ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs striving for more consistency at the plate, better results with RISP

Jun 25, 2022, 6:29 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm
Carson Kelly #18 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against ...
Carson Kelly #18 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres June 20, 2022 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach Joe Mather goes into each game with a goal that his offense will score at least five runs.

The D-backs have done so nine times in July and fallen short in 12 contests. The past six games have been a particular shortcoming, as Arizona scored four or fewer runs in five of them.

“All it takes is one person to get on base, another hit, another hit and once we do that, we’re gonna start rolling,” infielder Jake Hager told reporters after Friday’s 5-1 loss against the Detroit Tigers. “Just takes a couple of at-bats, a couple good key hits to get going. I think we’ll be all right. We know our whole team can hit.

“We just need a little spark.”

Manager Torey Lovullo said during a press conference Friday that clubs typically have several conversations regarding batting with runners in scoring position each season.

The D-backs had one a couple weeks ago, Mather said Saturday, but the theme is at the forefront once again. Arizona left 35 runners aboard during the past four games, including the bases loaded in two first inning opportunities against the San Diego Padres.

Lovullo said he’s looking for his club to control the zone and prevent chase.

The D-backs have been strong in plate discipline this year with the fifth-lowest chase rate in the majors. Lovullo sees a difference with runners aboard, though.

“I think you just have to be really stubborn, eliminate some of the chase and not miss a mistake that’s out over the plate,” Lovullo said. “I think pitchers get up and get into a very stubborn mindset when there’s runners on base, and when the stakes are at their all-time highs, I expect us to execute at the highest level.

“I don’t know the reason for it. I just know that there’s probably a little bit more chase in those scenarios than there typically would be with nobody on, that’d be my guess.”

Mather said the D-backs have had stretches this season in which they were keeping the line moving effectively. They were eighth in the league in runs during May before dropping to 27th in June. Consistency is the next step for a young squad looking to become a contender.

“I think the important thing to know is that each guy just has to do their job at the plate. There’s not more pressure on our guys, there’s more pressure on the pitcher,” Mather said.

Strikeouts have been down during June for Arizona, but so is hard contact.

The D-backs entered Saturday 28th in MLB in hard hit percentage at 28.5% and last in line drive percentage at 14.7%, according to FanGraphs.

Mather said he does not see hitters selling out for power, but said Arizona is focusing more on low line drives to find gaps consistently.

“When we’re working, we’re trying to hit hard line drives, it’s a major focus,” Mather said. “We actually talked about even narrowing that focus of low line drives, perfect swing being basically a really hard hit ball that splits the gap or right in front of the outfielder.”

The D-backs have the 11th most home runs in the league this season with 83 entering Saturday, but 53 of them have come with nobody on base.

Outfielder Jordan Luplow said this week that moving on from last year’s struggles was a clear goal of the team he joined during the offseason. He told 98.7 FM Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke that while it is nice to see that improvement, there’s plenty of work to do.

The D-backs face the Tigers at 7:10 p.m. from Chase Field Saturday night. Catch the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks batter Jake McCarthy, left, congratulates Daulton Varsho (12) after Varsho's i...
Associated Press

Diamondbacks match last season’s win total with shutout victory over Rockies

The Diamondbacks notched win No. 52 Saturday night, matching last year's win total with more than a month remaining on the season.
1 day ago
Emmanuel Rivera #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a third inning solo home r...
Sam Graveline

D-backs’ Emmanuel Rivera hits 2 home runs in win over Colorado

Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Emmanuel Rivera is fitting right in with his new team, blasting two early home runs on Saturday.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Chris Devenski works against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth ...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks drop series opener in Colorado to Rockies

The Arizona Diamondbacks only managed five hits in a loss on the road against the Colorado Rockies.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Sergio Alcantara (43) and Geraldo Perdomo, middle, celebrate after scoring ag...
Kellan Olson

Diamondbacks rally to beat Pirates, make up for odd defensive blunder

The Arizona Diamondbacks' seven runs in the seventh inning picked up starter Merrill Kelly after he was positioned for an undeserved loss.
3 days ago
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn warms up in the outfield before a baseball game against the Ne...
Associated Press

‘Field of Dreams’ game Thursday sees Cubs, Reds clash

“Field of Dreams” gets another tribute when the Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs in a throwback ballpark in the cornfields of Iowa.
4 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Daulton Varsho leaps in vain for a triple hit by Pittsburgh Pira...
Kellan Olson

Bizarre double play, replay review costs Diamondbacks in loss to Pirates

The D-backs loaded the bases with nobody out down 6-3 in the ninth inning against the Pirates before one of the strangest plays of the year.
3 days ago
D-backs striving for more consistency at the plate, better results with RISP