The Arizona Diamondbacks scored a major-league-low 22 runs through 11 games, but manager Torey Lovullo thinks it’s only a matter of time before his lineup comes to life.
The Diamondbacks look to get the bats going in the third meeting of a four-game series against the host Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Washington opened Tuesday’s doubleheader with a 6-1 victory before holding on for a 1-0 win in the nightcap.
Arizona appeared primed to take the lead in the ninth inning of the second game, loading the bases with no outs. However, Nationals closer Tanner Rainey escaped the jam to earn his third save.
“This team is going up there with the best intentions,” Lovullo said. “They’re grinding and playing as hard as they can. We just can’t seem to get that big hit at the right time. We’ve got the right guys up in the right situation; we just didn’t execute. We’ve got to be better.”
Washington has gone 6-4 since opening the season with three straight losses. The Nationals hope right-hander Erick Fedde (1-0, 3.60 ERA) can build on two strong outings by Josiah Gray and Joan Adon on Tuesday.
Fedde, 29, allowed two runs on four hits over five innings during a 7-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. He struck out six and walked two while throwing 96 pitches.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez is looking for Fedde to be more efficient so he can pitch deeper into games.
“He’s been here for quite some time. I want him to understand who he is and what he can do,” Martinez said. “I know it’s part of the process, but he’s got to start getting it. I know he can pitch five or six innings on 80 pitches or so. We’ve got to get him there.”
Fedde had one of the best starts of his career last May 16 at Arizona, tossing seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory.
The Diamondbacks will counter with right-hander Merrill Kelly (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who has been superb through two starts this season.
Kelly, 33, threw four shutout innings against the San Diego Padres on April 8, then tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Houston Astros on April 13. Overall, he has allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out 13.
Kelly received a two-year contract extension during the offseason and has settled in as the team’s ace after experiencing mixed results in his first three major-league seasons.
“The fourth year coming in, there’s a lot of comfortability, not only knowing the guys in the clubhouse but knowing the league as well,” Kelly said. “And just having confidence in myself to know that I can get guys in this league out.”
Kelly earned a victory in his only previous start against Washington on April 15, 2021, despite pitching poorly. He allowed six runs on nine hits over six innings in the Diamondbacks’ 11-6 win.
Kelly might have to slow Washington center fielder Victor Robles, who started the season 0-for-18 but has shown signs of emerging from his slump.
Robles has recorded a hit in three straight games and has three RBIs over that stretch. He also made several key plays in the outfield during the Tuesday doubleheader.
“I don’t focus on my personal numbers at all,” Robles said. “As long as I feel good out there and the team’s winning, that’s all that matters.”
–Field Level Media