The bullpen for the Arizona Diamondbacks, shaky all season, suffered another defeat
If the starting pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks has been troublesome this season, ditto for the bullpen.
Having traded away two-third of the back end of their bullpen earlier this season, manager Chip Hale and other decision-makers decided to retool the bullpen. The result has turned into another bout with disaster.
That was clearly demonstrated Tuesday night in Chase Field. Reliever Jake Barrett, the third pitcher behind starter Archie Bradley, attempted to hold a fragile, one-run lead late in the game. What has been the repeated case for this dreadful season, the result was as disappointing as the journey. Barrett could not hold the slight advantage, gave up three critical runs in the eighth, and absorbed a 7-4 defeat to the Atlanta Braves before 18,780.
The loss pushed the home record of the Arizona Diamondbacks to 22-41, and only the Braves have a worse home record in the majors.
With the mantra of real estate agents ringing in his ears, Barrett suffered from location, location, location. While manager Chip Hale said Barrett “was all about location,” his lack of placement represented the catalyst for the defeat.
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With the Arizona Diamondbacks holding that slim one-run lead in the eighth, Barrett came in and the Braves loaded the bases with two hits and a walk. Barrett then missed to Matt Kemp, who laced a double into the right field corner that cleared the bases. The Braves managed three in the inning, and sent Barrett down to his second defeat in three decisions.
“The one pitch hurt me,” Barrett said afterward. “It was a fastball and I wanted to go inside to Kemp. Instead, the pitch was away and he got it. I’m just trying to be aggressive. It’s a long season and I’m feeling it. But, I need to stay focused.”
For most of this one, the Arizona Diamondbacks held a razor-thin lead. Thanks to a four-run, third inning, the one-run advantage extended into the eighth. Scoring those four on only two hits, the Diamondbacks managed only four hits off of six Atlanta pitchers for the entire game.
If the Diamondbacks bullpen was unproductive, Braves’ relievers turned in a reverse effort. Atlanta set-up reliever Mauricio Cabrera struck out the side in the eighth, and one fast ball reached 102 miles per hour. Veteran closer Jim Johnson came in the ninth and retired the side to record his 11th save of the season.
Until the deciding eighth, Archie Bradley, starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks, seemed to gut out a win.
After struggling through a nearly 40-pitch opening inning, Bradley appeared to have enough in the tank to earn his fifth victory of the season. None-the-less, Bradley did overcome a shaky start and attempted to begin a new winning streak. Bradley started the season with a no-decision and two victories, but recorded only one victory since June 19.
“Archie didn’t start well, but battled,” Hale said. “He got through five innings and that was pretty amazing considering his high pitch count.”
By the end of the opening inning, the Braves pushed two runs across, and Bradley ran his pitch count to 39 in that first frame. At the end of the fourth, he was up to 89 and, with that one run lead, Hale left him in for the fifth to try and secure a victory.
After that four-run third, the Arizona Diamondbacks managed only four base runners the rest of the way. That included a lead-off triple from Chris Owings in the seventh who was stranded, a two-out, eight inning double from Jake Lamb and Jean Segura reached twice with hit by a pitch in the seven and an infield single in the ninth.
Outfielder Yasmany Tomas left in the eighth with mid-back stiffness. After the game, Hale said the injury was not serious, and Tomas will undergo further evaluation Wednesday. Tomas triggered the offense with a two-run, bases loaded single in the four-run third inning. All four runs in that inning came with two out.
The Atlanta series continues. On Wednesday night, look for righty Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.21 ERA) to take on right-hander Julio Teheran (2-3, 4.89). In the series finale on Thursday night, lefty Robbie Ray (7-11, 4.31) starts for the Diamondbacks. The Braves starter for Thursday is undecided.
Then, the Cincinnati Reds come into Chase Field for the weekend, and a three-game series.