D-backs wrap up regular season getting swept by Astros, enter postseason

Oct 1, 2023, 6:33 PM

Manager Torey Lovullo...

Manager Torey Lovullo (L) #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks with umpires Todd Tichenor #13 (C) and Alex Tosi #66 during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Chase Field on October 01, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks closed out the 2023 regular season with an 8-1 loss against the Houston Astros on Sunday at Chase Field.

Arizona rested most of its starting lineup after clinching a postseason spot on Saturday, and Sunday’s result confirmed a wild card round date with the Milwaukee Brewers starting Tuesday.

The D-backs were swept by the Astros after a pair of tight, defensive battles to open the series. Arizona scored two runs on 15 hits in three games, although the offensive malaise goes back five contests.

They’ve scored six runs on 22 hits in that span to end the year after a 15-4 onslaught against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

“These three games, I feel like offensively we had some little spurts, we had moments of those mature at-bats that I was talking about,” manager Torey Lovullo said.

“When you look at the full body of work and you only score a couple runs for the past 27 innings, I feel like we got to lock it down. The hitting coaches will continue to get their messages out and make sure that their hitters are as ready as they can possibly be.”

Lovullo felt he saw anxious at-bats early in the series and wants to see more mature approaches.

The D-backs’ offense has gone through waves throughout the season. They scored 64 runs in 10 games before their current losing streak and 16 runs over the previous seven games.

Outfielder Tommy Pham said the playoffs highlight pitching and defense, and the first two games of the Astros series were a showcase in both. They brought a playoff-like atmosphere with announced attendances in the mid 30,000s and high-leverage moments.

Arizona starters Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly combined for 13.1 innings and three earned runs, yet they were outdone by Houston duo Jose Urquidy and Justin Verlander (11 innings, no runs).

The D-backs failed to record the big hit needed to overcome the defending World Series champions, finishing the series 1-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

D-backs season finale

Sunday’s game was different than the previous two in feel and execution. The Astros were playing to win the AL West, and the D-backs were getting backups some work before finalizing postseason rosters.

Arizona’s defense was sloppier, highlighted by a little league home run in the fifth inning. Right fielder Jake McCarthy jumped after coming in on the ball hit by Houston’s Kyle Tucker, and it sailed over his head.

Tucker reached third base when 21-year-old shortstop Jordan Lawlar had the ball in his hand, but the veteran took off for home when the rookie was just about to loft the ball to the pitcher’s mound.

The ordeal was initially scored a triple with an error, then a triple with a fielder’s choice, then a home run and back to a triple.

“This is a great moment for Jordan to learn,” Lovullo said. “You turn, you drive your throw into the cut-off man. That stops everything. His choice was to run the ball in. Once you running the ball in, you make sure that you secure the runner and he stopped and is heading back.”

D-backs starter Kyle Nelson allowed two runs on two pitches after third baseman Alex Bregman went yard. Two more runs scored in the first inning after a throwing error by first baseman Emmanuel Rivera that Lawlar tried to stretch for at second base instead of coming off the bag.

It was not a great day in any facet of the game, minus a two-hit performance by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

“It’s a clean slate, just have to throw all that away from this past series,” outfielder Alek Thomas said. “Get going here with an open mind, clear mind. It’s gonna be fun.”

First pitch between the D-backs and Brewers on Tuesday is at 4:08 p.m.

Arizona has not named a starting pitcher for Game 1.

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