With their injured star done for the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks face an even tougher task against a surging Kansas City Royals club that's pitching well off late.
The Diamondbacks continue on minus first baseman Paul Goldschmidt on Tuesday night against the visiting Royals.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson announced Sunday that Goldschmidt would miss the rest of the season after he suffered a broken left hand from a pitch thrown by Pittsburgh's Ernesto Frieri two nights earlier. With the Diamondbacks (49-63) near the bottom of the NL, the club is thinking about Goldschmidt's long-term health.
"Realistically it's eight weeks," Gibson told MLB's official website. "So he's done.
"If you rush it, then you end up injuring it and you displace the fracture. I think you're looking at worse things."
The 2013 NL MVP runner-up, Goldschmidt hit .300 and also led the team in most offensive categories, including homers (19), RBIs (69), walks (64) and on-base percentage (.396).
Gibson plans to rotate players at first base.
''A little bit of a trial and error to see how it works,'' he said. ''It's going to be hard to replace Goldy over there with what he brought us with his consistency.''
Jordan Pacheco seems to be one option after playing there Friday and Saturday, and Mark Trumbo got the start at first during Sunday's 3-2, 10-inning victory. He went 5 for 15 versus Pittsburgh to raise his dismal average to .204.
Getting an offense that's missing its biggest piece going could be difficult against the Royals (57-53), whose pitchers have a 2.81 ERA while winning nine of 12. Kansas City was outscored 10-8 at Oakland over the weekend, but still took two of three from baseball's best team.
"As far as I'm concerned, we can match up with anyone, any team, any starting rotation," James Shields told MLB's official website after he allowed two homers in eight innings of a 4-2 victory Sunday.
"I don't care who it is. I believe in our guys. We're going to compete with anybody."
Kansas City's Danny Duffy (5-10, 2.42 ERA) is 2-5 with a 1.74 ERA in his last nine starts, and received just eight runs of support in the last eight. Three of those came while he went 0-3 with a 2.01 ERA in five July outings, but none in the last two.
He allowed a homer, three other hits and overcame a career-high six walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 3-2 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday.
"I'm just very, very grateful to be a part of this team," the left-hander said.
The Diamondbacks counter with Wade Miley (7-7, 4.14), who gave up seven hits over 6 2-3 scoreless innings of a 5-4 win at Cincinnati on Wednesday to finish 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in six July starts.
''As a starter, you've got to find a way to keep `em at bay,'' Miley said.
The left-hander was just as strong while giving up six hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win in his only appearance against the Royals in 2012.
Leadoff hitter Nori Aoki is 5 for 14 with a double and triple versus Miley, and batting .326 in his last 11 games.