After a bullpen melt-down, reliever Jake Barrett came to the rescue and preserved the first Arizona Diamondbacks series win at home in more than a month.
It’s been a considerable period, but the Arizona Diamondbacks finally won a series. While the news is significant, what seems more important is how they beat the visiting Dodgers during a weekend series in Chase Field. Behind four extra-base hits of the nine collected in the series finale, and the ability of starter Robbie Ray to get out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam early in the game, the Arizona Diamondbacks eventually defeated the Dodgers, 6-5 before 29,459 Sunday afternoon.
The win enabled the Arizona Diamondbacks to capture two-of-three from L. A., and marked the first time since June 10-12, when they defeated Miami, they took a series at home. This was also the first time the Arizona Diamondbacks won at least two consecutive home games since a three-game, Chase Field streak over a month ago.
The series victory over the Dodgers was also the eighth series victory this season, and the first since they swept the Phillies at Citizen Bank Park in late June.
If the Arizona Diamondbacks were collectively satisfied with the series outcome, this end result was clearly in jeopardy. After a stellar effort from Ray, who went seven strong innings, gave up four hits and no runs, the bullpen of Daniel Hudson and Tyler Clippard imploded. Reliever Jake Barrett came on with a one-run lead in he ninth. Here, L. A. had runners on first and third and one out, and Barrett managed to put out the fire. Barrett, a Phoenix native, managed to strike out Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor, each with nasty breaking pitches down and away, to end the game.
“I wanted them to swing on sliders, actually chasing sliders,” Barrett said. “When I came in, I wanted to control my emotions and slow the game down. The goal is just pound the strike zone and stay away from walking guys.”
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As this one unfolded, the series win seemed secure. That’s because the offense staked Ray to a 6-0 lead, and thanks in part to a three-run, first inning. Later in the third, Jake Lamb crushed his 21st homer of the season, and Michael Bourn doubled in Ray, who doubled, in the fifth. The sixth scored on a wild pitch from Dodgers’ reliever Chris Hatcher that scored Jean Segura in the seventh inning.
By the time he left, Ray was in total control. While his pitch count reached 101, Ray recorded seven strikeouts on the day, and now struck out five hitters or more for the 18th straight time, the longest streak by a pitcher in the majors this season.
Noted for what manager Chip Hale calls Ray’s “electric arm,” the lefty is beginning to balance in secondary pitches. While hitters now look for Ray’s fastball, constantly clocked in the mid-90s, his ability to slip in off-speed pitches increases overall efficiency.
“My curve has not been that effective, so I’m going more to the slider,” Ray said. “That has the same speed as the curve and I’m throwing that for strikes. There’s really no change in my approach, but the slider seems to keep the hitters a little off-balance.”
Before Sunday’s game, the Arizona Diamondbacks placed catcher Chris Herrmann on the disabled list with an aggravated right hamstring. Herrmann hit career highs in hits, average extra-base hits, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage this season.
To replace Herrmann on the 25-man roster, outfielder Mike Freeman was called up from Triple-A Reno. On Sunday, Freeman was in the starting line-up, playing right field, against Dodgers’ starter Kenta Maeda, and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Outfielder David Peralta, on the disabled list since June 20 with a lower back sprain, started his rehab with a game at Double-A Mobile. Peralta could join the Arizona Diamondbacks next weekend in Cincinnati.
Infielder/outfielder Chris Owings, on the disabled list since June 11 with plantar fasciitis to his left foot, began taking ground balls and, like Peralta, is at least one week from joining the club. Owings is currently rehabbing at Triple-A Reno.
Following an off-day Monday, the Arizona Diamondbacks entertain the Toronto Blue Jays in an inter-league, two-game set. On Tuesday night, look for righty Zack Godley (2-0, 5.28 ERA) to take on righty Aaron Sanchez (9-1, 2.97). To make room for Godley on the 25-man roster, the Arizona Diamondbacks optioned reliever Edwin Escobar after Sunday’s game with the Dodgers.
The Arizona Diamondbacks then hit the road for a 10-game trip. This includes three in Cincinnati, four in Milwaukee and three with the Dodgers in Los Angeles.