ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks suffer 2 different losses in series opener with Rockies

Aug 24, 2020, 11:45 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts after being ejected from the game by umpire Rob D...

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts after being ejected from the game by umpire Rob Drake during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX – It’s tough to figure out the 2020 Arizona Diamondbacks. And that could be a problem, because the season’s already halfway over.

Arizona once again struggled to get anything going at the plate on Monday night, falling to the visiting Rockies by a final of 3-2 at Chase Field. It’s the D-backs’ sixth straight loss, dropping them to 13-17. A week ago, they were in the midst of a six-game winning streak. Given how good they looked during that run, this sudden drop off doesn’t make much sense.

There’s a clear theme in this recent stretch of losses, though: no hitting. Torey Lovullo’s team has scored a total of eight runs over the last six outings – an average of 1.5 per game. During that six-game winning streak, they put up 44 runs. That’s 7.3 runs per game, and it clearly makes life a lot easier on your pitchers.

Taylor Clarke didn’t have that luxury in this one, though. Making a last-second emergency start for the injured Merrill Kelly, the 26-year old righty delivered an admirable performance. He allowed two runs — one earned — over four innings of work. His only real mistake was a pitch that Trevor Story launched 449 feet over the left field wall in the first inning.

From there, Taylor Widener, Kevin Ginkel and Stefan Crichton combined to allow only one run over the next five innings, giving Arizona a chance to grab the win and crawl out of last in the NL West. It just didn’t happen.

The bigger issue is Kelly’s injury. Aside from being a great story as a former Arizona State pitcher who bounced around the minors and the KBO before finally landing with the Diamondbacks as a 30-year old rookie last season, he’s been one of the few stable arms in the rotation this year. His 2.59 ERA and 0.99 WHIP are among the best in the National League, and that carries extra weight on a team that hasn’t gotten much from Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray or Luke Weaver yet.

“I honestly don’t know,” Kelly said, when asked about a potential timetable for his return. “Today was step one, just acknowledging the fact that I need to deal with this and not try to press through it. But after today I honestly haven’t dove into the schematics of what’s about to happen.”

That puts more pressure on the hitters, but they weren’t able to step up on Monday. Other than a Kole Calhoun home run in the third, and another solo shot by Christian Walker in the fourth, Arizona couldn’t solve Colorado starter Ryan Castellani. The Brophy product threw mostly sinkers and sliders, while scattering just three hits over six innings of work to notch his first career win.

For a low scoring game, however, this one did have some fireworks. Eduardo Escobar had to be looked at after Colorado catcher Tony Wolters ran into his left arm during a play at third base in the third inning. And Lovullo was ejected in the fifth, when the inning ended with Calhoun being called out for interference after being hit in the head by a throw as he ran to second base.

On top of all that, there was a balk called on the Rockies that was ultimately reversed as well.

“Probably as high as it’s been since I’ve been the manager here,” Lovullo acknowledged when asked where his frustration level is. “I wasn’t in a good spot and, obviously, I showed that out there today. But I’m passionate. I’m going to fight and I’m going to battle for the things that I believe in. It’s just who I am.”

Arizona’s got some fighting to do as a team now. Sitting last in the division with 40% of the rotation injured isn’t where this group expected to be at the halfway point.

Penguin Air
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Ryan Castellani throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker fields a ground-out hit by Colorado Rockies' Raimel Tapia during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taylor Clarke (45) throws against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies' Tony Wolters dives into third safely on a double hit by teammate Raimel Tapia as Arizona Diamondbacks' Eduardo Escobar bobbles the throw during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) The Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks compete during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies' Tony Wolters (14) scores on an RBI sacrifice fly hit by Daniel Murphy during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) The Arizona Diamondbacks grounds crew cheer during the third inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Kole Calhoun, center, rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run as Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Ryan Castellani (60) and Nolan Arenado look on during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Kole Calhoun (56) celebrates his solo home run with teammate David Peralta (6) and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (17) during the third inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies' Tony Wolters (14) scores on a base hit by Raimel Tapia during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker (53) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run as Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story looks away during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo argues with the umpire after a balk call was overturned during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker (53) celebrates his solo home run with Starling Marte (2) during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Eduardo Escobar (5) falls after being hit by a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts after being ejected from the game by umpire Rob Drake during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo is ejected from the game by umpire Rob Drake during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Diamondbacks' Kole Calhoun (56) is hit in the head by Colorado Rockies catcher Tony Wolters after getting caught in a run down as Rockies' Ryan McMahon looks on during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. Calhoun was ruled out on the play. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black (10) and catcher Tony Wolters talk on the mound while waiting on a pitching change during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Colorado Rockies catcher Tony Wolters is helped up by manager Bud Black and the team trainer after being injured during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Phoenix. Wolters left the game. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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