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Both teams hope to avoid slump as Reds face Diamondbacks

Sportsnaut
Feb 27, 2020; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner warms-up on the mound for his Cactus League debut against the Cincinnati Reds on Feb. 27, 2020 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz.   Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK
Credit: Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

Two slumping teams will be hoping to avoid heading into a prolonged slump when the Arizona Diamondbacks visit the Cincinnati Reds Monday in the opener of a four-game series.

After winning 15 of 25, the Reds lost the final three games at home against the Washington Nationals in the matchup of two last-place teams in the National League. The Diamondbacks lost their last two games in Pittsburgh, scoring one run in the last 18 innings.

The Diamondbacks collected just five singles Sunday in a 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh, ending their streak at 37 games of at least one extra-base hit.

The Diamondbacks send veteran left-hander Madison Bumgarner (2-4, 3.31 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. The southpaw makes his 12th start of the season, looking to snap a personal three-game losing streak.

After giving up a season-high five runs on seven hits and three homers in his final start of May, Bumgarner rebounded somewhat in his last outing. He allowed just two runs and seven hits in six innings last Wednesday, but still took the loss in a 6-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Bumgarner’s biggest strength has been his ability to give Arizona innings on the mound as a starter. He has completed at least six innings in his last three outings and four of his last five.

Bumgarner will be making his 11th career start against Cincinnati, allowing 10 home runs while posting a 3-5 mark with a 4.24 ERA in 10 previous starts.

The Reds counter with rookie Hunter Greene (2-7, 6.19). The right-hander is coming off an uneven start against the Red Sox in Boston last Wednesday. He no-hit the Red Sox through three innings, striking out seven.

Greene allowed the first five batters to reach in the fourth inning, recording two outs and allowing four runs on six hits before being removed from the game. Greene was tagged with the loss in the 7-1 setback to Boston, striking out eight without a walk in 3 2/3 innings.

Greene will be making his 11th start of his rookie season, and first of his career against Arizona.

Greene and Reds pitching will try to contain first baseman Christian Walker. He went 0-for-3 in the 3-0 Arizona loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday. But he has a team-leading 14 home runs, second only to the 16 of Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts in the National League.

Walker has eight homers in his last 19 games coming into the four-game series in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

“When you get evaluated on your game results, that’s where the focus tends to go,” Walker said. “So even when I’m hitting balls hard, sticking to my process, it’s comforting to see some results head in my direction.”

The Reds placed right-handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez on the 15-day injured list on Sunday with right forearm soreness and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.

Gutierrez felt soreness after his one-inning relief appearance against Washington on Friday. A starter for his entire career, Gutierrez first came out of the bullpen last Wednesday in Boston.

“It’s a difference between becoming a reliever and starting, there’s different things you have to go through and prepare yourself for each outing,” Gutierrez said through translator Jorge Merlos. “That last time after my start, I pitched two days after and then two days after that. After this past one, I just felt like my arm was way too tight afterwards.”

In eight starts and two relief appearances, Gutierrez is 1-6 with a 7.61 ERA in 10 games this season.

–Field Level Media