PHOENIX — Call it the curious case of Zack Godley.
While the pitcher has shown flashes over his career of what he can bring to the table for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Godley has struggled mightily in 2019.
After being demoted from a starter to the bullpen, and then used as an opener, Saturday’s 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants provided the latest of the Godley conundrum.
And not in good way.
From the start, the Giants had Godley on the ropes with back-to-back singles off the first two batters he faced. It didn’t take long for San Francisco’s first run of the game to come across the plate as Godley’s pitch count quickly began to soar.
While he was able to get out of the inning with minimal damage — two Giants were left on base — he headed to the dugout with 30 pitches already thrown and down 1-0.
To Godley’s credit, however, he dug in during the second inning. Looking like a different pitcher, Godley nearly struck out the side, using just 13 pitches to keep the score manageable.
The bad news? That would be his lone scoreless inning.
“I think the biggest thing for me tonight was being able to put guys away,” Godley said after the loss. “I think everything else was right where I wanted it to be. … [the Giants] ended up getting some balls to fall and getting some balls to get in some holes. And on top of that, just the foul balls. They ended up running the pitch count up.”
The flood gates opened up in the third inning as Godley regressed back to his first-inning self.
After walking Joe Panik, Steven Duggar needed just two pitches to bring in the second baseman. Buster Posey took advantage of the situation on the next at-bat, bringing in Duggar with an RBI single. Posey would later cross the plate off of a Brandon Crawford sac fly.
And just like that, it was 4-0 Giants and the subsequent end of Godley’s night.
“It’s hard to pitch when you’re falling behind,” catcher Carson Kelly said after the game. “That’s the case tonight. We went over the plate when we were falling behind and sometimes it doesn’t work out like that.”
In just 3.1 innings of work, the pitcher tossed 73 pitches (54 in the first and third combined), allowing six hits, four earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts.
What a difference a year can make.
Firmly solidified in the starting rotation in 2018, Godley posted a 15-11 record (32 starts), which tied ace Zack Greinke (33 starts) for total wins on the team, to go along with a 4.74 ERA.
Fast forward to Saturday night and Godley now sits at 1-4 on the season with a 7.90 ERA.
“We’ll probably sit down and talk about it as soon as we possibly can,” Lovullo said of the final rotation spot after Godley’s performance. “Try to turn the page as quickly as we possibly can tonight on the day and come back maybe tomorrow with a little less emotion and sleep on it.
“[We’ll] try to get the guys together tomorrow and see what their thoughts and make the best decision moving forward.”
The D-backs offense wasn’t necessarily firing on all cylinders either.
After putting up seven runs on Friday, Arizona’s bats were relatively quiet for most of Saturday night.
Part of that was due to Madison Bumgarner and the lack of David Peralta (trap injury) in the starting lineup.
Aside from allowing four runs to cross the plate, Bumgarner had his stuff working early on as it was a 6-2 game through the sixth inning.
But the Arizona bats woke up in the seventh as the D-backs tagged the pitcher for two more runs, effectively ending his night and cutting the deficit to 6-4.
The combination of Adam Jones and Eduardo Escobar did the most damage for Arizona. The two combined for two hits, including an Escobar home run, and three RBI. Carson Kelly also added a solo homer in the ninth inning.
As a team, however, Arizona mustered just six hits, and left six batters on base.
There was a missing piece to the puzzle in Peralta, who’s been a catalyst for the D-backs this year.
Entering play Saturday, the outfielder led the D-backs in hits (58), doubles (16), and batting average (.319). He’s also tied for second in RBI (30) and fifth in home runs with seven.
Luckily for the D-backs, Peralta shouldn’t be out of the lineup for long as the outfielder was held out of Saturday’s action in an attempt to have him ready for Sunday.
The D-backs will look to take home the series win over the Giants on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.