D-backs host doubleheader for first time
It’s almost fitting that the Arizona Diamondbacks will play the franchise’s first doubleheader in Phoenix on a day severe thunderstorms are expected to hit the valley.
The inclement weather, however, has nothing to do with the twinbill at the retractable-roof ballpark.
The Diamondbacks are hopeful Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader goes a bit better than their first two games with the Miami Marlins, who are suddenly winning behind the red-hot Giancarlo Stanton.
Arizona’s first home doubleheader is a result of a scheduling snafu. The Diamondbacks (62-61) were originally slated to play games on 23 consecutive days, which is a violation of the basic agreement between the owners and players. So in early August, the league turned Wednesday’s game into a doubleheader, providing Arizona with a day off Thursday.
The Diamondbacks entered this series riding a four-game winning streak but have lost the first two contests to drop six back of NL West-leading San Francisco.
Stanton has come up huge for Miami (57-67). He homered twice in Monday’s 12-3 win and hit a run-scoring single with two outs in the 10th inning in Tuesday’s 6-5 final as the Marlins rallied from a five-run, first-inning deficit.
“I stopped swinging so dang hard and just put the ball in play,” said Stanton, who is batting .414 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last seven games – five Miami wins.
His presence in the batter’s box will likely be an unsettling sight for top prospect Tyler Skaggs, who is expected to make his major league debut in the opener.
The 21-year-old left-hander began the season in Double-A before going 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Reno, yielding one earned run or fewer seven times.
Skaggs will be opposed by Jacob Turner, who is scheduled to be called up from Triple-A New Orleans to make his Marlins debut.
Turner, the No. 9 pick in the 2009 draft, was acquired from Detroit as part of the trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante on July 23. The 21-year-old right-hander had an 8.03 ERA in three starts for the Tigers, but he went 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts for the Zephyrs.
Turner’s stay with the big league club could be short-lived, but manager Ozzie Guillen would like to see him stick around.
“I think we should keep him here to see if we can count on him next year, or exactly what stage he is in,” Guillen told the Marlins’ official website.
In the nightcap, Guillen will give the ball to Wade LeBlanc (2-2, 2.50 ERA).
After going 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his first three games since being inserted in the rotation, the lefty yielded five runs and nine hits in five innings at Colorado on Friday, but got credit for a 6-5 win.
LeBlanc was 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA in three starts versus the Diamondbacks last season with San Diego, and is 1-2 with a 9.17 ERA in four career starts in Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will counter with Wade Miley (13-8, 2.96), who gave up a run and eight hits over six innings in Friday’s 3-1 victory over Houston. The southpaw bounced back after allowing six runs in 4 1-3 innings in a loss to Washington on Aug. 11 – the only time in his last four starts he allowed more than one run.
That outing against the Nationals, however, came at Chase Field, where he is 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA in his last four games. He was 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his first six starts in Phoenix.
Miley had no trouble pitching in Miami on April 29. He gave up an unearned run, one hit and two walks in 6 1-3 innings of an 8-4 victory, his only career start against the Marlins.