Right-hander Zack Godley of the Arizona Diamondbacks gave his team an opportunity to win.
Before Wednesday night’s game against the San Diego Padres, manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks had one request of his starter. That would be righty Zack Godley, who was given the assignment to replace the injured Shelby Miller in the rotation.
In that request, Lovullo asked Godley to give the Diamondbacks 21 outs. That’s a appeal made of all starters and especially true to Godley.
As last week’s Pacific Coast League pitcher-of-the-week with Triple-A Reno, Godley was given the ball for Wednesday’s game against San Diego only. After further evaluation on Miller, which is expected Thursday, Lovullo would be prepared to restructure the pitching rotation.
For now, it was Godley’s turn and the 27-year-old native of Bamberg, S. C. gave the Diamondbacks five manageable innings. While not terribly spectacular, Godley did accomplish the goal of all starting pitchers. That is the keep his team in the game and to give his club an opportunity to win.
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From the start, the Diamondbacks staked Godley to an early, four run lead, but closer Fernando Rodney imploded at an inopportune time. Coming into the ninth inning with a two-run lead, Rodney allowed five runs in the frame and absorbed an 8-5 defeat to San Diego before 12,215 in Chase Field.
Yet, Lovullo was encouraged by Godley and what he saw. Lovullo told Venom Strikes Godley gave the Diamondbacks what was expected.
"I thought he was extremely effective in spurts. He did what a good starter should do. He pitched well enough and then hand it over to the bullpen."
Godley’s reward for a solid outing was a plane ticket back to Reno. After the game, the Diamondbacks announced that Godley was sent back to the Aces and there was no corresponding move. Coming into play Thursday, the Diamondbacks’ roster stands at 24 players, one under the limit.
Rodney’s melt-down deprived the Diamondbacks an opportunity to move into first place in the National League West Division, and jump over the Colorado Rockies, who lost to the Washington Nationals. Staking Godley to an eventual 5-2 advantage after four innings, that offense was thought to be enough.
After Godley left following his five frames, Archie Bradley continued his strong season with three solid innings.
Turning the game over to Rodney, the veteran closer self-destructed. The key hit in that fateful ninth inning was a three-run from Ryan Schimpf (hitting .102 coming into the game), who entered the game in a double switch in the sixth inning. In 2/3 of an inning, Rodney gave up five runs, six hits and elevated his ERA to 11.00 in 10 appearances. Afterward, Rodney told Venom Strikes there are no excuses.
"I was trying to get three outs and try my best. I tried to jam (Schimpf) but got it a little over the plate. This was a tough loss, but you have to keep your head high and get ready for tomorrow."
Second baseman Brandon Drury left the game after the fifth inning with a jammed right knee. He is listed as day-to-day.
Beating out an infield single, Drury collided with first baseman Wil Myers and the bag almost simultaneously and stayed in the game. When the Diamondbacks went out the fifth, manager Torey Lovullo made a double switch and removed Drury from the contest.
Meeting with media after the game, Lovullo said Drury may have flexed his knee and a further determination on his condition will be made on Thursday.
For the record
The announced crowd of 12,215 was the lowest in Chase Field history. The previous low was 14,110, also set against the San Diego Padres on July 5, 2016.
The Padres’ series concludes Thursday night with righty Taijuan Walker (2-1, 4.57 ERA) taking on veteran right-hander Jered Weaver (3.91).
Then, the NL West division-leading Colorado Rockies move into Chase Field for a three-game, weekend set.
In the opener Friday night, look for a pair of lefties to battle. It’s Robbie Ray (2-0, 3.42) taking on the Rox’ Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.32). On Saturday, righty Zack Greinke (2-2, 2.93) opposes lefty Tyler Anderson (1-3, 7.11). In the series and home stand finale Sunday afternoon, Patrick Corbin (2-2, 3.10) challenges right-hander German Marquez (0-1, 18.00).
"Arizona Diamondbacks: Miller to receive a third opinion"
The Diamondbacks then embark on a six-game road with three in Washington and three with the Rockies in Denver. They return to Chase Field on Tuesday, May 9 to face the Detroit Tigers.