After sitting atop the National League West for much of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves slipping down the standings at a precipitous pace
The D-backs will try to stop their current slide when they begin a three-game series against the host Atlanta Braves on Tuesday
Arizona lost its fourth straight game on Sunday when the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep with a 7-5 victory. The D-backs have lost 10 of their last 14 games to fall into third place in the division.
“We’re not happy with what’s going on,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re just not playing up to our capabilities, that’s the bottom line.”
First baseman Christian Walker is batting .100 (4-for-40) in 11 games this month for the D-backs, who are in the midst of a nine-game road trip.
“There’s still plenty of time to turn it around,” Arizona third baseman Evan Longoria said. “We’re right where we need to be still. We just need to continue to preach that message amongst the team and amongst the guys and continue to stay positive. There’s still plenty of games ahead of us.”
The D-backs will be tested by an Atlanta team that boasts the majors’ best record at 61-31. The Braves had won 11 consecutive series before losing two of three games to the Chicago White Sox over the weekend
Matt Olson has a National League-best 77 RBIs for Atlanta, which left a strong impression on Chicago manager Pedro Grifol.
“To me, that’s probably the best team in baseball,” Grifol said. “They don’t have any weaknesses, in my opinion.”
Olson is 11-for-29 (.379) during his seven-game hitting streak, while star right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is hitting .333 this year with 23 homers, 58 RBIs and 43 stolen bases.
The Braves‘ club-record 28 consecutive games with at least one home run ended in an 8-1 loss to the White Sox on Sunday
The team is monitoring the status of pitcher Kolby Allard, who exited Sunday’s game in the second inning with left shoulder tightness. Braves outfielder Eddie Rosario sat out Sunday’s contest with right hamstring tightness and is listed as day-to-day
Atlanta will turn to right-hander Bryce Elder (7-2, 2.97 ERA) in the series opener. He is looking to bounce back after allowing seven runs over 3 1/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 9.
“Things just weren’t happening good for him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Just one of them days. His stuff was a little flat. Had a hard time making pitches. It’s going to happen.
Elder, 24, was named to the National League All-Star team after beginning the season in the minors. He is set to make his first career appearance against Arizona.
Arizona will counter with right-hander Zach Davies (1-5, 6.37), who yielded three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 9.
Davies, 30, has allowed a total of seven runs in 11 innings across his last two starts. He has completed seven innings just once in his 11 starts this season.
Marcell Ozuna is 10-for-26 against Davies, who owns a 1-1 record and 4.98 ERA in four career starts versus Atlanta.
–Field Level Media