PHOENIX -- Strong-armed and athletic, Nick Ahmed has been one of the best defensive shortstops in the NL since becoming a regular in 2015. A maturing offensive approach now has made him one of the best two-way shortstops in the league.
Ahmed has set career highs in virtually every offensive category -- 24 doubles, 16 home runs, 57 RBIs -- for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks despite the fact the season is barely two-thirds over.
The NL East-leading Phillies, meanwhile, have found another option for their shortstop spot after adding Asdrubal Cabrera, acquired in an under-the-radar trade deadline deal with the New York Mets on July 27.
Cabrera had a single and scored a run in his fifth start of the season at shortstop Monday, when Ahmed singled and stole two bases in the Diamondbacks' 3-2, 14-inning victory.
Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke (12-6) will oppose Philadelphia right-hand Nick Pivetta (6-9) in the second game of the series Tuesday.
Cabrera's five starts at short have all come since he joined the Phillies, and he hit a tiebreaking, game-winning homer in a 5-3 victory over Miami on Sunday.
"What we saw from Asdrubal gave us a lot of confidence that he can make all the plays necessary to be good behind those guys," Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler said of playing Cabrera at short behind ground-ball pitchers Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola.
"He's also going to provide us with a nice deep lineup. And we know we are going to have to score some runs against this team (Arizona). To look at this fairly, Asdrubal gives us our best chance to score runs, and that's why he's in the lineup. And he is playing a good shortstop. He's really looked great."
Cabrera spent most of his time at shortstop from 2009-16 while playing with Cleveland, Washington, Tampa Bay and the Mets. He played 90 games at second base for the Mets this season.
Ahmed, who is 6 feet 2, 195 pounds, has bumped his numbers up during a current stretch in which he is hitting .353 with four doubles, four homers and 19 RBIs in 16 games. He had his second career two-home gamer Saturday. His previous career highs -- nine homers and 34 RBIs -- came in 2015.
"I'm the same guy. I'm just learning how to be a better hitter," Ahmed said. "I'm not going up there trying to hit these high fly balls, and most of the home runs I hit are not high fly balls. Most of them are high line drives on a low fly ball trajectory.
"Just putting myself in a position to see the ball and be athletic and take good aggressive swings at the right pitches. I have strength and athleticism and speed in my swing, I'm just learning how to maximize it and make it show up."
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo also credits Ahmed's work ethic.
"Nick works as hard as anybody I've been around," Lovullo said. "And he's never satisfied. I think those are the certain motivations and features that great players have, and that what Nicks wants to do every day.
"He's got long levers. He is utilizing his entire body to extend his swing and keep it lengthy through the zone and impact it (ball) and back-spin the baseball. It's more than that. It's Nick stepping up at the right time and wanting to be the guy in the middle of a lot of great rallies. He doesn't have a back-down mentality."
Greinke, who has a 2.96 ERA, had a seven-game winning streak broken in his last start, an 8-1 loss to San Francisco on Thursday in which he gave up two runs and four hits in six innings. He had not lost since June 23.
In Greinke's nine starts (including one no-decision) since, he has a 1.68 ERA and .209 opponents' batting average while striking striking out 58 and walking eight in 59 innings. He is tied for second in the NL in starts (23), is fourth in innings (142 2/3) and strikeouts (148), and fifth in ERA.
Greinke struck out nine in a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia on April 25, when he gave up nine hits and five runs, both tied for season highs. He is 8-2 with a 2.90 in 12 career appearances (11 starts) against the Phillies. Greinke is 5-2 at Chase Field this season after going 13-1 at home in 2017.
Pivetta, who has a 4.75 ERA, is coming off a quality start in a no-decision against Miami, when he gave up four hits and two runs in six innings of the Phillies' 5-2 victory Thursday.
He has had three double-digit strikeout games this season, including a career-high 13 against St. Louis on June 18 and 12 against Cincinnati in his most recent road start July 27. He is 2-4 with a 5.63 ERA in 10 road starts.
Pivetta was hit around in his lone career start against the Diamondbacks in 2017, the ninth start of his career. He gave up seven hits, six runs and five walks in 2 2/3 innings of a 6-1 loss June 26 at Chase Field.