Arizona Diamondbacks-Bullpen Collapse in Eighth Leads to Loss
By Joseph Jacquez
The Rockies put together two big innings offensively against the Arizona Diamondbacks to run away with game one of the series
At some point, the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen needs to figure out how to get outs when it matters most.
It is a mystery that has not been solved all season long. That’s especially true after the all-star break concluded.
Coming into the Friday night’s game, the bullpen’s 5.08 ERA in the second half was the worst in the majors, and after yet another late collapse, that number is only going up.
Rockies catcher Nick Hundley hit a grand slam, and pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso added a solo shot, both off Silvino Bracho as part of a seven-run Colorado Rockies eighth. That was more than enough to beat the Diamondbacks 14-7 in front of 23,002 at Coors Field in Denver on Friday night.
Enrique Burgos came into the game in the eighth trying to keep the game tied at seven. After getting the first two outs rather easily, everything fell apart for the young right-hander.
Charlie Blackmon was hit by a 98.2 mph fastball, and with D.J. LeMahieu at the plate, Blackmon stole his 16th base of the season. Blackmon then took third on a throwing error by Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo. After LeMahieu walked on five pitches, Nolan Arenado brought Blackmon home with an RBI base hit.
That tied the game at 7-7. With Carlos Gonzalez batting, LeMahieu stole third and after issuing a walk to Gonzalez, Burgos threw a wild pitch on a change-up that was ball four.
That scored LeMahieu and allowed Arenado to advance to second. After walking Mark Renyolds to load the bases, Burgos was removed from the game and then the home runs were hit.
For obvious reasons, Manager Chip Hale was frustrated during his post-game interview.
“It just got away again,,” Hale said. “Burgos couldn’t put pitches together, spun out of control, and it just got out of hand.”
In total, the bullpen gave up eight runs, including seven with two outs in the eighth inning.
The Diamondbacks had the lead in this game twice. Four hits and a throwing error by Rockies’ starter Jorge De La Rosa gave the Diamondbacks a 5-0 lead.
After the Rockies took the lead 6-5 in the fifth, the Diamondbacks grabbed the lead right back courtesy of a two run home run from A.J. Pollock, his first of the season.
Robbie Ray was the starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and after four efficient innings, it looked like his recent good run of outings was going to continue. Ray did not surrendere a hit, and was established his fastball.
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Instead, Ray completely collapsed in the fifth. Colorado tagged him for six straight base hits and six runs in the inning. The only ball that was hit hard was a double by Carlos Gonzalez over the head of Brandon Drury in left, but that gave the Rockies the lead. Just like that Ray was chased from the game. He ended up picking up a no-decision.
“I made some good pitches and they hit them,” Ray said. “It was just timely hitting on their part. I had been really efficient the whole game, I only had 44 pitches through four innings,” he said. “I was feeling real good and I just tried to work out of it.”
Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, Ray was unable to complete the inning.
“He just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Hale said. “He just couldn’t put pitches together, he had a couple of 0-2 counts, and he gave up some pretty well hit balls.”
“I felt really confident that he would get out of the inning, and so I waited a while to get Godley up,” Hale said. “I thought he could right the ship, and it just didn’t happen tonight.”
The Diamondbacks will look to bounce back in game two of the series Saturday at 5:40 MST.
Braden Shipley (2-3, 4.75) will make the start for Arizona. The right-hander has logged four quality starts in seven career outings. He did not factor into the outcome in his last start on August 25 against the Reds. He gave up just one earned run in seven innings. Shipley owns a 1.04 ERA when he goes at least six innings.
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Tyler Chatwood (10-8, 3.75 ERA) will be on the mound for the Rockies. He was reinstated from the disabled list before Friday’s game. He had been out with a mid-back strain, and last pitched in the majors on August 9. He owns a 5.43 ERA at home this season in 12 starts. However, he is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks in 2016.