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Mets, D-backs struggling ahead of clash after hot starts

NEW YORK -- For 39 straight days between April 4 and May 12, the Arizona Diamondbacks or the New York Mets held at least a share of the best record in the National League. But those five-plus weeks may seem like ancient history Friday night, when the struggling teams meet for the first game of a three-game series at Citi Field.

The Mets' Jacob deGrom (3-0, 1.83 ERA) is scheduled to take on the Diamondbacks' Zack Godley (4-2, 4.08) in a battle of right-handers.

The Mets and Diamondbacks were off Thursday after suffering lopsided losses on Wednesday. New York fell to visiting Toronto 12-1 and host Arizona was beaten by Milwaukee 8-2.

The defeats extended lengthy slides for both teams. The Mets (20-19) opened 11-1 but are 9-18 in their last 27 games, a stretch in which they have not strung together consecutive victories.

"We've been inconsistent with our offense, we've been inconsistent with our pitching through this stretch that we've had," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said after Wednesday's game. "It's been tough."

Entering Thursday, the Mets ranked seventh in the NL in runs per game (4.26) despite scoring two runs or fewer 13 times in the last 27 games, and 11th in ERA (4.30).

Things may get tougher at the plate for New York: On Wednesday, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (right quad) was placed on the disabled list, where he joined third baseman Todd Frazier (hamstring).

The Diamondbacks (25-18) have lost seven of eight, and while their 3.31 ERA leads the National League, a struggling offense (Arizona entered Thursday ranked 13th in the NL with 3.95 runs per game) absorbed a huge blow Monday, when star center fielder A.J. Pollock suffered a broken left thumb while diving for a ball. He is expected to miss four to eight weeks.

The Diamondbacks have scored two runs or fewer six times in the last eight game and have scored more than four runs just once in 15 games this month. After Wednesday's loss, outfielder Daniel Descalso suggested he and his teammates might be better off embracing their issues.

"It's no secret that we're struggling," Descalso told reporters. "There's no sense in shying away from it. Maybe we need to talk about it more, maybe there's some things we can say to help out a teammate or something. But we're going to figure it out. It's not like we're going to be like this for the rest of the season."

Neither deGrom nor Godley factored into the decision in their most recent starts Sunday.

DeGrom, who missed his previous turn due to a hyperextended right elbow, made the shortest start of his career in the Mets' 4-2 loss to the Phillies, against whom he walked three in a scoreless first inning before being pulled because he threw 45 pitches -- the most he's thrown an inning as a major leaguer. He enters Friday with a 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak dating back to April 21.

Godley allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings as the Diamondbacks fell to the Washington Nationals 6-4.

DeGrom won his only career start against the Diamondbacks on June 7, 2015, when he allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings in the Mets' 6-3 victory. Godley is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four games (three starts) against the Mets.
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