Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo’s team has won eight of its past 10 games, including four in a row.
The Diamondbacks (14-13) are over .500 for the first time since winning their season opener April 7. They will attempt to claim the three-game series against the Colorado Rockies in Phoenix when the teams meet Saturday in the second game of the set.
“We’re just going out and we’re just doing our work,” Lovullo said. “I think that’s been our prep and our focus. A lot of it is to go out and execute at the levels that will allow us to win games.”
Colorado left-hander Kyle Freeland (1-3, 4.85 ERA) is slated to start against right-hander Zach Davies (1-1, 4.24).
In 15 career starts against Arizona, Freeland is 3-5 with a 5.56 ERA. Freeland is in his sixth season with the Rockies.
Davies is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in nine career starts against the Rockies.
Davies’ 4.24 ERA this season in five starts this season for the Diamondbacks is the highest among their regular starters.
Merrill Kelly’s ERA dipped to 1.22 — the best in the majors — after Friday’s 4-1 Arizona win in which he nearly achieved his first career complete game. Lovullo replaced him with stopper Mark Melancon with two outs in the ninth after Kelly allowed consecutive singles to Elias Diaz and Brendan Rodgers.
“He’s a good pitcher. He had good command of the ball,” Colorado manager Bud Black said of Kelly.
Zac Gallen’s ERA is 1.27 in four starts and Madison Bumgarner is at 1.50 in six starts for the Diamondbacks.
“When you see two guys like that going at it, you want to elevate your game,” Kelly said of his teammates. “You want to go out and kind of one-up the other guy in a friendly competition. I think it’s been fun.”
Colorado received good news before Thursday’s game that Kris Bryant, previously with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, is progressing enough from his lower-back strain to accompany the Rockies on this trip. He has been out since April 25 because of the ailment.
He is able to exercise and play catch but has not taken a swing in the batting cage.
“He is making progress, and the doctors are encouraged,” Black said. “We are not sure when he will be cleared to play. He may have to go on a rehab assignment.”
The Diamondbacks had encouraging injury developments Friday.
Melancon was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list and earned his fifth save of the season.
Arizona’s Josh Rojas, a third baseman, played his first game of the season after being on in the injured list since spring training with an oblique strain. Infielder Sergio Alcántara, out of minor options, was designated for assignment to make room for Rojas.
Corbin Martin, a right-hander, was optioned to Triple-A Reno when Melancon was activated.
–Field Level Media