DAN BICKLEY

Diamondbacks turn in Game 3 clunker in home loss to Rangers

Oct 30, 2023, 8:59 PM | Updated: 10:37 pm

There are nights when the Diamondbacks remind us of their limitations. When there is no margin for error. When there is no answering back.

They picked a bad time to show us their bad side.

The Diamondbacks lost a World Series game at Chase Field for the first time in franchise history, falling 3-1 to the Rangers on Monday. And it was a clunker.

There was a baserunning mishap that killed an inning and ruined the mood. There was a meatball served up to Corey Seager, a slugger who leaves no crumbs. And there was a home plate umpire who made you long for robots.

The adjudication of balls and strikes has been exceptionally bad throughout the postseason, and no team has been immune. But when a blatant mistake from Alfonso Marquez cost the Diamondbacks a leadoff walk in the ninth inning, preventing the tying run from coming to the plate and resulting in a groundball out on the following pitch, there should be ramifications and accountability. No umpire that bad should be allowed on a stage of this magnitude.

After the game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo chose diplomacy and bit his tongue. But you could feel the frustration oozing out of him in the interview room, and he admitted he might destroy his office when he returned to the clubhouse.

“There were some calls that didn’t go our way today,” Lovullo said. “Was that the difference in the game? I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

In the end, the Diamondbacks lost a baseball game that felt more lopsided than the final score. They lost home-field advantage, which has been mostly overrated in the 2023 postseason. By way of example, the Diamondbacks won the final two games in Philadelphia and the Rangers haven’t lost a road game this postseason.

They lost a chance to win a World Series in Arizona.

The game turned early, after Christian Walker was thrown out at home in the second inning. Lovullo chose to cover for his third base coach and squarely put the blame on Walker, but Tony Perezchica emphatically waved Walker around, only to change his mind.

By then, it was too late.

It was a huge momentum shift. Moments earlier, the crowd had given Walker a standing ovation, the result of an organic movement that caught fire on social media. It was designed to encourage and support the struggling first baseman, and it worked. Walker blasted a double to the wall, and the stadium was ready to erupt.

Instead, disaster.

“I feel like that was a huge momentum swing,” Lovullo said.

Said Walker: “I had my head down trying to make a right turn around third … the last time I looked at him, he was waving and I never saw the stop sign.”

We know the Diamondbacks will bounce back. They are a resilient bunch that knows how to take a punch. But this was a massive disappointment.

The Valley was juiced entering Game 3. The crowd arrived early, so thick there was pre-game gridlock on the main concourse. They were favored for the first time in 15 playoff appearances, and their fan base was a powder keg waiting to explode. Somehow, the Diamondbacks forgot the matches.

One fan in left field even broke out a voodoo doll, holding it up every time a Rangers hitter was at home plate. Nothing worked. It was one of those maddening nights when our baseball team couldn’t find the ignition switch or a lucky break.

One of those nights when our baseball team went pfft. Hopefully for the last time.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6-10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.

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