GM Mike Hazen takes blame, hopes young D-backs get past pressure of losing skid
Aug 9, 2023, 1:54 PM
(Arizona Sports/Matt Layman)
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen’s sense of urgency is heightened. His team has lost seven in a row, falling to .500 to quite quickly be looking up at an NL Wild Card berth as a hill to climb.
At least at this point, the D-backs are two games out of the final wild card slot with 48 games to go as of Wednesday morning.
Time is available for a turnaround, but it needs to happen soon.
Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Wednesday that the on-paper roster is more talented than when the Diamondbacks started the year.
That said, Hazen did heap blame on himself and manager Torey Lovullo. It is on them to get the most out of their players.
Asked if Lovullo’s job could be at risk, Hazen framed it like so:
“Yeah, I’m focused on other areas. On July 1 he was the manager of the year, consensus,” the GM said. “It’s hard for me a few weeks later to sit here and honestly say everything we were doing was fake and he wasn’t pushing all the right buttons. It’s hard for me to go 180 on that situation.
“It’s a fair question. You should ask that question. You should ask it of me, too. We’re responsible for having to answer that question. But that’s where I have a hard time … coming down on this.”
Shoddy baserunning issues have cropped up lately. It’s coincided with a string of poor hitting efforts as the losing streak reached seven on Tuesday in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arizona for the season is bottom-10 with a .248 average with runners in scoring position.
Since July 1, it’s a bottom-five figure at .230, according to StatMuse.
“Offensively for the most part, we’ve really struggled to hit with runners in scoring position and put consistent pressure on the other team. That’s what I see,” Hazen said. “When you see us, we are good enough to lose by a run. It means we’re good enough to figure out ways to win these games.
“It’s one thing when you’re talking about a situation when you’re getting beat up every night. That’s not what’s happening. We are not coming out at the very beginning of these games like we were doing for the first three months of the season.”
From Hazen’s vantage point, the D-backs perhaps could be struggling with the pressure since coming out of the chute this season as a surprise squad led by youthful faces including Corbin Carroll. The outfielder on Tuesday ended the game by hitting into a misread double-play that was avoidable.
Corbin Carroll said he thought the first bounce was foul on the game-ending double play.
"There's no excuse for it."pic.twitter.com/Ok5PESguoS
— Alex Weiner (@alexjweiner) August 9, 2023
The general manager said it’s a “growing-up” process to get his young team past the pressure of heightened expectations.
“When you don’t hit (well), you end up trying to press in so many other areas and then it just starts looking sloppy,” Hazen said.
“It’s definitely not a lack of attention to detail (leading to losses). I would be shocked if Corbin Carroll got any sleep last night, knowing Corbin Carroll. We have the right people, we have the right people who care. I promise you that.”