Angels-Diamondbacks Preview

BY foxsports • June 18, 2015

The Arizona Diamondbacks have won five of six and are a game away from returning to .500 for the first time in nearly two months.

For that to happen, they're banking on continued strong pitching and a second good outing out of an arm that looked anything but reliable this spring.

Allen Webster makes his home debut for Arizona Thursday against the visiting Los Angeles Angels, who can't seem to distance themselves from the .500 mark.

The Diamondbacks (32-33) last had an even record at 8-8 on April 24. After Wednesday's 3-2 win to open the two-game home series of four contests with the Angels (33-33), Arizona has a 1.36 ERA over the last six games.

Offensively, production came from a predictable source. Paul Goldschmidt was 2 for 4 with a home run and is 15 for 27 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the last seven games. The slugger has reached base in 27 straight games while batting .430 with a 1.351 OPS. It's the longest active streak in the majors.

"He is a very smart hitter, very patient and he hits your mistakes," Angels starter Hector Santiago said.

He again had Yasmany Tomas in a supporting role with the rookie going 3 for 4 with an RBI triple to boost his season average to .328. He got off to a respectable start, batting .288 in 22 games, but he's taken off with a .351 mark in his last 27.

Webster made his season debut filling in for Josh Collmenter with Saturday's 4-2 win in San Francisco. The right-hander limited the Giants to two runs and two hits with three walks in 5 2-3 innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his last four starts in the majors.

The 25-year-old was acquired from Boston in the Wade Miley deal, struggled through spring training with an 8.18 ERA and spent time on the disabled list before being recalled.

"I've definitely had a rocky road so far," Webster told MLB's official website. "So I'm happy to show them this and hopefully we can feed off this and do it again."

He faced the Angels twice last season, going 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA. Matt Joyce (1 for 8 with three strikeouts) and Erick Aybar (1 for 6) are yet to figure him out.

Aybar has been a big part of Los Angeles' recent offensive struggles, going 1 for 27 over seven games. The club has lost five straight in NL parks, has dropped three of four overall, and in the last five its scored 11 runs with a .224 average. Since reaching a season-best four games over .500 on June 1, Los Angeles is 5-9 with a 4.50 ERA.

C.J. Wilson, however, was strong enough the last time out to make that limited support hold up. Wilson (4-5, 3.60 ERA) allowed two hits in seven innings of Saturday's 1-0 home win over Oakland. It followed consecutive losses with 11 runs allowed in 13 innings.

"He was in the zone early and often, and with good stuff," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

The problem is the left-hander hasn't won consecutive starts - or even decisions - all season. The veteran is 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA in his previous three games following victories, and he's winless in his last five road starts, posting a 7.00 ERA in his last three.

Wilson is 8-2 with a 3.25 ERA in his last 15 starts against the NL.

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