The 1943 Philadelphia Athletics and 1963 New York Mets get an opportunity to have their names erased from an unflattering section of the major league record book when the San Francisco Giants and visiting Arizona Diamondbacks complete a four-game series Thursday afternoon.
The Giants have won the first three games of the set, handing the Diamondbacks their 20th, 21st and record-tying 22nd straight road defeats. Arizona equaled the unwanted mark set by the A’s 78 years ago and matched by the Mets two decades later.
The Diamondbacks are expected to activate and start right-hander Zac Gallen (1-1, 3.04 ERA) in an effort to prevent a loss that would break the tie with the A’s and Mets and shackle Arizona with the distinction of having suffered through baseball’s longest road drought.
Gallen hasn’t pitched at the major league level since straining his right elbow on May 7 in New York against the Mets.
The 25-year-old left that game with a 4-2 lead, having limited the Mets to just four hits and one earned run in six innings. However, New York rallied for a 5-4, 10-inning win, handing the Diamondbacks, at the time, their fourth straight road defeat.
Coincidentally, Gallen’s only win this season came on the same day that the Diamondbacks recorded their most recent road triumph. He threw a seven-inning, one-hit shutout in the opener of a doubleheader at Atlanta on April 25, after which teammate Madison Bumgarner no-hit the Braves over seven innings in the nightcap.
Gallen has the second-best ERA among Arizona’s starters this season, trailing only injured Taylor Widener (2.63).
“We’re all excited about it,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Gallen’s return. “He’s worked extremely hard to make (this) happen. We all felt strong that this was going to be the right situation.”
Gallen has started three games against the Giants in his career, all last year, and he went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
He will be facing a San Francisco offense that has crushed Arizona pitching in the series, producing 5-2, 9-8 and 13-7 wins.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler is impressed with the team-wide approach on offense.
“We’ve done a nice job grinding through at-bats, and sometimes that leads to home runs,” he said. “Pitchers tend to get fatigued when they’re throwing a lot of pitches and we’re fouling off pitches. They don’t always lead to great outcomes in those at-bats, but sometimes another player in the lineup benefits from those early, really tough plate appearances.
“I think that led to some of those (five) home runs (Wednesday night).”
Seeking to bounce back from his first loss of the season, Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman (7-1, 1.43 ERA) is expected to get the start Thursday. He gave up two runs on three hits in four innings Saturday as San Francisco fell 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader at Washington.
The staff ace has gone 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in six career appearances, including five starts, against Arizona. Gausman beat Arizona on May 25, when he fanned nine in five shutout innings.