Washington (9-18) at Arizona (12-17)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Fri May 8, 2009
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Bob Melvin was NL Manager of the Year in 2007. Less than two years later, he’s out of a job.

On Friday night, the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks play their first game after Melvin was fired a day earlier when they take on the Washington Nationals.

A.J. Hinch, director of the club’s farm system, is expected to replace Melvin, who was fired hours after Arizona fell 4-3 in 10 innings at San Diego on Thursday. The Diamondbacks (12-17) have lost four of their last five games.

Melvin, 337-340 in four-plus seasons with the Diamondbacks, had one year left on a contract he received after guiding a talented young Arizona club to the NL West title in 2007.

“This is a difficult decision, but I feel that our organization needs to move forward with a new voice,” general manager Josh Byrnes said in a statement.

Hitting coach Rick Schu also was fired, and pitching coach Bryan Price resigned.

Hinch, a former catcher who played for four teams from 1998-2004, has no managerial experience, but is expected to be in the dugout Friday.

Arizona has struggled out of the gate after being surpassed for the division title down the stretch by Los Angeles last season.

Even with most of the players from the 2007 team still on the current roster, the Diamondbacks are last in the majors with a .222 batting average and near the bottom with 105 runs.

“I’m still questioning the focus out there,” team president Derrick Hall told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “I mean, these guys are much better than that.”

After hitting .300 last year, Conor Jackson(notes) went 1-for-3 on Thursday and is batting .191. Mark Reynolds(notes) has struck out 36 times in 102 at-bats and Eric Byrnes(notes) is hitting .139 in the second year of a three-year, $30-million contract.

Returning from a 3-5 road trip, the Diamondbacks might have a tough time getting on track against Washington’s Shairon Martis(notes) (3-0, 4.60 ERA).

Making his ninth career start, Martis allowed one run and five hits while striking out six in his first complete game, a 6-1 victory over St. Louis on Friday.

“This is what we’re working for here - to develop these type of kids,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “Seeing what he was able to do (is encouraging).”

The 22-year-old right-hander will face Arizona for the first time.

The Diamondbacks counter with Yusmeiro Petit(notes) (0-2, 7.84), who allowed three runs and four hits in five innings of a 4-3 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday. Arizona has lost all four starts by Petit, who’s replaced injured ace Brandon Webb(notes) in the rotation.

The right-hander’s only start against the Nationals came July 5, 2006, when he allowed five runs in six innings of an 18-9 win while pitching for Florida.

Nick Johnson(notes) and Adam Dunn(notes) each had three RBIs on Thursday as Washington (8-18) rallied for 10 runs in the final three innings of an 11-9 victory over the Dodgers.

Ryan Zimmerman(notes) went 2 for 4 and extended the longest hitting streak in the majors this season to 25 games. Zimmerman is batting .336 this year and is 2-for-3 against Petit.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Martis Min vs. Y. Petit SF
5-3 Record 3-10
5.25 ERA 5.82
34 K 74
39 BB 34
1.42 WHIP 1.52


Friday, May 8