D-backs running out of time, hope in wild-card chase

Field Level Media

The Arizona Diamondbacks continued their three-week stretch of extremes Friday, and their playoff chances took another hit.

The Diamondbacks lost their sixth in a row -- 4-3 to the Cincinnati Reds -- in the first game of a three-game series in Phoenix, falling 4 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second National League wild-card spot with 14 games to play and four teams to catch.

The downturn has come after Arizona won 11 of 12 before the Reds posted a 4-3 walk-off victory in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

"It's frustrating, and it's not easy to chalk it up to the game," Arizona first baseman Christian Walker said. "But it's how it goes when it is good and it's how it goes when it is bad. Unfortunately, it's on the wrong end for us.

"We are still fighting for something, and every day we are excited to show up to the ballpark. We are motivated. We're looking forward to the rest of the games. The last few have been a rough patch for sure, but that's in the past."

Arizona's game Friday started about the time the Cubs' 17-8 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates ended, and the Diamondbacks were paying attention.

"We knew what was happening in Chicago," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "We followed that. We earned that right to look up at the scoreboard and see what was going on.

"We have to block everything out tomorrow. We have to make something happen. This game, you can change things in a hurry. But the one common denominator is, we have to take care of our business our way and do the things we do best."

Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly (10-14, 4.68 ERA) will face Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (9-8, 4.06 ERA) on Saturday.

Kelly, who will pitch against the Reds for the first time, has made two consecutive quality starts, the last at the New York Mets, limiting them to three runs in six innings while striking out five in a 3-1 loss on Monday. He threw seven scoreless innings while striking out nine in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sept. 3.

Kelly, who has made all 29 of his scheduled starts this season, leads the NL in losses. His 1.35 WHIP is tied for 30th among 34 NL qualifiers.

DeSclafani have up three runs (two earned) and three hits in six innings against Arizona on Sunday, but he was not involved in the decision. He is 2-1 with a 2.32 ERA in his past five appearances.

DeSclafani has tied his career high in victories and is on pace to tie his career high of 31 starts set in 2015. He missed the 2017 season due to an elbow injury.

"He is pitching as strong as he has the whole year," Reds manager David Bell said. "That's a big step for him. He's grown in a lot of different ways as a pitcher, learning how to use his stuff. The big thing is just his health and being strong. Getting through this whole year will give him a lot of confidence going into next year."

The 29-year-old New Jersey native is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five career starts against Arizona and 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts at Chase Field.

--Field Level Media

What to Read Next