ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks’ low point of season sinks further with loss to Cubs

Sep 18, 2018, 11:01 PM | Updated: Sep 19, 2018, 8:05 am
Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Owings can not make the catch on a ball hit by Chicago Cubs' Albert Alm...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Owings can not make the catch on a ball hit by Chicago Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. during the seventh inning during a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, in Phoenix. Owings was charged with an error. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Prior to Tuesday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks had lost four games in a row at four different points in 2018.

Tuesday’s 9-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs marked the fifth occasion, but this fourth loss in a row is a whole lot different than the other four.

On May 12, a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals had the 24-15 D-backs 2.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

On May 20, a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets had the 25-21 D-backs 0.5 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.

On July 2, a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals had the 47-38 D-backs 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West.

On Sept. 3, a 6-2 loss to the San Diego Padres had the 74-64 D-backs 1.5 games behind the Rockies in the NL West.

Two weeks later, Tuesday’s defeat had the 78-74 D-backs 6.0 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

There has been no lower point in the season.

Despite their inconsistent play throughout the season, Arizona had either been in the lead for the division or close behind the entirety of the season.

That is, until September, where the D-backs have lost 13 of 17.

After the offense managed only three hits Monday night in a 5-1 loss to the Cubs, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said, “something magical could happen here tomorrow and we might get on a great run.”

That didn’t happen.

Reliever Matt Andriese made the spot start, and with a limited pitch count, early success was going to be key.

Well, a 17-pitch at-bat to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo certainly didn’t help matters in the first. Neither did Cubs shortstop and MVP candidate Javier Baez’s two-run homer on the next at-bat.

On an expected pitch count of 40-50, Andriese exited the first with 33 pitches.

Two doubles the next inning from the Cubs elevated Chicago’s lead to 3-0, and second baseman Daniel Murphy’s two-run homer of his own made it a five-run deficit for the D-backs.

“I thought Matt just made a couple mistakes at the wrong time to the wrong guys and it resulted in some long balls,” Lovullo said after the game.

Andriese failed to establish any of that early success, exiting after the second inning at 61 pitches and ending his night with five earned runs on five hits to his name.

To be fair, it’s not like the offense was there to help. The D-backs hitters had four hits, making it seven combined in the last two nights.

“I expect more out of our offense,” Lovullo said. “I expect more to come out of different situations and we are just not getting it done.”

A Ketel Marte solo homer in the second and four more Cubs runs in the fifth later, the 9-1 score was locked in.

If the game didn’t feel over at that point, Lovullo pulling several key hitters like Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta to start the sixth made it feel over.

With what the D-backs have been through in September, that moment and the loss as a whole felt like the unofficial end to the team’s playoff chase with 10 games remaining.

The D-backs won’t say that, but the product on the field did.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m the crazy, solo-thinker here, but we still have a heartbeat,” Lovullo said. “I know that things are pretty rough here right now but things have happened in this game that lead me to think that we could do it.

“I’ve seen things like this firsthand. We’re not gonna shut down. This team is gonna fight until we can fight no longer.”

UP NEXT

If anyone is going to spark a run for the D-backs, it will be left-hander Robbie Ray, who gets the nod Wednesday against Chicago at Chase Field. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage starting 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Ray hasn’t allowed over two earned runs in his last five starts, and since the start of August, his ERA has dropped from 4.92 to 4.14.

Arizona takes on Chicago’s Cole Hamels. The veteran left-hander has a terrific 1.57 ERA in his nine outings for the Cubs since being traded by the Texas Rangers in late July.

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Madison Bumgarner #40 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the San Franc...
Jake Anderson

Madison Bumgarner, D-backs offense deliver in July 4 win over Giants

The Diamondbacks beat the NL West rival Giants 8-3 in front of 27,752 fans at Chase Field on the Fourth of July.
1 day ago
Tyler Gilbert #49 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second ...
Alex Weiner

D-backs to recall LHP Tyler Gilbert to start Tuesday vs. Giants

LHP Tyler Gilbert will start for the Diamondbacks Tuesday against the Giants at Chase Field, manager Torey Lovullo said Monday. 
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Ian Kennedy reacts in the dugout after he was pulled from a bas...
Alex Weiner

D-backs place RHP Ian Kennedy on 15-day IL with calf inflammation

The Diamondbacks placed setup man Ian Kennedy on the 15-day injured list due to right calf inflammation, the team announced Monday.
1 day ago
(Instagram photo / Jackson Holliday)...
Alex Weiner

D-backs select SS Jackson Holliday, son of Matt Holliday, on mock drafts

Mock drafts from ESPN analyst Kiley McDaniel and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo have the Diamondbacks selecting Jackson Holliday No. 2 overall.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Col...
Associated Press

D-backs squander 5-run lead in solid start from Gallen, lose to Rockies

Zac Gallen turned in another solid performance at hitter friendly Coors Field but the D-backs were unable to pick up the win.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta follows the flight of his single off Colorado Rockies starting ...
Alex Weiner

D-backs’ David Peralta blasts grand slam, climbs franchise HR list

D-backs outfielder David Peralta shot a hanging slider deep into the stands of right field for his third career grand slam.
2 days ago
Diamondbacks’ low point of season sinks further with loss to Cubs