Jul 22, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius (1) slides to score on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Martin Prado (14) during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks (51-48) are now 1-3 since the All-Star break. With a loss to the Chicago Cubs (44-53) on Monday night, the D-Backs are no longer atop the National League West, nor do they deserve to be. The pitching, shaky at times throughout the first half of the season, has not been the problem. In fact, the pitching has stepped in these last five games, and has been one of the few positives for the club who once looked destined for October baseball. The big issue has been their offense, or lack of it.
Tyler Skaggs (2-2) took the mound for Arizona at Chase Field, and while he pitched well, a few costly mistakes proved to be the difference. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits while striking six and not walking a batter in seven innings of work. Those three runs, however came on just two hits. With one out in the top of the second, Dioner Navarro hit a solo shot to center field, and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. In the top of the fifth, after a single off the bat of Chris Rusin, Junior Lake stepped up to the plate and hit a two run homer, the first of his career. This stretched the lead to 3-0 and while the Cubs would add on an insurance run in the ninth and eventually go on to win 4-2, those two home runs were the deciding factor in the game.
The Diamondbacks, however, did fight back. Martin Prado’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth scored Didi Gregorius, and All-Star Paul Goldschmidt‘s single brought home Adam Eaton. Yet, those two runs were all the Diamondbacks managed to muster off of Chris Rusin (1-0), and would go on to lose the game.
Jul 22, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (37) throws during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Since the All-Star break, the Snakes’ stagnant offense has been unable to eclipse three runs. Gerardo Parra has gone 1-for-13, Aaron Hill is 2-for-14 with seven strikeouts, A.J. Pollock is 1-for-8, and the list does not end there. If the Arizona Diamondbacks want a shot at the postseason, their hitters must start to help out their solid pitching and begin to score some runs in key situations. Like on Monday night in the seventh inning, when they had the bases loaded with one out. Instead of a breakout inning, two straight fly outs to center by Adam Eaton and pinch-hitter Eric Chavez blew any chance to score during that time around, and ultimately cost their team the game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who pounded the Toronto Blue jays 14-5 on Monday night now lead the N.L. West by 1/2 game. The Diamondbacks have a chance to redeem themselves on Tuesday night against the Cubs, when they will send left-hander Patrick Corbin (11-1) to the mound. Check out our series preview here.