With a tale of 2 teams, fans saw the good Diamondbacks on Sunday
Aug 27, 2023, 4:45 PM | Updated: Aug 28, 2023, 7:16 am
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
The Diamondbacks are two baseball teams: One of them is youthful and exhilarating and the other is inexperienced and flawed.
They battle each other on a daily basis. One of them will prevail in the end.
On Sunday, the Valley celebrated the good Diamondbacks — a team that celebrated a pivotal 5-2 victory over the Reds at Chase Field, extending their lead to 1.5 games over the team chasing them in the Wild Card standings.
It marked the end to a wild series, and what is shaping up to be one of the strangest months in team history. The Diamondbacks fell out of favor and contention with a nine-game losing streak to inaugurate August.
Left for dead, they have responded by winning 10 of their past 12.
“That was a good bounce-back win,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
After losing on a balk in the third game of the series on Saturday, the Diamondbacks responded with a sturdy emotional effort to win the series. It included an excellent outing from starting pitcher Slade Cecconi, an impact performance from Corbin Carroll (including an attempted inside-the-park home run that failed spectacularly) and a clutch home run from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., a towering blast that seemed to shift the playing field.
“That one little injection of energy seemed to wake up the entire dugout,” Lovullo said.
After Gurriel’s heroics, the Diamondbacks blew open the game in the eighth inning, a frame that also highlighted the fear and trepidation attached to this team.
Carroll walked to open the inning, and promptly stole his 40th base of the season. Ketel Marte followed with a walk, and the Diamondbacks were cooking. But the crowd of 26,574 was eerily silent, only chiming in when the scoreboard operator begged for noise.
It was the sign of a shell-shocked audience that had been burned once-too-often in late-game situations, a fan base that has been too-often victimized by stagnant offense and bad relief pitching.
But not this time.
In the penultimate inning, the Diamondbacks stacked clutch at-bats and textbook execution, a rich tapestry of walks, stolen bases, sacrifice flies and that one timely hit.
The Reds went quietly in the ninth against Ryan Thompson, a new reliever Lovullo first met on Sunday morning. The confluence of events allowed the Diamondbacks to relish a drama-free ending, the sign of a team heading in the right direction.
“I think there was pinpoint focus at the most critical times,” Lovullo said.
After the game, Lovullo said he was proud of his team for their culture and resiliency. For refusing to roll over when they fell two games under .500. For overcoming a 0-9 start to the month of August.
There are 31 games remaining. The next six are against first-place teams — the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Baltimore Orioles. There are no guarantees as to what team you’ll see next.
But you can this much about our infuriating, exhilarating baseball team: There is no die in these Diamondbacks.
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