Arizona’s longest losing streak has coincided with the its biggest controversy of the season, but the Diamondbacks insist there’s no connection.
The NL West-leading Diamondbacks look to shake a four-game losing streak when they continue their four-game weekend series with the New York Mets.
Arizona (34-26) lost 7-1 to the Mets in the series opener on Thursday for its longest losing streak since dropping five in a row from Aug. 30-Sept. 4 last season. The Diamondbacks have been outscored 24-5 in three games since learning that federal agents had searched the home of reliever Jason Grimsley in a steroid investigation. Arizona released Grimsley on Wednesday.
“I don’t think there’s any lingering effect,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “(Mets starter Orlando Hernandez) just pitched well. They swung the bats better than we did. They beat us across the board tonight.”
Thursday’s defeat shrank Arizona’s division lead to one game over the idle Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have held first place in the NL West since May 22.
Hernandez, whom the Mets acquired in a May 24 trade with Arizona for reliever Jorge Julio, threw a complete game for the win. Julio, who did not appear in Thursday’s contest, has allowed just one run in seven innings since the deal.
Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer and Endy Chavez drove in three runs for the Mets (36-23), who lead the NL East by 4 1/2 games over the second-place Philadelphia Philllies. New York improved to 3-1 on its current 10-game road trip.
Miguel Batista (6-2, 4.12 ERA) will look to end Arizona’s slump. He won his third straight start on Sunday, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Batista has allowed just six earned runs in 21 2-3 innings over his last three outings.
The right-hander, who pitched a complete game in a 7-2 win over the Mets on May 30, is undefeated in five starts since a 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh on May 9.
“I’m doing my job,” he said. “I’m making them swing the bat.”
Batista is 4-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 18 career appearances, including eight starts, against the Mets.
While Batista is riding a hot streak, New York’s Steve Trachsel (2-4, 4.67) looks to end a personal drought. The right-hander allowed one run and six hits in seven innings of the Mets’ 12-inning, 7-6 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. He is 0-3 with a 5.59 ERA in his last seven starts.
Trachsel is 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA in nine career starts against the Diamondbacks. He gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of the Mets’ 8-7 win over Arizona on May 29, but did not receive a decision.