HEADLINE

D-backs can’t afford slipup against White Sox

Field Level Media

September 26, 2023 at 3:27 am.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will try to strengthen their chances in the National League wild-card race when they visit the Chicago White Sox for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night.

Arizona is tied with the Chicago Cubs for the second wild-card spot, with both owning 82-74 records. The Miami Marlins (81-75) sit one game behind both teams, and the Cincinnati Reds (80-77) are 2 1/2 games back. Three teams earn wild cards in each league.

The Diamondbacks hope to bounce back after losing two of three games on the road against the New York Yankees. Arizona fell short 6-4 on Monday afternoon, blowing a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning.

The remaining regular-season schedule for Arizona includes the set against the White Sox and then three home games against the Houston Astros, who are fighting to make the American League playoffs.

“We’ve got six games left,” Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly said. “Our goal is to win all of them, but realistically we’ve got to win a good majority of them.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to come in here (to New York) and get it done. There were a couple of times (Monday) we had a chance to take the series, but we’ve got to flush it and we’ve got to take care of business in Chicago, first and foremost.”

The White Sox (60-96) have long been out of contention and have turned their focus toward 2024, but they will welcome an opportunity to play spoiler. They need to win at least three of their final six games to avoid their fifth 100-loss season in franchise history and their first since 2018.

It has been a trying season for first-year White Sox manager Pedro Grifol, but he has not lost the confidence of his players. The organization has said Grifol will return next year.

“Overall, he has done a good job,” veteran Chicago infielder Elvis Andrus said. “He communicates, he’s passionate, he knows what he wants.”

On Tuesday, the Diamondbacks will give the ball to right-hander Zach Davies (2-5, 6.81 ERA). He is set to make his 18th start of the season and No. 200 of his career.

Davies, 30, has not pitched more than four innings in any of his past three starts. His ERA ballooned to 7.11 on June 18, and it has not gone below 6.37 since then.

In two career starts against the White Sox, Davies is 0-1 with a 10.57 ERA. He gave up nine runs on 13 hits in 7 2/3 innings during those contests.

Chicago will counter with right-hander Jose Urena (0-6, 7.27), who is slated to make his fourth start with the organization after beginning the season with the Colorado Rockies. Urena is looking for his first victory since Aug. 30, 2022.

In his most recent outing, Urena allowed one run on four hits in six innings against the Washington Nationals and received a no-decision last Tuesday. He walked none and struck out four.

Urena, 32, is 0-1 with a 5.09 ERA in six career games (four starts) against Arizona.

The Diamondbacks expect to have Ketel Marte back in the starting lineup to open the series. The second baseman missed Sunday’s game because of an illness, but he walked as an eighth-inning pinch hitter on Monday and remained in to play defense.

On the season, Marte is hitting .279 with 24 homers and 80 RBIs.