Diamondbacks’ RISP woes continue in loss to Mariners at Chase Field

Jul 28, 2023, 11:09 PM

Jose Herrera...

Jose Herrera #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks scores a run on a wild pitch past relief pitcher Matt Brash #47 of the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 28, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks failed to come up with a base hit with runners in scoring position Friday night in a 5-2 loss against the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field.

The D-backs produced a base runner every inning, but their only runs came on a wild pitch and errant toss in the seventh.

Arizona finished 0-for-7 with RISP on Friday and is 10-for-71 in such situations over the last eight games (.141 average). D-backs starter Tommy Henry allowed four runs in the first inning before throwing five scoreless frames, but Arizona never rallied to cut the deficit below three.

“There’s an art to hitting with men scoring position,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “Hitting is an art period. But it gets a little bit tougher when guys are on base and the chips are on the table to grab a big handful of them. We just got to be smart hitters, we got to be able to counter punch quality pitches, we got to be able to take the ones we’re not looking for and have an all-field approach.”

A key spot came in the seventh inning with Seattle up 5-0.

Jose Herrera and Geraldo Perdomo were on second and third, respectively, after a pair of hits to chase Mariners starter Logan Gilbert — who had a shutout going.

Reliever Matt Brash entered and threw a slider in the dirt that squirted away from catcher Cal Raleigh. Herrera made a quick read and slid in safely, while Raleigh’s toss got away from Brash covering home. Perdomo never stopped and dove in for the second run.

Ketel Marte walked and Corbin Carroll singled with one out bringing up Christian Walker and Dominic Canzone.

Walker popped up, yelling as he dropped his bat in the midst of an 0-for-5 game. Canzone, who was 2-for-3, just missed a slider and flew out to right.

Lovullo said he doesn’t believe the players are pressing, explaining he hears the right plans inside the dugout.

“We just couldn’t get that big slug or that big hit to close the gap up,” Lovullo said. “We dug ourselves in too big of a hole and couldn’t come out of it.”

The Mariners jumped on Henry from the first pitch, which shortstop J.P. Crawford slashed to right for a double. Julio Rodriguez smacked third pitch of the game for a single. Raleigh and designated hitter Tom Murphy doubled in a pair of runs each to go up 4-0 only 15 pitches into the game.

Lovullo felt there was at least an out to be made on the base paths with Seattle’s Teoscar Hernandez rounding third base hard and retreating. Perdomo’s throw to back pick him was just off, which prevented the second out.

From there, Henry retired nine Mariners in a row and 16 of 17 batters. He only allowed two base more runners through the sixth inning, both singles.

“After the first thing, I felt like we found a groove, used the slider a little bit more than we have in the past and I think we got good results from that,” Henry said. “Got the swings we wanted on it, so that helped a lot. It was one of those things we were kind of forced to settle in and throw up zeros just to keep us in the game. Glad to check that box, but obviously it wasn’t enough.”

Lovullo said the slider was elite on Friday.

Henry was 45% fastball and 29% slider, throwing 27 of his offspeed pitch. He induced 14 swings, three whiffs and six fouls balls using the pitch, which finished off four strikeouts.

He credited Seattle’s game plan in the first inning, as the Mariners attacked early in counts, specifically on offspeed pitches in the zone. Three of the Mariners’ first four hits off Henry were offspeed.

The southpaw was coming off a pair of starts that did not last five innings, and his manager complimented his ability to stick it out Friday.

“For a young pitcher to rebound and pitch through six innings was good for us. We didn’t have to tap into our bullpen,” Lovullo said.

Austin Adams entered in the seventh and allowed the fifth run after a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a two-out single.

The D-backs have dropped 10 of the first 13 games out of the All-Star break and are 6-15 this month.

At a record of 55-49, it is the first time their games over .500 mark has been six or fewer since May.

“I think the energy at the field has been great every day and the work has been consistent pre and postgame for everyone,” Henry said. “Sometimes the balls don’t fall your way. I think that we are continuing to play hard, to play with the right energy like we always do. I think there’s plenty of talent in this locker room.”

What’s next?

The second game of the series starts at 5:10 p.m. Saturday evening, as Brandon Pfaadt will pitch against Seattle rookie Bryan Woo.

Pfaadt is coming off a six-inning, three-run performance against Cincinnati in which he threw five scoreless innings before the Reds got going.

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