He’ll also pitch opposite Dallas Keuchel again in this game. The
rookie left-hander gave up seven runs to Arizona during the
shortest outing of his career, 3 1-3 innings, on July 21, and his
struggles have continued.
Keuchel (1-4, 5.29) is 0-4 with a 7.84 ERA over his last six
games but has given up four runs in each of his last two games. He
avoided taking losses in both contests, and gave up just two earned
runs and five hits over six innings during his team’s 6-5 win over
Milwaukee on Saturday.
“It’s nice to be able to go out there and command the ball to
both sides of the plate and up and down,” Keuchel said. “I felt
good from the get go.”
Jason Kubel hit a pair of home runs off Keuchel during the most
recent matchup, but he’s batting .167 with three homers over his
last 18 games.