(Photo credit: Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a much better spot in the wild-card race than after their last visit to New York.
A little over a week after dropping three of four to the New York Mets, Arizona makes a return trip to New York looking to improve their position in the race Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Yankees.
Arizona (81-72) holds the NL's second wild card and is two games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins in the race. After ending their visit to the Mets with an 11-1 loss, the Diamondbacks responded nicely by winning five straight over the visiting Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.
Corbin Carroll went 1-for-14 in three games against the Mets but is hitting .455 (10-for-22) during the past five games. He helped Arizona keep the streak going when he was 4-for-5 and scored three runs in a 7-1 win over the Giants on Wednesday.
"This is the position we played all year to put ourselves into," Carroll said. "And now the fun part. This is the part where you kind of reap the rewards of putting in all that work throughout the season to get to this point. And now it's just kind of emptying the tank and (putting the) foot on the gas."
Carroll heads to the Bronx with 25 homers and 50 stolen bases. He is the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year and the only first-year player with at least 25 homers and 50 stolen bases.
"I'm proud of it, but at the same time, we've talked about this as a team," Carroll said. "This is the time of the year where we're not worried about personal accomplishments. That's out the window at this point. All that matters is getting the win."
With nine games left, the Yankees (77-76) are trying to avoid their first losing season since going 76-86 in 1992. New York stopped a three-game losing streak Thursday with a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays and is 5-10 over its past 15 home games.
Gerrit Cole enhanced his Cy Young candidacy by allowing one run and two hits in eight dominant innings. Jake Bauers hit a three-run homer in the first inning after the Yankees were blanked into the ninth on Wednesday.
"It's disappointing that we've had the season that we've had, that's for sure," Cole said. "Regardless of if you're in it or if you're not, as a professional you've just got to do your job."
Brandon Pfaadt (2-8, 5.86 ERA) will make his 17th career start and is coming off one of his best performances so far. Pfaadt is 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA over his past seven appearances and got the win last Friday when he allowed four hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings of a 6-4 win over the Cubs.
Luke Weaver (2-5, 6.77), who was 9-19 in 49 games in four seasons for Arizona, will take the mound for the Yankees on Friday. Weaver was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 14 and allowed three runs and four hits over four innings during a no-decision at Pittsburgh two days later.
Weaver is 0-1 with a 5.29 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against Arizona, which acquired him from St. Louis following the 2018 season for Paul Goldschmidt.
--Field Level Media