What went wrong for Zach Davies, D-backs in Father’s Day loss to Guardians

Jun 18, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm

Zach Davies Diamondbacks...

Starter Zach Davies #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning at Chase Field on June 18, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies failed to escape the fourth inning for a second straight start, as the Cleveland Guardians piled on the hits in a 12-3 victory at Chase Field on Father’s Day.

The D-backs drew a packed crowd of 42,031 for the holiday, but the first at-bat of the game resulting in an error by shortstop Nick Ahmed foreshadowed a game to forget.

Davies exited with two outs and two runners on in the fourth, who both scored after reliever Jose Ruiz surrendered a triple to Andres Gimenez. The score when Davies’ book closed was 9-1. 

He faced 22 batters, falling behind 13 and allowing nine hits, eight earned runs and a lead-off walk that jump started a disaster six-run fourth inning.

The veteran felt postgame that he needs to simplify.

“When you’re not at your best, you’re throwing stuff out of the zone, you’re getting chased, it just comes down to having fun in my mind,” Davies said. “(I’m) stressing too much about game plans and what this guy can and can’t do instead of ‘I’m here for a reason. I have a history that I can rely on.’ I think getting back to that is what, for me, is going to be successful.”

Manager Torey Lovullo explained that Davies’ fastball command was off, which disallowed him from reaching counts to unleash his changeup.

Davies also had to maneuver a 15-minute delay in the first inning caused by lights going out at Chase Field.

The game was delayed in the bottom of the first from what the D-backs described in a statement as a “temporary loss of power that affected some lights and sound.”

Davies walked around, threw in the cages and went over information during the stoppage, but he allowed three hits to the first four batters he faced after the break.

The veteran’s ERA rocketed to 7.11 after the outing. It is 7.66 in 22.1 innings since his return from an oblique strain on May 27.

Arizona went 3-4 during this latest homestand in which four of seven starts did not last five innings. The D-backs understand that adding pitching is a priority, with multiple executives saying that arms will be the focus at the trade deadline.

Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have nine quality starts each. Tommy Henry is next at four and no one else has more than three.

Lovullo called Davies’ last two starts “uncharacteristic,” but he stressed the need for his starters to get deeper into games.

“We need our starters to step up and pitch into that fifth, sixth inning,” Lovullo said. “When it happens, we’re able to preserve the bullpen, maneuver the bullpen and put guys in the right situation for success.”

Lovullo turned to Ruiz, Drey Jameson and Austin Adams before the ninth inning when Josh Rojas got his second crack at pitching.

Rojas, in what Lovullo called a moment of levity in an otherwise “rough day” at the office, threw a scoreless inning in which he struck out Cleveland’s highly-ranked catcher prospect Bo Naylor and produced a pop out from four-time All-Star Jose Ramirez.

The punch out came on a Johnny Cueto inspired pitching motion, and the remaining fans at Chase Field gave Rojas a nice ovation.

Cleveland produced 16 hits, five for extra bases including three triples on Sunday.

Arizona’s offense, meanwhile, had to play catchup the entire game but finished 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Christian Walker was the bright spot with all three runs batted in. He blasted a solo shot in the second inning to cut the deficit at the time to 5-1. He also brought home two on a double, but Lovullo pulled him for Rojas to pinch run in the fifth inning.

The score was out of hand, and Lovullo said he wanted to give Walker some rest before the upcoming road trip.

Walker had a scorching homestand, finishing 11-for-26 with four doubles and three home runs.

Ahmed reached base four times with two hits on Sunday.

The Diamondbacks have seven road games on the upcoming trip without a day off until June 26. One of the games will be in Washington against the Nationals to make up the air quality-caused postponement on June 8.

Arizona will start in Milwaukee, where Merrill Kelly, Ryne Nelson and Zac Gallen are positioned to pitch. It heads to Washington and then San Francisco for three games against the Giants before coming back.

“I mean, this team has been doing a great job all year of flushing things and turning the page,” Walker said. “We’ve been playing real well, not letting it change anything and preparing every day the same way, so nothing will change. We will flush this and be ready tomorrow.”

The lights 

The D-backs said in the statement that the outage came from “part of a power surge for our downtown power grid.”

Lovullo said discussions on the field included opening the panels to insert more light, which did not occur. The stadium never got dark, but it was dim enough that Lovullo felt it was unsafe to play until backup systems restored enough energy to brighten the field.

Checking in on the minors

Brandon Pfaadt threw six innings of three-run ball on Sunday for Triple-A Reno. He struck out six and allowed three solo home runs, as his ERA in the minors this year sits at 3.89.

D-backs prospect Dominic Canzone went 2-for-3 with a home run after hitting two yesterday. He’s hitting .411 over his last 30 games.

Up next

The D-backs will face Brewers ace Corbin Burnes (3.44 ERA) on Monday night at 5:10 p.m.

Kelly has a 2.87 ERA over his last six starts, although he gave up three earned runs in six innings against the Brewers in April.

Catch the game on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM HD-2.

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What went wrong for Zach Davies, D-backs in Father’s Day loss to Guardians