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Madison Bumgarner, D-backs look for sweep of Braves

Sportsnaut
May 21, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) delivers against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks will send veteran left-hander Madison Bumgarner to the mound on Wednesday in Phoenix as they attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.

The Diamondbacks won the first game of the series 6-2 on Monday, then came back from a 6-2 deficit on Tuesday to beat the Braves 8-7 in 10 innings.

Bumgarner (2-3, 3.35 ERA) will face Atlanta right-hander Kyle Wright (4-3, 2.68) in the series finale.

Bumgarner is coming off his worst start of the year, when he allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He needs eight strikeouts to tie Red Ruffing (1,987) for 87th on the all-time list.

The Braves rank among Bumgarner’s favorite opponents. In 15 career starts against Atlanta, he is 8-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 94 1/3 innings. He is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last seven starts against Atlanta. That stretch includes a seven-inning no-hitter against the Braves on April 25, 2021.

Wright will make his 10th start of the season. He took the loss in his latest outing, on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies, despite allowing only three runs in 6 2/3 innings.

“I’ve said it many times that when your starters are doing most of your pitching, that’s a good thing,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “I’ve just seen so many pluses that I’ve watched him navigate this year. It’s been very, very impressive.”

Wright has made one career appearance against Arizona, a one-inning relief stint in 2018 during he which he walked three and gave up a run.

Entering the series finale, the first basemen for each team are on a roll. Arizona’s Christian Walker and Atlanta’s Matt Olson have put up big numbers in the set.

Olson went 4-for-5, scored a run and drove in four on Tuesday. He had two doubles, extending his major-league-leading total to 23, and hit his sixth home run. It was the first time in his career that Olson has had three extra-base hits. He is 5-for-9 in the series with three doubles and one homer.

Walker went 3-for-4, scored a run, drove in three and walked on Tuesday. He hit a double and his 13th homer, tied for second in the National League. Walker has three homers on the current homestand, and he hit nine in May.

“(Tuesday) was a great team win and obviously the two-run homer by Walker was huge,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I’ve said it before: This team has a great heartbeat. They fight and they’re hungry. I don’t want to get ahead of myself — we’ve got a long way to go — but this is a victory that we’re going to enjoy.”

In the other dugout, Snitker isn’t ready to hit the panic button even though the reigning World Series champion Braves have yet to put together a three-game winning streak this year.

“It’s been like this for a while, for the entire year, we haven’t gotten everything clicking for an extended period,” Snitker said. “We’re going to continue to grind, we’re going to push, and we’re going to get there, believe me.”

–Field Level Media