(Photo credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
While the Arizona Diamondbacks are attempting to secure their first playoff berth since 2017, the New York Yankees are in unusual territory: playing out the string.
Arizona attempts to inch closer to the postseason on Monday afternoon when it visits the Yankees, who will miss the postseason for the first time since 2016.
The Diamondbacks (82-73) are a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs for the second of three wild-card spots in the NL. Since losing three of four to the host New York Mets Sept. 11-14, Arizona has won six of seven.
The Diamondbacks evened the series in the Bronx with a rainy 7-1 victory on Sunday afternoon when Zac Gallen pitched six scoreless innings for his 17th win. Evan Longoria had a two-run single, and Arizona had three sacrifice flies.
"We're still trying to pull this thing off," Arizona center fielder Alek Thomas said. "So you got to throw the rain out the window and play our game."
Arizona maintained the second spot while playing without Ketel Marte, who was scratched because of an illness. Marte is day-to-day and could miss Monday's game.
Marte is hitting .279 with 24 homers and 80 RBIs in 144 games this season. Over his last 18 games, Marte is hitting .329 (23-for-70) with three homers and 12 RBIs.
The Yankees (78-77) were eliminated and will play their final home game before starting a six-game trip to Toronto and Kansas City. New York is also trying to avoid finishing with a losing record for the first time since going 76-86 in 1992.
New York struck out 12 times and stranded 11 runners in Sunday's game. The lone run was on a bases-loaded walk by Aaron Judge in the ninth, two days after he hit three homers.
"There's a lot that went wrong," Judge said. "We can hit it from a lot of different aspects, but when it comes down to it, we just didn't come out here and do our job."
Arizona's Merrill Kelly (12-7, 3.37) can match a career high in wins on Monday. He also won 13 in 2019, his first season in the majors, and again last season. He is attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time since winning five straight outings in a run that concluded on June 9.
Kelly is 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA over his past four starts and got the win Wednesday when he allowed one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings. Kelly has allowed one run in three of his past four starts. The exception was Sept. 14, when he was tagged for seven runs in five innings against the Mets.
The right-hander's lone start against the Yankees occurred May 1, 2019, in Phoenix when he allowed an one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Anoher right-hander, Clarke Schmidt (9-9, 4.65), will make his third attempt at joining Gerrit Cole as New York's second double-digit winner. Since getting his last win Sept. 6 against visiting Detroit, Schmidt has allowed four runs in each of his past two starts. He dropped to .500 by allowing four runs in five innings of a 7-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Schmidt is facing Arizona for the first time and is 3-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 10 outings (six starts) against National League opponents.
--Field Level Media