With his starting pitcher at over 100 pitches on Tuesday evening, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo elected to keep Merrill Kelly in a 2-2 game for the bottom of the seventh against Colorado.
The decision for Lovullo came after a seven-pitch at-bat to Rockies center fielder Ian Desmond that ended with Desmond taking pitch No. 101 by Kelly to center for a single.
The call to pull Kelly arguably should have come six innings and 87 pitches in for the starter, but Desmond’s single was surely the signal for the end of his night.
Alas, Lovullo kept Kelly in to face former D-back Chris Iannetta, and the catcher’s two-run homer on pitch No. 104 for Kelly was the difference in a 6-2 D-backs loss.
Lovullo after the game said he had a tired bullpen and believed in Kelly for the spot.
“I felt like he was in command of the baseball game,” Lovullo said.
“I’ll never put a starting pitcher in a situation where I don’t think he will be in the best possible situation,” he said.
Yoan Lopez threw a full inning in Monday’s loss while Yoshihisa Hirano (0.2 IP), Archie Bradley (0.1 IP), Matt Andriese (1.0 IP) and Andrew Chafin (one batter faced) all made appearances as well.
Kelly exited after that long ball and new addition Stefan Crichton ended the seventh.
Struggling right-hander Bradley entered at that point for the eighth inning. Bradley walked the bases loaded before Colorado second baseman Ryan McMahon brought home two of those runners with a double, effectively ending the game at a four-run difference heading into the ninth.
“He wasn’t commanding the baseball,” Lovullo said of Bradley.
Eduardo Escobar’s solo homer in the third and RBI single in the fifth were responsible for Arizona’s lone two runs.
The D-backs have lost seven of their last 10 games. They are back in action on Wednesday when Robbie Ray takes the mound at 5:40 p.m. in Colorado on ESPN 620 AM.