Grit Index: D-backs bullpen falters in loss to Phillies
The scene was all too familiar for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Despite holding a 3-1 lead over the Phillies after five innings, the D-backs found themselves tied heading into the ninth.
And then it all unraveled.
Embattled reliever Heath Bell pitched himself into a bases loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the frame, surrendering back-to-back singles to Cody Asche and Jimmy Rollins before giving Michael Young an intentional pass. Bell rallied to strike out Kevin Frandsen before giving way to southpaw Eury De La Rosa.
Manager Kirk Gibson went with the left-hander against Chase Utley, who is batting just .216 against lefties this season.
But while the move statistically appeared to be in the D-backs’ favor, it backfired.
De La Rosa surrendered a walk-off walk to Utley, as the Phillies handed the D-backs a 4-3 loss in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Martin Prado continue his hot-hitting ways for the D-backs. He went 1-for-4 with two RBI on the night. Prado has hit .394 over his last seven games and boasts a .373 average for the month of August.
The D-backs failed to gain ground on the Reds, who lost to the Milwaukee Brewers Friday, for the second National League wild card spot. Arizona remains seven games behind Cincinnati for that final NL playoff berth.
– The D-backs bullpen had been pitching quite well before the loss against the Phillies. Arizona relievers posted a 1.59 ERA in 34 IP over the last eight games prior to Friday’s contest.
– Before Utley walked in the winning run for Philadelphia, the Phillies’ 1-2-3 hitters were just 1-for-12 on the night.
– The Phillies have now won five of their last six games, four in their last at-bat.
The D-backs and Phillies will play the second game of their three-game set on Saturday, August 24 at 4:05 p.m. MST. Right-hander Randall Delgado will get the start for the D-backs. He will be opposed by fellow righty Ethan Martin for the Phillies. The game can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.