The two-game interleague series is crucial for both teams in the playoff picture.
On Sunday, the American League West-leading Rangers lost 6-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers, who completed a three-game sweep. Texas enters the series in Arizona 2 1/2 games on top of the Houston Astros and three ahead of the charging Seattle Mariners.
“We just couldn’t get this offense going,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re in a bit of a funk right now. Maybe it’s good we’re getting on the road, and we’ll see if we can tighten some things up and get back on track.”
For the Diamondbacks, the mood is different.
Arizona enjoyed a successful 5-2 trip to Colorado and San Diego.
Against the Padres, the Diamondbacks took three of four, including sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday. The road trip put them firmly in the mix of the National League wild-card chase, a game out of the third and fnial berth.
“Every game matters,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told reporters in San Diego. “Wins are really, really important right now, and the guys have been fantastic at doing some of the little things.”
In the series opener, the Diamondbacks will start rookie Slade Cecconi (0-0, 3.48 ERA), who will make his third major league start and fourth appearance. The right-hander has logged 10 1/3 innings, with seven strikeouts.
Cecconi made his most recent start on Wednesday in Colorado, where he gave up two runs in four innings in a no-decision.
Montgomery was dealt to Texas from St. Louis prior to the trade deadline, and since then, he is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA.
Montgomery has faced Arizona once in his career, and he took the loss as he gave up seven runs in four innings in April.
For the Diamondbacks, getting catcher Gabriel Moreno back in the lineup has been a big boost. The 23-year-old went on the injured list on July 23 with left shoulder inflammation.
Arizona activated Moreno on Aug. 13, and since then, he is hitting .333 (7-for-21) with a double, two home runs and seven RBIs.
“The little break that I took, I was able to clear my mind and go back to the basics,” Moreno said. “And I’m able now to have a much simpler approach, and it’s actually paid off.”
Moreno made a huge impact in Arizona’s weekend series at San Diego. In three starts, the catcher was 5-for-12 with two home runs and six RBIs.
In an 8-1 win in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, Moreno hit a grand slam and drove in five runs.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Moreno said of his first career slam. “It’s hard to describe. I was just super happy and was breaking into smiles as I was running the bases.”
For the Rangers, they will open a nine-game trip.
During their losing streak, they’ve struggled in all phases. On Sunday, for instance, third baseman Ezequiel Duran, who entered the game with six errors all season, committed three in one game.
“We haven’t seen him do that all year,” Bochy said. “We all have our off days. … It’s one of those series — what could go wrong, went wrong.”
—Field Level Media
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