Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Playoff bid in sight, D-backs vie for sweep of White Sox

Field Level Media
28 Sep 2023, 17:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago remains the Diamondbacks' kind of town, and Arizona is looking stronger in the National League wild-card race because of it.

A 3-0 shutout of the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday marked the Diamondbacks' eighth victory in 10 games while strengthening Arizona's hold on the second of three NL wild-card spots.

Arizona (84-74) sits two games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins, both 82-76. The Cincinnati Reds (81-78) are 1 1/2 games behind Chicago and Miami in the chase for the final wild-card berth.

The Diamondbacks have four games remaining, beginning with their series finale against the White Sox (60-98) on Thursday afternoon. Arizona is 8-1 against the Cubs and White Sox this season, all since Sept. 7.

Arizona made the most of four hits in the Wednesday win. Corbin Carroll delivered a two-run double and five pitchers combined on an eight-hit shutout that included 14 strikeouts and no walks.

The Diamondbacks will go with a bullpen game on Thursday, and manager Torey Lovullo likes the idea of the staff auditioning for innings beyond Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly in a potential playoff series.

"You got to do your job to continue to get the baseball," Lovullo said. "And we're just going to read and react, and we got to make some tough decisions here. That's what we do. It's my job. We got to win baseball games."

Rookie right-hander Bryce Jarvis (2-0, 2.45 ERA) will serve as Arizona's opener on Thursday. He retired the only batter he faced in relief on Tuesday in his first-ever appearance against the White Sox. He will be starting a game for the first time as he heads into his 10th major league appearance.

Chicago has lost 12 of 17 to fall to 60-98. The White Sox must win three of their remaining four games to avoid the franchise's first 100-loss season since 2018.

Manager Pedro Grifol rested shortstop Tim Anderson and third baseman Yoan Moncada on Wednesday, and the lineup already was without All-Star center fielder Luis Robert Jr., who was placed on the injured list Tuesday with a minor left medical collateral ligament sprain.

Moncada, who consistently has encountered injuries during his career, has been steady during the stretch run. He is batting .310 with six home runs, 11 doubles and 22 RBIs over his past 39 games.

"Probably in the last six weeks or so, this is the guy that we know," Grifol said. "There's nothing that he can't do on the field. We've seen it. He can run, can play defense with anybody, got power from both sides, got hitting ability, got walk ability."

Should Moncada return to the lineup on Thursday, it appears likely he will play before a more boisterous crowd than the team has seen at home lately.

When the scheduled Monday game between Arizona and Chicago was moved to Thursday afternoon to accommodate a Diamondbacks' makeup game against the New York Yankees, the White Sox announced that lower-level tickets for the matinee would cost $1, with parking free.

The White Sox announced on Wednesday that all available discounted tickets had been sold.

The big crowd will get a chance to see if Chicago right-hander Touki Toussaint (4-7, 5.10 ERA) can continue his late-season surge. Toussaint threw five-innings of one-run ball against the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 15, then tossed 6 1/3 innings and yielded one run against the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

Drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2014, Toussaint is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two career starts vs. Arizona covering 9 1/3 innings. On June 16, he took a loss against the Diamondbacks as a member of the visiting Cleveland Guardians, yielding two runs and three hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Arizona left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (left shoulder discomfort) was a late scratch on Wednesday.

--Field Level Media

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