In a rut: Diamondbacks facing adversity with season-high 4 straight losses
Jul 6, 2023, 11:36 PM | Updated: 11:45 pm
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have reached a low mark they had not faced to this point in the season.
Arizona (50-38) was swept for the first time in 2023, dropping Thursday’s series finale 9-0 against the New York Mets (41-46).
The loss extended the D-backs’ losing streak to a season-high four games and was their first shutout defeat all year.
The Diamondbacks are now 9-13 in the last 22 games.
Nothing went right on Thursday, as the offense produced four hits while starter Ryne Nelson allowed seven earned runs in three innings.
All-Star Corbin Carroll came out of the game with right shoulder discomfort on a backswing and will get x-rays on Wednesday. Manager Torey Lovullo said he received encouraging news on the rookie’s status, but there will be imaging done Friday to get a clearer outlook.
Lovullo said the group has lately not played the brand of baseball that helped it build a lead in the NL West, one that has dwindled to 0.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night.
“I want them to process what happened and individually understand what they did right, what they did wrong, what they can control on a daily basis to win baseball games. … I want us to feel this, I want us to understand what happened but at some point during the night or tomorrow we have to turn the page,” Lovullo said.
Lovullo pointed to uncharacteristic low moments that went the wrong way Thursday. Geraldo Perdomo got picked off in the first inning, a catchable pop-up in foul ground dropped to extended an at-bat and Nelson struggled to finish off batters in two-strike counts.
The pop-up was not helped by Carroll’s contact lens jarring loose during the play.
Lovullo said the team is in a rut, but he had a simple message for fighting through perhaps the most adversity it has faced this season.
“Win the margins, and that’s what we talk about here,” Lovullo said. “You can see some things that are not going on the right way, they’re not the things we do … It happens but it doesn’t happen here very often so we have to tighten that up.”
The offense has scored one run on eight hits and two walks in the last couple losses to New York, as a hot June has not carried into July thus far.
The D-backs have scored 15 runs in the last eight games. Strikeouts are up, walks are down and in turn stolen bases and chaos creation on the base paths have been limited.
First baseman Christian Walker said before Thursday’s game that being gritty and finding ways to score in multiple ways is part of the team’s identity.
The challenge is getting back to that, overcoming games when not everything is clicking organically, which it isn’t at the plate.
Carroll grabbed his shoulder in obvious discomfort after swinging after a changeup.
He left the game but returned to the dugout in a hoodie.
Lovullo felt the news he received postgame was better than anticipated, noting that Carroll’s strength and stability checked out.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo is feeling positive about Corbin Carroll after the center fielder came out of the game Thursday pic.twitter.com/UuqHurkA3L
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) July 7, 2023
Nelson was coming off a two-start stretch in which he allowed two runs over 14.1 innings, both wins for Arizona.
But Mets hitters crushed his fastball on Thursday, many of which were left middle-middle even in favorable counts.
New York put 12 of his heaters in play for an average of 97 mph off the bat.
He allowed two home runs, two triples and two doubles.
Pete Alonso and Francisco Alvarez hit the homers off Nelson, while Francisco Lindor homered off Drey Jameson in the sixth.
Lindor was 5-for-5 with both triples on Thursday, coming a double short of the cycle.
Nelson threw 66 pitches in three innings before getting removed.
Jameson also had an injury scare in the sixth with what Lovullo said was a wrist cramp.
He stayed in the game to compete the frame.
D-backs reliever Jose Ruiz hit Alvarez with an errant fastball in the seventh inning.
Alvarez took a step toward Ruiz before heading to first base.
The benches and bullpens cleared, but not ejections were made and the situation dissipated.
Benches clear in Arizona after Diamondbacks pitcher Jose Ruiz hits Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez.
Alvarez has blasted a home run in three straight games off the D-Backs.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 7, 2023
Merrill Kelly update
Kelly threw a 45-pitch bullpen on Wednesday with three up-downs as he progresses on the 15-day injured list with a blood clot in his calf.
Lovullo noted the veteran was scheduled for an ultrasound on Thursday.
The D-backs face the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field for three games ahead of the All-Star break.
Zac Gallen is probable to pitch against veteran lefty Rich Hill on Friday.
The D-backs have yet to decide on a starter for Saturday against Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller. Zach Davies will be on the hill to close the series Sunday.
Friday’s game begins at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.