Madison Bumgarner looks to put a poor start behind him at a juncture when the Arizona Diamondbacks badly need him to regain his form.
The Diamondbacks are mired in an 11-game losing streak as they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night in the second contest of a four-game set in Phoenix.
The Cardinals notched a 5-4, 10-inning triumph in Thursday’s opener to further Arizona’s troubles.
The Diamondbacks, who haven’t won since May 15, have lost 14 of 15 games and 20 of 23. They are also closing in on the franchise-record 14-game slide set in 2004.
“It’s been tough mentally, physically, emotionally, you name it,” Arizona catcher Stephen Vogt said after the latest setback. “Obviously, we’re grinding right now.”
The Diamondbacks didn’t even have a hit through six innings on Thursday before scoring four runs over the next two innings to knot the score. St. Louis pushed across the tying run in the 10th on Yadier Molina’s double.
Now, Arizona will look to Bumgarner to halt the skid.
The left-handed Bumgarner (4-4, 4.53 ERA) gave up seven runs (five earned) and eight hits in six innings during a 7-6 loss to the host Colorado Rockies last Saturday.
Bumgarner is 4-5 with a 5.04 ERA in 12 career starts against the Cardinals.
Paul Goldschmidt is batting .348 (24-for-69) with three homers, five doubles, two triples and 13 RBIs against Bumgarner. Nolan Arenado has two homers and four doubles while batting .250 (15-for-60).
Molina made some key blocks behind the plate on Thursday as well as lacing the decisive double. The tiebreaking bullet capped a three-hit night for the 38-year-old.
“Yadi played a great game. Yadi plays well every night,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said afterward. “He made some great stops. A couple big hits and of course the big double down the line. He was tremendous on both sides of the ball.”
Tyler O’Neill belted a two-run homer for St. Louis, which is 2-2 on a 10-game road trip. O’Neill was activated from the 10-day injury list prior to the game. He fractured his left middle finger on May 16.
O’Neill’s finger didn’t seem to be a problem on his 451-foot blast over the center-field fence. But he was more interested in discussing Molina’s contributions.
“He’s ‘Iron Man’ back there,” O’Neill said of Molina. “He’s a walking legend. Everything he does is noticed by the boys in the locker room.”
St. Louis will recall right-hander Johan Oviedo (0-2, 5.74) from Triple-A Memphis to start Friday’s game.
The 23-year-old Oviedo will be making his fifth appearance and fourth start of the season. He has struck out 13 and walked nine in 15 2/3 innings.
Oviedo issued five walks in two-plus innings in his most recent turn as he lost to the San Diego Padres on May 14. He gave up three runs and two hits and was sent back to Memphis the following day.
“First of all, just always keep your mind clean of any negative thoughts,” Oviedo said of what he is learning. “I’m always trying to work on myself, trying to get better every day and control what I can control.”
–Field Level Media