DIAMONDBACKS (42-41) AT GIANTS (34-46)
10:15 p.m. ET; NBC Bay Area, FS-A, MLB.TV
Right-hander Merrill Kelly takes the mound against the Giants as the Arizona Diamondbacks attempt to increase their winning streak at San Francisco to five games when the National League West rivals meet again Friday night.
In a season series in which the home team has won just twice in 10 games, the Diamondbacks opened the four-game road set with a 5-1 victory Thursday night behind the impressive pitching of left-hander Alex Young, who was making his major league debut.
The win came on the heels of a 2-1 series victory over the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week, a success that Carson Kelly says his club hopes to parlay into a move up the NL West standings.
“We believe that we’re a really good team,” he said on the eve of the opener against the Giants. “We just continue to battle. We grind out there. Sometimes it doesn’t go our way, but it will go our way if we continue to keep putting the foot on the gas pedal.”
Thursday’s win pushed the Diamondbacks back over .500 and into sole possession of third place in the NL West after they’d taken a step backward last week, when they were beaten in two of three by the Giants in Arizona.
Merrill Kelly (7-7, 3.93 ERA), who has pitched the only two games won by the home team in the season series, will try his luck at San Francisco for the first time.
The 30-year-old rookie has mowed down the Giants in his two earlier home starts, pitching a 7-0 win in May and a 3-2 victory last Sunday. He didn’t get a decision in the latter, making him 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA against San Francisco.
He went head-to-head with Friday’s opponent, Giants right-hander Shaun Anderson (2-2, 3.94), in Sunday’s win.
Anderson also pitched well with no decision to show for it, charged with two runs on five hits in six innings.
The 24-year-old rookie also started a 6-2 home loss to the Diamondbacks in May. He’s 0-1 against the Diamondbacks with a 4.91 ERA.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy noted after Thursday’s loss that it doesn’t much matter how well his team’s pitcher does when the club only gets three hits, as it did in the series opener.
“We’ve got to swing the bats. Very little action out there,” he summed up of Thursday’s game. “Our margin for error is so small. We’re just not scoring a lot of runs. One little mistake and it seems like it costs us.”
The Diamondbacks were able to win Thursday despite third baseman Eduardo Escobar not being available to start the game. He’d flown to Miami to witness his two sons receive their green cards.
Escobar arrived at the ballpark in time to pinch hit, after which he stayed in the game and later contributed an RBI single.
He is expected to return to the starting lineup on Friday to face Anderson, against whom he’s gone 4-for-6 in the two earlier meetings.
–Field Level Media