Mariners go for sweep of Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — For the second time in a month, Arizona right-hander Zack Godley did not appear comfortable fielding his position in a loss to Seattle on Friday, the one blip in what is shaping up as a career year.
Godley made a wild throw past third base when Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon attempted a delayed steal of third, and enabling Gordon to score the first run of a four-run third inning in a 6-3 victory.
Godley, who has a career-high 13 victories and is on target to set a handful of other personal records this season, threw past first base on a come-backer against Colorado last month and later that game opted not to attempt a pickoff throw when a runner broke for second.
It has caught the Diamondbacks‘ attention as the stretch drive begins.
“These are a couple of situations that have popped up on him,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo acknowledged. “What happens now, this is a smart league.
“Teams are going to start to lock in on what happened in Arizona here tonight and perhaps take another poke at it. We have to figure out a way to make that not happen. There are a lot of things we can do to help. If it is a limitation, and it is certainly pointing in that direction, or it could be, we can’t ignore it. We are going to figure out the best solution.”
The Diamondbacks lost to Seattle 4-2 in 10 innings in the second game of the series between playoff contenders Saturday and fell into a tie with Colorado for first place in the NL West.
They will send right-hander Zack Greinke (12-8, 3.06) to oppose Mariners right-hander Mike Leake (8-7, 3.90) in the rubber final game Sunday.
The Mariners won their first series since sweeping four in Houston from Aug. 9-12, helped by another homer from Mitch Haniger, who has two in the series and a career-high 22 this season.
“I think it is going to be a fight,” Haniger said of the AL West race. “We have a really good team here, and I think we are getting hot at the right time.”
Greinke is 0-3 in his last four starts, breaking a seven-game winning streak, although the Diamondbacks offensive support has been complicit in the recent slump. Three of his last four starts were quality starts, but the offense scored only seven runs in those four when he was on the mound.
Still, Greinke is one of three double-digit winners on the D-backs’ staff (only Colorado has as many) and ranks seventh in the league in ERA. He is fifth in the NL with 165 strikeouts and sixth with a 1.05 WHIP.
“I know Patrick (Corbin) has had a great year as well, but Zack has been the main guy for all of us to jump on board with him,” Lovullo said. “It starts with fastball command. It starts with a game plan, attacking zones. Preparation. Any time he starts a game, we know we are in the game.”
Greinke’s strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.1:1 is third in the league behind Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. Greinke has made 16 quality starts, tied for fifth in the league.
Leake, who was courted by the Diamondbacks in the same offseason they signed Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract, missed his last scheduled start because of an illness.
He has not pitched since his best and perhaps most important outing to date, a no-decision in a 2-0, 12-inning victory at Oakland on Aug. 15 in which he gave up two hits and struck out six.
“He’s been one of most consistent guys, going out there and doing his thing,” Servais said. “He does it a little bit different every time out. When he is right, he has a good sinker and the ball is on the ground the lot. He throws a ton of strikes.
“We missed him with the illness. Not having him in there hurt, but glad to have him back. It’s been a really good season for him.”
Leake, who helped nearby Arizona State to the College World Series in 2009, leads the AL with 164 hits allowed but his ERA is the lowest it has been since mid-April.
He is 5-3 with a 4.96 ERA in 11 career starts against the Diamondbacks, one in each of the last two seasons while with St. Louis.