D-backs’ season of frustration continues with 3-game sweep by Phillies

PHOENIX — With Wednesday’s 9-8, 10-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase field, the Diamondbacks hit the halfway point of their season with a 36-45 record.

It was their fifth loss in a row, it capped a three-game sweep at the hands of a Phillies team that had won 6 of 31 prior to arriving in Phoenix, and it sunk the D-backs’ home record to 13-28.

At the midpoint a year ago, a Diamondbacks team that was predicted to be among the worst in the league was at 40-41. This year’s team was expected to be of playoff caliber after some gutsy off-season moves to bolster the pitching staff, so as might be expected, there’s not a lot of joy circulating the Diamondbacks clubhouse these days.

What you also won’t find is a white flag.

"I think if you ask everybody that question, we’re pretty disappointed on how the first 81 games have gone," said reliever Daniel Hudson, whose recent struggles continued Monday when he was charged with four runs in the eighth inning, turning a 7-3 lead into an 8-7 deficit. "But there’s still a lot of baseball to be played left, so hopefully we can get in turned around quick and go on a little bit of a run and put some pressure on some other teams."

Manager Chip Hale is trying to keep the focus on the same big-picture perspective as the players in the clubhouse.

"Eighty-one games is a lot of games," he said. "A lot of teams have been in the same spot we’re in and ended up winning the division and wild cards and World Series But we have to play better, there’s no doubt about it.

"We’re not saying, ‘hey look at those teams, they did it. We can do it.’ Of course that’s the hope, but you have to do something about it. Health, getting some guys back that are everyday guys, and just playing better baseball."

The D-backs got a solid effort from starting pitcher Archie Bradley on Wednesday after a rough start. He gave up a walk and a home run to the first two Phillies batters in the first inning then got settled in and pitched through the sixth. He gave up eight hits, three runs, just the one walk and left with a 4-3 lead — much of it courtesy of a three-run Jake Lamb blast in the first inning.

Tyler Clippard gave up the tying run in the seventh, but the D-backs put up three in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring single by Phil Gosselin and a two-run double by Paul Goldschmidt.

The wheels fell of the in the eighth as Hudson, Andrew Chafin and Jake Barrett couldn’t put out the fire.

Hudson retired the first batter he faced, then gave up four consecutive singles, including two of the broken-bat variety. Chafin got Odubel Herrera to hit a ground ball to third baseman Jake Lamb, who was unable to come up with the hard-hit ball for his fifth error in the last seven games, allowing the tying run to score. Barrett gave up a walk to load the bases and a sacrifice fly to Cody Asche to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead.

The D-backs tied it by playing small ball in the bottom of the inning. Nick Ahmed reached on an infield hit, stole second, went to third on a wild pitching and scored on another infield hit by Jean Segura. But they squandered a two-on, no-out opportunity in the bottom of the ninth and came out on the losing end in the 10th when the Phillies used a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Tyler Goeddel to score the winning run off Silvino Bracho (0-2).

This was the second consecutive bullpen breakdown for the D-backs. On Tuesday night, closer Brad Ziegler gave up the tying and winning runs in the ninth. On Wednesday, the downfall began with Hudson, whose ERA has gone from 1.55 to 3.82 over his last four outings.

In those four appearances, he’s faced 17 batters and given up 10 hits, two walks and 10 runs (eight earned) while getting just five outs.

Phillies 9, D-backs 8

"It’s a slump," Hale said, indicating no intention of removing Hudson from the eighth-inning role. "He’s had a few bad outings in a row.

"His velocity’s still good, his arm’s sound. You’ve just got to pitch through it.

"We’re going to stick with him. He’s one of our best guys down there and just right now, it’s not working out. They had a few cheap ones today, broken bats, it’s just the way it goes. You’ve got to keep fighting."

Goldschmidt said despite the frustation, there’s been no loss of confidence in the clubhouse.

"Not at all," he said. "No matter what’s been going on, the guys have been working hard, come and play hard every day. That’ll be the last thing to worry about with this group.

"We’d really like to win some more games, but that’s how it goes, you can’t change it. Just try to get better and get some wins. Just play a little more consistent."