Oh the adjectives that could open up this piece to describe just how the team and fans are feeling following Tuesday’s defeat at Chase Field. If helmets and bats weren’t thrown after that debacle I don’t know what it’ll take. This night may be the hardest one of all to swallow and a look at the standings won’t help.
The Diamondbacks continued to be about as inconsistent of a team any of us can stand on Tuesday. After scratching for 11 hits and 3 runs over the previous two games, the offense put together an impressive 15 hits and seven runs chasing Harang after just 4 1/3 innings. Lyle Overbay was exceptional with a 4-4 day including the go ahead homerun in the eighth inning. Starter Trevor Cahill was more than sufficient throwing six innings of one run ball, leaving with a five run cushion. They appeared to be back on track.
But- oh yes, there’s always a ‘but’ in 2012- the bullpen faltered. In fact, they were barely able to record an out. Two relievers came in and despite throwing to seven different hitters, did not record one out. They gave up five runs in the seventh inning, three of them of earned.
Now we should be mentally prepared for these games knowing there’s always one facet of this club that isn’t clicking at the same time as the rest. The bullpen is great-the starters struggle. The starters pitch well- the bullpen struggles. The pitchers throw well- the offense is silent. Tonight it was both the bullpen and two defensive miscues that did the team in.
Let’s start with Brad Ziegler trying to turn two on a bunt by speedster Dee Gordon and instead throwing the ball out to Young in center field. Next batter? Pinch-hit RBI double. Next batter? Two run single to right field. And that wasn’t the worst part- the next batter hit an easy double play chopper to new third baseman Josh Bell-who apparently plays NO defense- that he bobbled and failed to record an out on the play. Next batter? RBI single. Seeing a trend here? The domino effect of Dodger hits after our miscues was unbearable. Two errors, a double, and five runs later and we’re tied through seven. They blew a 6-1 lead in the seventh. Horrible right? Wait, Putz hadn’t pitched at this point.
Following Overbay’s go ahead homerun to right center field Gibby called on the closer to finish off the Dodgers. After retiring the first hitter of the ninth, J.J. Putz walked two consecutive batters-only his second and third all season- and then placed a first pitch fastball to Ivan De Jesus right-down-the-gut resulting in a two run double to deep center. It would be the second blown save of the game for D-backs relievers- a feat in and of itself- and the final nail in the coffin. Putz has got to be on the hot seat after this game.
The loss may be easier to take if the Dbacks could look at this game and say the Dodgers just plain beat them. And while a lot of credit is due to L.A. for battling, this team fell apart. No late inning heroics this time, no walk off win. You cannot score seven runs on 15 hits and lose. It was sloppy baseball that opened the door for the hottest team in baseball allowing them to stomp all over the home team.
As we walked out of Chase Field Tuesday, there was a whole lot of rumbling among the fans. Most of them cursing under their breath as they high-tailed it for the exits. They were angry with the way this team finished and they have every right to be. This was a heartbreaker.