DIAMONDBACKS (31-32) AT BLUE JAYS (23-39)
7:07 p.m. ET; SN, SN1, FS-A, MLB.TV
The Arizona Diamondbacks are coming off a much-needed win as they visit the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night for the opener of a three-game series.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are entering the series after taking two of three games from the New York Yankees.
The Diamondbacks are scheduled to start right-hander Merrill Kelly (5-6, 4.41 ERA) while Toronto will go with right-hander Marcus Stroman (3-7, 2.84).
The Diamondbacks avoided being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game series with their 3-2 walkoff victory on Wednesday afternoon with David Peralta delivering the winning single in the 11th inning. The Diamondbacks finished their homestand at 3-3.
They have been struggling and open a 10-game road trip in Toronto having lost 12 of their past 18 games. Arizona had Thursday off.
“I think everybody that is sitting here that’s a fan of the Diamondbacks understands how important that game was for us,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “Especially since we’ve been walking through some very lean times, we’ve been battling through some injuries. We send a crew out there today that gave everything they had and did enough to win the baseball game.
“It was a tremendous way to finish it and it’s one of those games that you feel like will push you in a very, very positive direction.”
The Blue Jays lost 6-2 Thursday night to the Yankees in their attempt for a series sweep. They did come away with their first series win since April 26-28 when they swept the Oakland Athletics in three games at home. They also swept the A’s in three games in Oakland April 19-21.
The Blue Jays did load the bases with none out in the bottom of the ninth Thursday. But Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was brought into the game and limited the damage to one run when he induced a double-play grounder from Teoscar Hernandez.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was pleased with his team’s effort in the series.
“Overall, the last three days we looked a lot better at the plate,” he said. “They had to go to their closer (Thursday), we took two of three. It was a good series.”
The Blue Jays have won three of their past 14 games and are in a 9-25 drought.
Kelly will be making his fourth interleague start. He has a 4.67 ERA in his first three.
He earned the win Sunday in Arizona’s 7-1 victory over the New York Mets when he allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits and no walks and struck out 10. In his past six starts, he is 2-4 with a 5.29 ERA.
Stroman has faced the Diamondbacks once in his career, limiting them to one run in eight innings in a 10-4 victory July 20, 2016. He allowed eight hits and no walks while striking out six. In his past seven starts, he is 2-4 with a 4.23 ERA.
The Diamondbacks have visited Toronto twice before. Their previous visits were in 2004 and 2016. Overall, the Blue Jays have a 9-7 advantage over the Diamondbacks, including a 3-1 advantage in 2016.
–Field Level Media