Surpising Godley gets nod for Diamondbacks vs. Phillies (Jun 17, 2017)

BY AP • June 17, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- As well as Zack Godley keeps pitching, he still has to earn his spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation.

He'll get his next opportunity to prove he belongs on Saturday afternoon in the second game of a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Godley will be making his first career start against the Phillies, though he's faced them once before, throwing a scoreless inning in relief last June before briefly moving into the Diamondbacks' rotation the following month. After going back to the bullpen last August and September, he's established himself firmly as a starter this year -- at least it would seem.

After limiting the Milwaukee Brewers to two runs in 6 2/3 innings last Saturday, Godley improved his record to 2-1 with a 2.44 ERA since his call-up; that ERA would be third-best in the NL if he had enough innings.

But he still had to wait for his club to make a few roster moves before he knew he'd make it to his ninth start of the season.

"There's a lot of mental toughness that he is showing because he is walking through a pretty tough situation," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told the Arizona Republic. "He's pitching, he doesn't know if he's going to get the ball the next time. He continues to be very impressive and the biggest key here is that he hasn't let it affect his game plan."

Godley will be opposed by Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, who takes the mound gainst the Diamondbacks (42-26) still looking for his first win of the season in his 14th start.

Eickhoff (0-7, 5.09 ERA) managed to avoid a loss his last time out when he gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in six innings at Boston on Monday, though that was the ninth straight start in which he's allowed up at least three runs; he's got a 6.46 ERA over that span.

In two career games against the Diamondbacks (both starts), Eickhoff is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA. He's pitching in front of an offense that's trying to find itself, which was evident on Friday night in a 5-4 Arizona win that was decided on a two-run homer by Gregor Blanco.

Two of the club's talented but struggling young hitters, center fielder Odubel Herrera and third baseman Maikel Franco, both came through with clutch hits for the Phillies (22-44). Herrera, who's hitting .344 this month with 14 extra-base hits, had a triple and scored two runs on Friday. Franco, whose average has been hovering between .200 and .220 most of the season, had a two-run double which briefly put his team up 4-2 in the sixth inning.

"That was good to see," manager Pete Mackanin said of Franco's two-run double after an 0-2 count. "Behind with two strikes and the guy threw him about six soft pitches and he finally hung in there on the one and drilled the ball to left-center field, that's nice to see."

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