Giants visit Diamondbacks, seek to cure their mid-season blues

MLB Baseball

The San Francisco Giants haven’t lost four consecutive games all season, and they will look to get back in the win column when they visit the woeful Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game set in Phoenix.

San Francisco has matched its season-worst skid of three games after being swept in a two-game series by Los Angeles to see its lead in the National League West shrink to 1 1/2 games over the Dodgers.

The Giants (50-29), who own the best record in the majors, hope to turn things around against the Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in the majors at 22-60. Arizona has dropped 47 of its past 54 games and went 3-24 in June.

San Francisco has won all six meetings against the Diamondbacks this season and holds a 50-24 edge in runs scored.

Though the Giants have just five runs during their skid that began with Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Alex Dickerson said there is no reason for alarm.

“We’re playing all close games for the most part,” Dickerson said. “I think that’s where the confidence kind of lies. You’re going to have stretches where we don’t put runs on the board, but when you have pitching as good as ours and defense as good as ours, you’re always going to be there.

“It really just takes one or two big innings and you’re right back on the horse. We have all the confidence in the world that we’ll get right back on track.”

The Diamondbacks have lost their past four games, including a three-game sweep in St. Louis that concluded with a 7-4 setback on Wednesday afternoon.

Arizona was 1-for-14 in the finale with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Asdrubal Cabrera’s RBI single in the third was the lone clutch hit.

“It’s terribly frustrating when you build innings and are unable to get the big hit. That was the theme for us,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after his club’s 28th defeat in its past 29 road games. “We had the right guys up in the right situations. We couldn’t capitalize and put up that crooked number.”

Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (6-3, 3.63 ERA) will look to continue Arizona’s woes.

The 35-year-old Cueto has won his past two starts, including a strong outing last Friday against Oakland when he allowed five hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Cueto received a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on May 26 when he gave up four runs and eight hits over five innings. That outing was a departure from Cueto’s established success against Arizona, as he stands 11-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 19 career outings.

Cueto has shut down David Peralta (1-for-18, nine strikeouts) and Nick Ahmed (2-for-14). Eduardo Escobar is 4-for-12 with a homer off Cueto.

Right-hander Merrill Kelly (4-7, 4.73) will be on the mound for the Diamondbacks.

Kelly has Arizona’s lone wins over the past 26 games, beating the Milwaukee Brewers on June 21 and the San Diego Padres last Saturday.

The 32-year-old Kelly gave up one run and 10 hits over 13 innings during the stretch.

Kelly is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts against the Giants this season. He gave up four runs in three innings in a loss on June 16.

Overall, he is 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA in six career starts against San Francisco. Buster Posey is 5-for-14 with a homer against Kelly, while Dickerson also has a homer for his lone hit in six at-bats.

–Field Level Media

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