Struggling D-backs visit hot Oakland, Bassitt

Field Level Media

June 07, 2021 at 11:09 pm.

The Oakland Athletics hope to build upon earlier success this season when they host the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

Both teams had Monday off ahead of their two-game interleague series. The A’s return home from recording 2-1 series wins at Seattle and Colorado, while the Diamondbacks were swept in a four-game series in Milwaukee.

Oakland ace Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.53) is expected to duel Arizona rookie Jon Duplantier (0-1, 9.35), who is tasked with ending the Diamondbacks’ five-game losing streak.

In April, Bassitt went head-to-head with Madison Bumgarner in the opener of Oakland’s two-game sweep in Arizona and benefited from a 12-hit attack in the 9-5 win. The 32-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and two hits in five innings in his first decision against the Diamondbacks in two career starts (4.35 ERA).

The start at Arizona began an ongoing stretch of 10 Bassitt starts during which he’s 5-0 and the A’s are 9-1. He has allowed a total of 22 runs in those 10 starts.

The A’s have put up a total of 59 runs in those 10 games, including 12 in a 12-6 win at Seattle in Bassitt’s last start. He did not get the win, however, pulled after allowing four runs in four innings — the only time this season Bassitt has pitched fewer than five innings.

While Bassitt and the A’s are streaking in one direction, the Diamondbacks are skidding in the other. They are 6-29 since the beginning of May, have lost a franchise-record 17 straight on the road, and not won away from home since Bumgarner pitched a no-hitter on April 25.

Manager Torey Lovullo saw some positives in the four games in Milwaukee against a hot Brewers team over the weekend that ended with a pair of tightly contested, two-run defeats.

“We’re slowly doing things right,” he noted after Sunday’s 2-0 loss, “but we’re not doing everything right because we’re not winning baseball games. So we’ll continue to work on all those things.”

Duplantier began the season in the minors but was promoted as the Diamondbacks have attempted to navigate a long stretch without rotation regulars Bumgarner (sore shoulder), Zac Gallen (sore elbow), Taylor Widener (strained groin) and Luke Weaver (sore shoulder).

The 26-year-old right-hander, who pitched 15 games (three starts) in 2019 yet retains his rookie status, has made two starts since getting called up late last month. He allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings with no decision in a 5-4 loss to St. Louis in his season debut, then was tagged for a loss against Milwaukee when he gave up five runs in four innings in a 7-4 loss last Thursday.

When Duplantier faces Oakland for the first time in his career, he’ll be facing a team that not only has won four straight over the Diamondbacks but is 8-0 following a day off this season.

A’s manager Bob Melvin was surprised to hear the latter stat.

“No matter how many games you play in a row, when you have an off-day, the next day when you come back, it almost feels like you’re starting over,” he said. “It seems like a day or two (off) can get you a little off-kilter.”