MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Series Preview August 21-24

New York welcomes Arizona to town for four games after dropping yet another series to Miami over the weekend in which the frustrations of a lost season showed up between the white lines.

Less than 48 hours after watching two more well-liked teammates in Curtis Granderson and Rene Rivera set sail for playoff contenders, mental lapses and sloppy defensive play cost the Mets on Sunday afternoon.

Tensions boiled over a bit when rookie shortstop Amed Rosario failed to rush a throw on a Dee Gordon grounder, allowing the noted speedster to reach first on what should have been an out. Jacob deGrom instantly threw up his arms in disapproval, a rare outburst from the usually composed ace.

Torey Lovullo’s club arrives holding the NL’s second Wild Card spot despite just being swept in Minnesota, losing Sunday’s finale to former Mets favorite Bartolo Colon.

When and Where

Game 1: Monday @ 7:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 2: Tuesday @ 7:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 3: Wednesday @ 7:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 4: Thursday @ 12:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Baseball Weather

Monday: Party cloudy with a possible stray shower or thunderstorm and a low of 74F; Winds between 5-10 mph

Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms with a low around 75F; Winds between 10-20 mph; Chance of rain 50%

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a low of 66F; Winds between 5-10 mph

Thursday: Sunny with a high of 82F; Winds between 5-10 mph

Probable Pitching Matchups

Monday: RHP Taijuan Walker (6-7, 3.83 ERA, 4.19 DRA, .261 TAv, 1.8 WARP) vs. RHP Robert Gsellman (5-5, 5.98 ERA, 6.40 DRA, .325 TAv, -0.7 WARP)

Walker has struggled recently, lasting just five innings in each of his last two starts and allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on 14 hits and 5 walks over that span. The former first-rounder has not picked up a win since June 21 and Arizona has lost his last seven outings.

Gsellman drew the ire of Sandy Alderson in the days leading up to his start against the Yankees last week after commenting “I don’t really care” in response to the GM’s suggestion that Gsellman needed to pitch better at Triple-A. The long-maned rookie worked 5.1 innings in a Mets loss, charged with three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks.

Tuesday: LHP Patrick Corbin (10-11, 4.25 ERA, 5.31 DRA, .289 TAv, 0.5 WARP) vs. LHP Steven Matz (2-7, 6.08 ERA, 6.04 DRA, .303 TAv, -0.3 WARP)

Corbin has won two straight, defeating the Cubs and Astros behind 15.1 scoreless frames. The upstate New York native struck out 15 against the playoff-caliber clubs, holding them to a .164 batting average.

The host’s southpaw in Tuesday’s matchup has not fared nearly as well. Matz was rocked by that other New York team on Thursday, allowing seven runs (six earned) in just 3.1 innings en route to losing his sixth straight decision.

Wednesday: RHP Zack Godley (5-6, 3.13 ERA, 2.91 DRA, .222 TAv, 3.4 WARP) vs. RHP Chris Flexen (2-2, 6.55 ERA, 9.11 DRA, .349 TAv, -0.9 WARP)

Godley took the loss at Target Field on Friday, charged with four runs in 5.1 innings including two homers despite striking out 10.

Flexen’s performances have been somewhat underwhelming thus far, yet he’s managed to keep his team in the game in each of his past three starts. The 23-year-old did not factor in the decision against Miami on Friday, pitching 5.1 innings of three-run ball.

Thursday: LHP Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.11 ERA, 3.95 DRA, .240 TAv, 2.2 WARP) vs. RHP Rafael Montero (2-8, 5.47 ERA, 5.50 DRA, .303 TAv, 0.0 WARP)

Ray has not pitched in a major league game since July 28, when he was pulled in the second inning after being struck in the head by a 108 mph line drive in St. Louis. The first-time All-Star suffered a concussion but appears ready to return after striking out 11 batters over 4.2 innings in a rehab assignment on Thursday night.

Thought to have possibly worn out his welcome for the last time just a few short weeks ago, Montero has strung together two quality outings and shown flashes of the promising potential that the Mets have been trying to harness for the past four seasons. Still only 26 years old, the slim Dominican held Miami to one run over six innings for his first win since June 25.

Who’s Hot?

Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt (1.093 OPS with 7 HR and 17 RBIs this month)

Diamondbacks OF David Peralta (4-for-13 with a home run this weekend)

Diamondbacks 2B Brandon Drury (3 doubles and a homer in his last two games)

Mets SS Amed Rosario (4-for-12 in Miami series)

Mets IF Asdrubal Cabrera (.313 AVG (5-for-16) since Wednesday)

Who’s Not?

Diamondbacks IF/OF Daniel Descalso (.179 AVG (5-for-28) since August 11)

Diamondbacks C Chris Iannetta (3 hits in his last 21 at-bats)

Diamondbacks OF Gregor Blanco (.248 OPS with 12 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances this month)

Mets 1B Dominic Smith (.510 OPS in ten games played)

When We Last Met

Arizona swept three games at Chase Field in mid-May, capped off by Chris Herrmann’s walkoff homer against Montero to lead off the 11th inning in the series finale.

It’s Literally a 10-Day DL

Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed (fractured right hand) began a rehab assignment with the AZL D-backs on Saturday. He was 0-for-2 with a walk and scored a run.

Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (stress injury in right shoulder) will start for Double-A Binghamton on Monday in his second rehab outing after appearing in two games with the Brooklyn Cyclones last week. RHP Jeurys Familia (blood clot in right arm) continues his rehab assignment with High-A St. Lucie and will need to reach a point where he can comfortably throw 30 pitches in an inning, per manager Terry Collins.

Notable Quotables

“We should have made some plays that cost us a couple runs and we made it a game at the end and that’s one of the things, I think, that shows you these guys are not just throwing in the towel. They’re playing all nine.” – Collins after Sunday’s loss

“Dee Gordon’s faster than a lot of guys in baseball… He learned a lesson. I’m sure it won’t happen again. You don’t double-pump when he’s running down to first base for sure.” – Collins on Sunday when asked about Rosario’s blunder

“When Rosario didn’t make that play I put my hands up. I probably shouldn’t have done that… That’s my bad. I can’t show emotion out there like that, especially when it has to do with your other players when they’re out there trying to play defense behind you so that one’s on me.” – deGrom discussing his reaction to the play

Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports

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