It has been a mostly forgettable season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. A few years ago, they were a rising team, but now they are one of the worst teams in baseball.
If not for Baltimore’s 15-game losing streak and the Diamondbacks’ recent surge, Arizona would have the worst record in the majors.
However, the Diamondbacks have reason for optimism. They just finished a 6-1 homestand against playoff contenders, including finishing a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. Now they head to Colorado to face the Rockies for a three-game series beginning Friday night.
Pitching the opener for Arizona will be rookie Tyler Gilbert, who made history by throwing a no-hitter in his first major league start against San Diego on Saturday night. Gilbert (1-1, 0.00 ERA) became the fourth pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first career start and the first to do it in 68 years.
That it came against a team in contention made it sweeter.
“For me, it’s what Major League Baseball or the game of baseball is all about — as long as you have a uniform, as long as you give the right effort, anything’s possible,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Saturday night.
Before his start, Gilbert made three relief appearances, beginning with his major league debut on Aug. 3, and allowed just one unearned run in 3 2/3 innings. He wasn’t fazed by the moment against the Padres.
“It was weird, I wasn’t nervous at all,” Gilbert said after the no-hitter. “I felt like I should have been. I don’t know why. I just kept going out there and doing my thing. I was really nervous before the game, leading up to the game. But after the three-pitch eighth inning, I was like, ‘This is possibly going to happen.'”
His encore will come at hitter-friendly Coors Field against a Rockies team that completed a sweep of the Padres on Wednesday. It will be the first time Gilbert will face Colorado, which will pitch lefty Austin Gomber, fresh off the paternity list. Gomber (9-7, 4.09 ERA) was initially slated to start Wednesday’s game but was away from the team for the birth of his daughter.
Gomber will be making his second career start and third overall appearance against Arizona. He is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 6 2/3 total innings vs. the Diamondbacks.
Gomber will be fresher and can benefit from the Rockies’ potent offense, which put up 20 runs in the three-game sweep of San Diego. No one is swinging the bat better than first baseman C.J. Cron, who won Tuesday’s game with a walk-off home run and went 6-for-11 with two homers and five RBIs in the three games.
He is hitting .415 (22-for-53) with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 15 August games.
“Overall, he’s been solid — the numbers will reflect that,” Rockies manager Bud Black said after the Tuesday win. “But lately, the last month or so, the at-bats are better. They really are.”
Cron is batting .269 with 21 home runs and 68 RBIs this season, with the homer and RBI totals leading the Rockies.
–Field Level Media