The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a position they haven’t been in since the middle of May - out of first place in the NL West.
Fresh off his first All-Star appearance, Patrick Corbin will try to build on his first-half dominance and help the Diamondbacks get back on track Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs.
Arizona (51-48) dropped a half-game behind the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West with a 4-2 loss in Monday’s series opener. The Diamondbacks hadn’t been out of first place since May 16.
Arizona is batting .194 in its last 11 games and is 6 for 42 (.143) with runners in scoring position in its last seven. The Diamondbacks have produced nine runs in their last five contests.
“Everyone is trying their best, but in this game, you fail more than you succeed,” said shortstop Didi Gregorius, who went 3 for 3 and scored a run Monday. “We’ll come back tomorrow and find a way to get it done.”
Junior Lake, meanwhile, continued his stellar start for the Cubs (44-53) by going 4 for 5 with his first major league homer and three RBIs. Lake’s nine hits are the most by a Chicago player in his first four games since Andy Pafko in 1943.
“It’s pretty nice what he’s doing,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s done something that hasn’t happened in 70 years, and it’s pretty impressive. Hopefully it continues.”
Corbin (11-1, 2.35 ERA) will try to contain Lake and the rest of the Chicago lineup in his first start since the All-Star game. After going winless in six consecutive outings, the left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 20 strikeouts in his last two games.
He gave up one run over 6 2-3 innings and fanned 10 in his final start before the break, a 2-1 win over Milwaukee on July 12, as the Diamondbacks improved to 17-2 when he takes the hill.
Corbin won his only start against the Cubs on June 2 despite giving up four runs over six innings.
In this matchup, he’ll pitch opposite another first-time All-Star, left-hander Travis Wood (6-6, 2.79).
Wood has one win in his last eight starts despite allowing three earned runs or fewer in each outing. He gave up three in the first-half finale against St. Louis on July 14, but also yielded a season-high 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings, failing to make it through the sixth for only the second time this season in a 10-6 loss.
Wood is 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in his last three starts against Arizona and gave up five runs over five innings in his most recent matchup, an 8-3 loss at Chase Field on Sept. 28
After pitcher Matt Garza was traded to Texas on Monday, Sveum is likely hoping Alfonso Soriano isn’t dealt away before this series ends. The outfielder, reportedly drawing interest from the New York Yankees, is batting .369 with 17 homers and 38 RBIs in his last 32 games against the Diamondbacks.
Soriano, though, had a 10-game hitting streak in Arizona snapped Monday. He doubled and struck out twice in his three at-bats against Corbin in June.