The Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks enter Monday night's game in Phoenix with hopes of building on their momentum.
Oakland won its last two games at Houston for a series win Sunday after a slow start, which included losing all four games at home against the Astros to open the season.Arizona rallied to beat visiting Cincinnati twice to win that series after the Reds got off to the best start in the major leagues (a 6-1 record at the time) with a win Friday in the Diamondbacks' home opener.
"It showed a little bit of mental toughness," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said about his team's rebound following the series-opening loss. "It shows that these guys are engaged and ready to go fight no matter what the scenario is, and then when you come out of a Sunday afternoon and you've won a series against a quality baseball team, it feels good.
"It's one of those situations where it could push us into more of a groove."
Arizona's pitching came together in the past two games against the Reds, highlighted by Luke Weaver flirting with a no-hitter before finally giving up a broken-bat single in the seventh inning.
Eduardo Escobar also continued his hot hitting Sunday for Arizona as he collected a pair of hits, including a home run -- the fourth straight game in which he has homered.
The Diamondbacks will start left-hander Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 11.00 ERA) on Monday against right-hander Chris Bassitt (0-2, 5.56).
Bumgarner is 5-2 with a 4.25 ERA in nine career starts against the A's.
Bassitt has one career start against the Diamondbacks, with a no-decision last August in Phoenix. He allowed five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and three walks.
Winning a third straight game for either team will help to lessen the effects of the early season struggles.
"This is tough," Oakland manager Bob Melvin told NBC Sports California when asked about his team starting 1-7. "I think if you're looking at the middle of the season and you're going through a stretch like this, it doesn't feel as significant, but we have high expectations as a team, we expected to get off to a good start, we have not at this point, so yeah -- it's weighing on everybody."
Oakland also has been affected by injuries. The A's have five players on the 10-day injured list -- Chad Pinder (left knee), Reymin Guduan (left-thumb sprain), Mike Fiers (hips), Burch Smith (strained right groin) and A.J. Puk (strained left biceps). Trevor Rosenthal was transferred to the 60-day injured list after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last week.
The A's also are adjusting after numerous offseason roster changes.
Marcus Semien and Liam Hendriks signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox, respectively. The A's engineered a five-player trade with the Texas Rangers in which Khris Davis and Elvis Andrus were the principals.
"These guys get along really well," Melvin said. "They're still trying to feel out each other and how they play and so forth. I don't think it will be a problem. We've just run through a tough stretch on top of it, some tough injuries on top of it.
"Everything that could've gone wrong here early on has. Hopefully that's rectified here pretty quick."
--Field Level Media