The Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Georgia in a three-game series over the weekend and are looking to snap their season-long six-game losing streak.
The Diamondbacks are struggling in the first week of May and they will carry a six-game losing streak into Atlanta for a weekend series against the Braves. Following a three-game home sweep against the Colorado Rockies the Diamondbacks were swept in the first three games of their nine-game road trip against the Miami Marlins.
A series against the lowly 7-20 Braves may be just what the doctor ordered for the Diamondbacks to get back on track. Also, catching the Braves in their own friendly confines lines up well for the Diamondbacks to turn their fortunes around as the Braves are 1-12 at home, while they are 6-8 on the road. The Braves have scored a league-low 83 runs in their 27 games for an average of 3.07 runs.
Following an 0-9 start to the season, Atlanta rallied off four straight victories to reach a 4-9 mark. The Braves have gone on a 3-11 run over their past 14 games however and have scored at least five runs in only two of those 14 contests.
Here are some keys to winning the series against the Braves…
Zack Greinke Must Go Back to His 2015 Self:
Greinke has been an utter disappointment so far this season as he is 2-2 with a 5.50 ERA. This is coming after a season where he was 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA. In comparison, Greinke has given up 23 earned runs in 37.2 innings this year after giving up 41 earned runs in 222.2 innings last season. Fortunately for Greinke, his struggles are just a small sample size and things can only get better from here. Greinke will take the mound in game one of the series on Friday night against Aaron Blair.
Paul Goldschmidt Must Get at Least One Hit in Each Game:
Goldschmidt is off to a rough start this year as he is 23-for-99 (.232) from the plate. Nine of his 23 hits this year have gone for extra bases, including six home runs. Thankfully, he is getting on base as he is the league’s most walked player with 28 walks on the season to bolster his on-base percentage to .408. His current OPS of .862 would be his worst mark in the past four seasons.
Bullpen Must Limit Runs Allowed
In the six-game losing streak the Diamondbacks bullpen has allowed 16 runs in 20 innings. For a team that only scored 12 runs over their past six games, having a bullpen that allows 16 runs in just over two games worth of innings is simply unmanageable. Chip Hale must learn to utilize his bullpen to the best of their abilities and not allow his pitchers to get beaten up as much.
First pitch of game one will take place at 4:35 p.m. on Friday night with Greinke facing Blair. Tune into the game on Fox Sports Arizona.