PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo walked into the press conference room at Chase Field, and noticed immediately the sparse group of a few reporters. Just hours earlier, the room was full of media for the skipper’s pre-game remarks.
“You lose a game 8-1, everybody like gets out of Dodge,” he joked.
Kidding aside, the manager acknowledged that it was that kind of night for his team; Arizona was right in it until a bumpy sixth inning for the Rockies derailed what had been a one-run game. But that, combined with going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and only one extra-base hit all night, led to an 8-1 D-backs loss on Tuesday night to start a nine-game homestand.
“We never really got anything moving offensively,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
“It’s the name of the game. You’ve got to give their pitcher some credit. But I think the early-count swings, the early-count outs, those are things we’ve got to focus on.”
The Rockies had led 2-0 because of a Nolan Arenado home run in the first inning, but starter Merrill Kelly had otherwise put up zeros. That was until the sixth inning, when a single, double, catcher’s interference, double and wild pitch became a four-run inning for Colorado and made it 6-1.
“I just think some missed locations, maybe falling into some patterns,” Kelly said of his sixth. “I maybe went to the cutter a little bit more than I should, especially because tonight it wasn’t as sharp as it normally is. I think if I make better locations with those pitches, I think the damage is minimal, not as much as it was.”
Colorado tacked on two more in seventh off of T.J. McFarland.
Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela went 6.2 innings, allowing one run on seven hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
“I think he was effective with his fastball. He had a lot of life,” Lovullo said of Senzatela. “I think there was some short, sharp secondary stuff when he needed to get to it, and we’ve seen that in segments in Senzatela. It seemed like he put a lot together. And then he was pitching with a comfortable lead for couple of innings.”
Kelly went six innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits, no walks and five punchouts. The D-backs starter’s ERA moved from 3.73 to 3.99 on the season, his first in the major leagues.
Arizona has now dropped three of its last four games.
The D-backs are now 38-36 on the season and 18-23 against teams over .500. They approach a key benchmark in the season, the All-Star break, but before that will play 17 games, all within the division. Seven of those games are against the last-place Giants. Five are against the Dodgers, and the rest are against the Rockies.
They’ll try to navigate that terrain also with a question mark in their rotation, as Lovullo said Tuesday that the team hasn’t reached a conclusion on what they’ll do with the fifth starter’s spot, which is currently vacant. That spot is slated to come up twice before the All-Star break, both against San Francisco.