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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner aims to baffle Braves again

Sportsnaut
Jul 15, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks will send Braves nemesis Madison Bumgarner to the mound to begin a three-game series in Atlanta on Friday.

Bumgarner (6-9, 3.71 ERA) will be opposed by Atlanta right-hander Kyle Wright (12-4, 2.95), who has a five-game winning streak.

Arizona is coming off a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants and has won five of its past six. The Braves lost two of three in Philadelphia and fell three games behind the New York Mets in the National League East.

The Diamondbacks took two of three from the Braves, May 30-June 1, in Phoenix in their previous meeting.

Bumgarner has won three of his past four starts, most recently on July 23 when he gave up two earned runs, struck out a season-high nine and did not walk a batter in eight innings in a 7-2 win against the Washington Nationals.

“He just kept making pitches and getting outs,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “You look up there in the fourth or fifth, the pitch count is super low, and you feel like he’s going to go deep in this game.”

Bumgarner will be making his 17th career start against Atlanta. He is 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA against the Braves, including a seven-inning no-hitter in 2021. He is 8-1 with a 2.21 ERA in his past 12 starts against Atlanta. The loss, his first against the Braves since 2012, came on June 1 when Bumgarner worked six innings and allowed two runs.

Wright leads the National League in wins. In his most recent outing on July 23 against the Los Angeles Angels, Wright worked six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and eight strikeouts.

Wright beat the Diamondbacks 6-0 on June 1 when he threw six scoreless innings, despite walking five. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career appearances against Arizona.

The Braves’ lineup took a big hit when left fielder Adam Duvall suffered a season-ending left wrist injury after jamming it into the wall in pursuit of a foul ball on Saturday. That likely opens the door for Eddie Rosario to play full-time. The Braves also could pursue a player before the trade deadline, which they did a year ago in acquiring Rosario, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson.

Rosario is a much better fielding option than Marcell Ozuna, but is hitting only .160 and has struck out 26 times in 100 at-bats. He was 4-for-9 in the series with Philadelphia.

“If he gets going or whatever, who knows?” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Maybe we try him out there all the time, but right now he’s just kind of not there yet.”

Right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was voted to start the All-Star Game, but he is mired in a slump that has pulled his average down to .259. In July, however, Acuna is batting .214, with one homer and five RBIs. His last home run came on July 8.

“At any point he can get those couple of hits and feel good and then get on a run,” Snitker said. “He really hasn’t done that. So when he does, it’s going to be really good — because he’s going to do it. He’s going to work through this.”

–Field Level Media