PHOENIX — After an eight-game road trip that saw the Diamondbacks have a game postponed due to weather, sit through lengthy rain delays in St. Louis and Chicago and lose two more players to injury, a quiet and successful three-game home stand would have been welcome.
No such luck.
The D-backs’ brief stay at home for a series with the Giants was as eventful a weekend as any this season, if not more, and things don’t get any calmer with the D-backs headed to Los Angeles for a three-game series with the Dodgers.
“The road trip, where we are in the schedule, it’s just accumulating on us right now,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “But you’ve got to fight through it. We’re not the only team that has to go through this type of ordeal.”
There was as much happening off the field as there was on it, but as for results, there was plenty to be desired. The D-backs dropped the series after losing Sunday’s finale 6-2 behind a shaky outing from Tyler Skaggs. Despite losing two of three to the Giants, they still sit atop the NL West with a 1 1/2-game lead.
The disappointing finish was a far cry from the dramatic series opener that saw left-hander Patrick Corbin dominate in what was nearly a losing effort before first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, in his latest heroic performance, hit a three-run go-ahead homer.
“It’s fun any time you get the win, but any time you get a come-from-behind win like that in front of a great crowd, it’s even more fun,” Goldschmidt said.
As exciting of a night as it was, the D-backs couldn’t build on the momentum the rest of the weekend. Trevor Cahill’s eight-run meltdown Saturday was the latest reminder of how a vaunted starting rotation has, outside Corbin, flopped so far. Skaggs’ five-run effort Sunday was an improvement but still less than what the D-backs are looking for.
Meanwhile, the news off the field gave the D-backs some perspective. First, the team learned Friday that Daniel Hudson had re-torn his ulnar collateral ligament in a rehab start, likely meaning he’ll need another Tommy John surgery. Then came word late Saturday night that right-hander Brandon McCarthy, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, had a seizure last week as an after-effect of his head injury last season.
“Those both hit you really hard,” Gibson said. “It’s different than baseball, for sure.”
Gibson spoke at length more than once this weekend about perspective, particularly in terms of a single game and stretches. The D-backs have seen their share of hot streaks and rough patches but have so far remained even-keeled about both, perhaps the reason they remain in first place despite a slew of injuries and pitching woes.
“There’s some exciting times and there’s some down times if you let them happen,” Gibson said. “You’ve just got to kind of push ahead and stay fairly consistent with your approach every day, keep your perspective. When you win, you feel better; when you lose, you feel worse. The closer to neutral you can stay, the better.
“You win, you celebrate, you move on. You lose, you keep it in perspective, you move on.”
The D-backs will try to stick to that mentality as they head out for another six games on the road, where they are 18-14 this season. First up: Los Angeles and rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, who may yet light a fire under the last-place Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks take with them an NL West lead, but it’s a fragile one. With the starting pitching performing as it has and the offense — though it still hasn’t been shut out — encountering as many funks as it does hot streaks, the D-backs could find their trying times getting even tougher.
“We’ll get out of here and get back on the road, where we’ve been playing really good,” Gibson said. “We’ll turn it around.”