ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs hope to keep stringing together big at-bats with Lamb on DL

Apr 3, 2018, 6:38 PM | Updated: 9:10 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks Jake Lamb follows through on a two-RBI double against the Colorado Rockies dur...

Arizona Diamondbacks Jake Lamb follows through on a two-RBI double against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Blame the Chase Field humidor or call it coincidence.

In four games to begin 2018, all at home, the Arizona Diamondbacks have scored 26 runs. Only six of those have come off two home runs.

The D-backs have done the damage with small-ball, stringing together productive — and timely — at-bats.

“Building innings is really important to me, and how we execute with runners on base is something we’ve talked about since last year,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Arizona was batting .302 with runners in scoring position and has an on-base percentage of .373, good for third-best in MLB. The Diamondbacks also have a .403 on-base percentage with runners on.

But the continued success of that savvy hitting will be tested with a lineup shakeup, a result of third baseman Jake Lamb hitting the 10-day disabled list due to a left AC joint sprain in his shoulder.

At third, right-handed batter Deven Marrero and lefty Daniel Descalso will platoon in place of Lamb based on matchups.

Lovullo said he hoped Lamb would only be out the minimum 10 days, but he did not put a timeline on the third baseman’s recovery.

Lamb, who has had runners aboard in nine of his 20 plate appearances, batted twice each in the fourth and sixth holes this season. Four times, he’s batted with the bases loaded. He has two hits, five RBIs and a walk with a strikeout in those situations.

“You can see that Jake has had a number of RBIs in a number of situations where he’s won us some games,” Lovullo said. “That’s important to me.”

NO WORRIES ABOUT GOLDY

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has yet to find many hittable pitches, but the D-backs aren’t worried about his .083 average to start 2018.

The first baseman has the same on-base percentage (.450) as .350 hitter A.J. Pollock, having taken seven walks in 20 plate appearances.

“I know that, first of all, hitting’s hard,” Lovullo said. “Hitting ebbs and flows and everybody wants to know why he’s not hitting, and we’re four games into the season and he’s doing just fine for me. He’s going to have days and months that he’s going to carry this ballclub, and right now, he’s not getting good pitches to hit. He’s showing some patience and he’s getting on base.

“We’re judging what his on-base percentage is and it’s up to other people to do their job. Once again, finding how those at-bats are linked, here’s a good example that Paul is passing on some pitches and not getting himself out, and getting himself on base.”

KOCH CALLED UP

Upon Lamb’s move to the disabled list and a day after the D-backs burned through seven relief pitchers in a 8-7, 15-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona called up 27-year-old righty Matt Koch to add a long reliever to the bullpen.

“We wanted to have some sort of contingency plan in case something happened early in the game with our pitcher tonight,” Lovullo said before Zack Godley squared off against Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday. “The long-term thought, we haven’t quite gotten into yet. We just need to take care of today and tomorrow, and Matt Koch was deserving of this call-up.

“He had a tremendous spring and he’s going to step into the bullpen and get us some length, if needed.”

SOUZA, DELGADO PROGRESS

Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. threw 25 to 30 times out to 150 feet on Tuesday and showed no signs of problems as he took another step forward in his recovery from a pectoral injury.

Meanwhile, reliever Randall Delgado threw a simulated game. He tossed 20 pitches to two batters and told Lovullo everything felt good.

Lovullo did not know a timeline for either’s return.

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