Amid a dismal season, the Arizona Diamondbacks are currently playing some of their best baseball. They're on a run that started with a victory over the Chicago Cubs, and they will aim for a season-high fifth straight win in Friday's series opener against the Cubs in Chicago.
At 30-68, Arizona hasthe worst record in Major League Baseball. The Diamondbacks have just 11 wins on the road, where they've lost 30 of the last 32 games. However, Arizona is riding its second four-game winning streak of the season after holding on for a 6-4 win over the Cubs on Sunday, then sweeping a home set from Pittsburgh this week.
"We're playing good baseball right now," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's really about winning baseball games and playing winning baseball."
The Diamondbacks have been winning because of an offense that has totaled 27 runs in the last four games. Infielder Josh Rojas is 12-for-24 with five doubles during a seven-game hitting streak. He went 4-for-9 with three of those doubles and two RBIs while Arizona dropped two of three against Chicago last weekend.
Rojas doubled and drew a pair of walks while the Diamondbacks frustrated scheduled Cubs starter Zach Davies (5-6, 4.35 ERA) during that series-finale victory. The right-hander allowed four walks, six hits and two runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Davies' 52 walks issued rank among the most in the majors. He also has failed to complete five innings in three of his last four starts - during which he is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
"You're trying to be out there a little deeper into a game," said Davies, a reported trade option for the Cubs. "If you walk him, you walk him. You move on and you try to make pitches on the next guy. I try to move past it as fast as I can. I'm not happy about it by any means."
The Diamondbacks are slated to counter with Zac Gallen (1-4, 3.86), who allowed a run, three hits and struck out seven with a walk over 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs on Saturday. The right-hander, who had just come off the injured list from a hamstring strain, looked in line for a win, but closer Joakim Soria allowed three runs in the ninth and the Diamondbacks fell 4-2.
"He was fantastic," Lovullo said about Gallen. "You know, one run. He was in control every inning."
Chicago's Willson Contreras recorded a hit in both at-bats against Gallen last weekend, and he delivered the go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth Saturday.
Fellow star Kris Bryant, another Cub who could be dealt before the league's trade deadline at the end of the month, is hitless in three at-bats vs. Gallen, and 2-for-16 in his last six games. After being out of the starting lineup the past two contests with a hamstring injury, Bryant is expected to start Friday.
--Field Level Media