Major League Baseball

Diamondbacks turn to touted rookie in opener with Mets

mlb11METS (27-29) AT DIAMONDBACKS (29-29)
9:40 p.m. ET; FS-A, SNY, MLB.TV

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who return home with a four-game losing streak and sit below .500 for the first time in six weeks, will turn to a rookie pitcher making his first start.

Arizona will bring up 24-year-old right-hander Jon Duplantier, considered the franchise’s top pitching prospect, from Triple-A Reno to open a three-game series against the New York Mets in Phoenix on Friday night.

This will be Duplantier’s fourth call-up of the season. He has pitched five times in relief, posting a 1-0 record and 2.25 ERA over 12 innings. He has allowed eight hits, striking out 12 and walking five.

“Super excited for that opportunity for him,” said manager Torey Lovullo, whose team is coming off being swept in a four-game series at the Colorado Rockies. “He’s been throwing the ball extremely well for us.”

The Diamondbacks, who are below .500 (28-29) for the first time since being 8-9 on April 16, are down two starters in their rotation. Zack Godley has been demoted to the bullpen because of ineffectiveness, and Luke Weaver is on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain.

Duplantier has been starting at Reno, throwing 60 pitches on May 18 and 65 pitches last Friday.

He will face a Mets lineup anchored by slugging first baseman Pete Alonso, who has one more chance to set the major league rookie record for home runs before June. He has 19, tied with Mark McGwire, including 10 in May to establish a franchise rookie record for most in any month.

“He’s very talented, and he works, and he’s prepared,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said on “He’s out there early, hitting off the high-velo machine in early hitting … he’s prepared, and has talent, and has confidence.”

New York will start right-hander Zack Wheeler (4-3, 4.63 ERA), who has gone at least seven innings in six of his past eight starts. He has thrown at least six innings in nine consecutive starts.

Wheeler, who has 78 strikeouts in 70 innings, has thrown 94 pitches or more in all 11 starts this season.

He is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in five career starts against Arizona, including a no-decision last season when he allowed two runs on three hits in six innings in Phoenix on June 17.

The Mets started their seven-game western road trip by losing three of four games at the Los Angeles Dodgers, including a 2-0 shutout on Thursday night. New York has lost eight of its past nine road games.

With Duplantier possibly not going deep into the game, New York will be hoping to take advantage of a struggling Arizona bullpen. Two of the Diamondbacks’ four losses in Colorado came via walk-offs. Lovullo is searching for late-inning help, in part because set-up man Archie Bradley (4.63 ERA, 1.89 WHIP) hasn’t been able to hold the job.

“Certainly, guys need to step up,” Lovullo said Thursday. “We believe in that group down there. We’re not going to have anybody else. There is not going to be any shining star standing outside of our clubhouse tomorrow. It’s them. I’m going to rely on them, and they know that.”

–Field Level Media

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