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MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

D-backs welcome a chance to hit the road

Arizona has dropped 11 of 12 home games, including nine of 10 at Chase Field

D-backs welcome a chance to hit the road

The D-backs opened a seven-game road trip on Friday with a 4-2 win over the Dodgers -- the start of a stretch in which they will play 16 of 22 on the road.

They aren't complaining.

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The D-backs can use a road trip right now. Considered a contender in the National League West, Arizona stumbled in the early days of the season, particularly at home.

Arizona has lost 11 of its 12 "home games." That includes being swept in a season-opening two-game series in Australia -- games which are included among Arizona's 81 home contests.

That doesn't bode well in Arizona, where the D-backs dominated in the five seasons that they advanced to the postseason during their first 16 seasons of existence.

The worst home record in those five memorable seasons? Arizona was 48-33 at home in 2001, a .593 winning percentage. They were 55-26 (.679) in '02, 52-29 (.642) in 1999, 51-30 (.630) in 2011, and 50-31 (.617) in '07.

While Arizona has scored only 40 runs in its 12 home games this year, the pitching staff has been the biggest concern. Arizona has a 5.83 overall ERA at Chase Field. Only two teams other than the Colorado Rockies have had a higher home ERA since 1995.

Detroit had a 6.21 ERA at Tiger Stadium in 1996, when they were 27-54 at home and 53-109 overall -- the second-most losses in franchise history. Kansas City had a 6.01 home ERA in 2003 but still managed to play .500 (40-40) at Kauffman Stadium.

The Arizona rotation's 7.26 ERA in the 12 games at Chase Field is higher than any home ERA in history. Detroit's 1996 rotation had a 6.64 ERA at home -- the highest in Major League history.

Walk in the park
The Chicago White Sox walked 15 batters in a 6-4, 14-inning loss to Boston on Wednesday. It was the 66th time in history a team had issued 15 or more free passes in a game, but only the ninth time a team did it in a game of 14 innings or fewer.

The all-time record is 19 walks by Cleveland in a 20-inning game vs. the Senators on Sept. 14, 1971. The White Sox club record is 16 walks on May 2, 1952, against the Philadelphia A's. They have walked 15 in a game five times.

On Thursday, Toronto pitchers walked only 12 batters in a 9-5 loss to Minnesota in the second game of a doubleheader, but eight of those walks were issued in eighth inning, when the Twins scored six runs and only had one hit. Sergio Santo not only issued three walks in the inning, but he also threw three run-scoring wild pitches.

The Yankees drew a single-inning record 11 walks from the Senators on Sept. 11, 1949. At the other extreme, on Aug. 23, 1989, the Expos did not walk a batter in 22 innings but still lost, 1-0, to the Dodgers.

Unbeaten
Lance Lynn of St. Louis is one of 13 starting pitchers with three wins this month, but he's the only one of the 13 with a shot to equal the Major League record of six April wins. Lynn starts on Saturday and could also start twice more this month on regular rest.

There have been only six Aprils in which a starting pitcher won six games. Vida Blue was 6-1 for Oakland in 1971, and four pitchers have gone 6-0: Randy Johnson with Arizona in 2000 and '02, Dave Stewart with Oakland in 1988, Brandon Webb with Arizona in 2008, and Jared Weaver with the Angles in '11.

Rotten apple
The Cubs are winless in nine games all-time in the Bronx, including being swept in a doubleheader by the Yankees on Wednesday.

The Cubs lost both games in the Bronx during the 1932 and '38 World Series, and were swept in a three-game Interleague series in 2005.

The Cubs were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday -- 0-for-4 in the first game and 0-for-9 in the nightcap -- while being shut out in each. It was the first time the Cubs had been blanked in both games of a doubleheader since they dropped a pair to St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on June 27, 1962.

Wednesday marked the first time the Yankees had notched shutouts in both ends of a doubleheader since April 19, 1987, against Kansas City, and the first time for any big league team since Minnesota swept Oakland June 26, 1988.

Numbers game
• Forty-three of Matt Cain's 91 career losses have come in games in which the Giants scored one or no runs, including a 1-0 loss to the Rockies on April 12, and 2-1 loss to San Diego on Friday.

• Ten teams since 1914 have had at least five shutouts in the first 17 games of a season, including the 2014 Rangers, who had five. The 1981 Rangers and '66 Cleveland Indians both had six.

• Two batters were hit in the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh three-game series earlier in the week -- the Pirates' Starling Marte by Mike Leake on Tuesday, and the Reds' Chris Heisey by Stolmy Pimentel on Wednesday. No big deal, right? Well, the two teams combined to hit 28 batters (16 Pirates and 12 Reds) a year ago, one shy of the record set in 2005 by the Dodgers (15) and Rockies (14).

Long road ahead
Seattle will travel 41,540 air miles this season, most in the Majors. The Cubs will travel the fewest air miles at 22,969. The schedule maker did the Mariners no favor. They are in the American League West, which means they make three trips per year to each division opponent, which includes Houston and Texas. Not once do they play Houston and Texas on the same road trip.

The Mariners' six road trips that include visits to the Lone Star State:

• This week: played at Texas, now in Miami for three

• April 29-May 7: at New York Yankees, Houston and Oakland

• May 16-21: at Minnesota and Texas

• June 30-July 6: at Houston and Chicago White Sox

•Sept. 1-7: at Oakland and Texas

• Sept. 15-25: at Los Angeles Angels, Houston and Toronto

 

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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