Tuesday night’s game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians lasted 5 hours and 32 minutes, which tied for the longest contest in Chase Field history.
It didn’t have to be that way.
Despite falling in an early hole, the D-backs chipped away at the Indians’ lead the entire night while the bullpen tossed four innings of shutout baseball, even taking a one-run cushion into the ninth.
That’s when Kirk Gibson summoned closer Addison Reed to lock it down.
Reed walked leadoff hitter Asdrubal Cabrera, retired Michael Brantley on a hard-hit line drive to right field, walked Carlos Santana and struck out Jason Kipnis. Just when it seemed like Reed might escape with his 18th save of the season, Yan Gomes singled to center, driving in Cabrera and tying the game at 6.
Reed struck out Lonnie Chisenhall to end the inning, but the save had been blown and the damage had been done.
In his first year as a D-back, Reed is 1-3 with 17 saves, three blown saves and a 4.18 ERA. He’s struck out 38 in 32.1 innings and allowed eight home runs.
“We’ve got to remember, this guy doesn’t even have three years of Major League service yet, so he’s relatively young in the closer’s role in the big leagues,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “He had 40 saves last year for a not a very good Chicago White Sox club.”
The Diamondbacks acquired the 25-year-old Reed for third base prospect Matt Davidson after the right-hander had amassed 69 saves over the previous two seasons in Chicago.
And while it would be unfair to say Reed has been bad in Arizona — he has converted 85 percent of his save opportunities, after all — they haven’t all been easy.
Efforts like his previous outing against San Francisco, where he struck out the side in a 4-1 game, have been few and far between.
“This year he had only blown two saves (before Tuesday) for a not-very good Diamondback club this year,” Towers said. “You know it’s nice to sometimes have the one and two-run cushions when you go out there. That hasn’t been the case a lot this year.”
Reed has allowed at least one earned run in 13 of his 33 appearances this season. Sometimes they have come when the D-backs have had a big enough lead for them to not really hurt; other times, not so much.
But being in pressure-packed situations comes with being a closer, and Towers, who said Reed is getting a feel back for his slider, believes the team has a good one.
“Usually the one thing he does is sometimes he throws too many strikes, he doesn’t walk anybody, he’s in the zone,” he said. “Last night I think the walks ended up hurting him, but for the most part we’ve been happy with him. He’s got a great head on his shoulders. He doesn’t let things like that bother him, and I think he’s going to be fine long term.”