The Arizona Diamondbacks just snapped their 13-game losing streak, but they now face the daunting task of putting together another win against the major league’s top pitcher, Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.
The right-hander was scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against the Atlanta Braves before rain postponed the game. He will start instead with another day of rest against the Diamondbacks on Monday in Phoenix.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner leads the majors with a 0.80 ERA, allowing only four earned runs in 45 innings spanning seven starts. He also has 74 strikeouts to go with only seven walks.
He struck out nine in a successful return from the injured list last Tuesday in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Colorado Rockies.
“It felt like a really long time,” deGrom said. “I hate not going out there. You feel like you’re letting down the team.”
The Diamondbacks lost to deGrom on May 9, when he limited them to one hit in five innings in the 4-2 win.
It was in that game that deGrom felt the tightness on his right side after a swing and he eventually was placed on the injured list.
In the win over Colorado, his fastball was timed at the usual 100 mph.
“Everything felt good. Body felt good,” deGrom said.
He has never lost to Arizona, compiling a 4-0 record and 1.65 ERA in five career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona will counter with right-hander Merrill Kelly (2-5, 4.84 ERA).
Although Kelly’s last win was April 27 against the San Diego Padres, he has been the Diamondbacks’ most consistent pitcher this season. In his most recent start against the San Francisco Giants last Wednesday, he allowed two runs over six innings, lowering his May ERA to 3.52.
Kelly has allowed only 16 earned runs in his past seven starts (41 2/3 innings) and compiled 42 strikeouts with 12 walks in that span.
He is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA in three career starts against the Mets. He went 5 2/3 innings at New York on May 8 in a 4-2 loss. He allowed only three hits and struck out six but he also walked five batters.
A rejuvenated team and lineup will be behind Kelly after Sunday’s 9-2 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals that ended the 13-game losing streak.
“I’m sure you guys can imagine what was going on in there (in the clubhouse),” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the win. “These guys have been waiting for 14 games for something like this to happen, where they can celebrate and be a part of something that they’ve been working hard for.
“My office is across the hallway, and I could hear it. I had a quick glimpse of the energy that was happening inside of there. I felt that energy. It was pretty emotional in there.”
Ketel Marte, on the injured list most of this season with a strained right hamstring, led Arizona’s 13-hit performance Sunday with a 457-foot home run, his third homer of the season.
–Field Level Media