SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Wade Miley #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks with catcher Miguel Montero #26 after giving up a run during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 16, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The Diamondbacks look to take advantage of a mediocre Mariners rotation as Seattle heads to the desert for a three-game, interleague series.
Is it just me or do those 16 combined runs the Diamondbacks scored this past Thursday and Friday feel like two decades ago?
It's been 21 innings since Arizona (32-34) has put a single run up on the scorecard thanks to two baffling yet undeniably dominant starts from Angels pitchers Ervin Santana and Garrett Richards. But that should all come to a change quite soon with the Seattle Mariners (29-39) and their rising staff ERA (fourth worst in the MLB in the month of June).
The Diamondbacks also get the luxury of sending their hottest three arms to the mound in this series. In Monday's matchup, Wade Miley (7-3, 2.39 ERA) takes on Hector Noesi (2-7, 5.54 ERA), the owner of the worst road ERA in baseball (8.15). It's worth noting that Noesi is coming off a solid start in which he held the Padres to only one run across seven innings. His previous two starts before that though? A total of 12 earned runs allowed as he failed to make it through the fifth innings both times.
In the second game of the series, Daniel Hudson (3-1, 5.67 ERA) looks to build on his strong start against the Rangers (7 IP, 3 ER, 7 K) as he takes on a righty who will be making only his second career start, Erasmo Ramirez (0-1, 4.50 ERA). It will be interesting to see if Huddy will be able to go deep into the game again in this one as he hasn't pitched at least seven innings in consecutive games once this year, a feat he did nine separate times last season.
In the finale, Trevor Cahill (5-5, 3.09 ERA) faces off against Jason Vargas (7-6, 3.95 ERA) with Cahill looking to win his fourth consecutive start. Vargas projects to give this lineup it's fair share of troubles though as the D-backs' struggles with soft-tossing lefties this year has been well-documented. If Vargas has that effective changeup of his working, he could easily top his season high single game strikeout total (8).
It would be spectacular if they D-backs could put up some big numbers against these starters but if they get to them early, it could prove to be a double-edged sword. Seattle manager Eric Wedge will have no problem going a bullpen that hasn't allowed a run in 17 straight innings so it will be vital for Arizona's pen to match them blow for blow.
With all that in mind, these are the type of home series that the D-backs need to sweep if they're to get back in the thick of the NL West race. With the Giants playing the Angels and the Dodgers facing an A's team that has won five of their last six, Arizona could make up some serious ground before the Cubs roll into town Friday for a three-game series.