The New York Mets are the latest team to find success against the struggling starting rotation of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Looking to add to Brandon McCarthy’s early troubles, the Mets can record their first series sweep at Chase Field in eight years by handing the Diamondbacks a sixth consecutive defeat Wednesday.
After opening the series with a 7-3 victory, New York (7-7) scored all its runs over 3 1-3 innings off starter Bronson Arroyo in Tuesday’s 9-0 win. The Mets, who haven’t swept a set at Chase Field since taking all four June 8-11, 2006, have outscored the Diamondbacks 29-9 during a four-game road winning streak at Arizona.
"Hopefully we can keep it going," said Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who went 3 for 5 with a two-run homer and three RBIs in his season debut after being called up to replace injured center fielder Juan Lagares.
Nieuwenhuis is 7 for 14 in his last four games against the Diamondbacks (4-13).
While Arizona was shut out for the third time this season and second in five days, its major league-worst starters’ ERA rose to 7.82.
"Last year, it was the bullpen giving it up and this year it’s just the inverse," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "That part is very frustrating."
If Arizona is to avoid its first six-game skid since Aug. 24-29, 2012, it needs McCarthy (0-2, 7.78 ERA) to fare better than he has in his first three outings. The right-hander allowed six runs for the second straight start Friday, pitching into the eighth inning of a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I haven’t really felt like I have thrown terribly this season," he said. "It has just been a few pitches in there that have gone wrong and they happen to really hurt me. Whether it is a combination of bad luck and bad pitches, it is really getting old."
In his only previous start versus New York, McCarthy gave up two runs in seven innings of a 4-1 home loss last season.
Trying to move above .500 for the first time since they were 10-9 on April 24, the Mets hand the ball to Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03).
Making his fourth start, Gee hopes to bounce back after he allowed four runs, two homers and four walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4, 11-inning road defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. The right-hander, who has yielded five home runs this season, only walked three over his previous two starts – leaving manager Terry Collins concerned with his control.
"That’s very uncharacteristic," Collins told the Mets’ official website.
Gee is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against the Diamondbacks.
It’s uncertain if New York’s Curtis Granderson will miss a second straight game after he injured his left forearm and ribs colliding with the outfield wall Monday. He’s batting .170 with a homer, four RBIs and 16 strikeouts.
Mark Trumbo is 0 for 7 in the series and batting .209 in the first 17 games of his Arizona tenure.