Punchless offense stifling D-backs' momentum
PHOENIX — Every time it looks like the Diamondbacks are poised to put together a streak, it seems that a maddeningly anemic offense comes along to suppress any momentum on which the team could capitalize.
Any momentum that might have carried over from a road trip that ended Sunday with the D-backs' third win in four games evaporated Monday when they failed to score a run, shut out for the first time this season at the hands of the surging Colorado Rockies.
"We didn't swing the bats well at all," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's been a trend, and I'm not sure what to tell you about it. You'd have to ask (the players) what they're thinking."
Rockies rookie Christian Friedrich pitched the best game of his major league career so far and won his third straight decision by holding the D-backs to six hits. The left-hander's final line might not have been so pretty had the D-backs made something of a number of opportunities, starting with a bases-loaded chance in the first inning.
The D-backs were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position Monday, failing to make anything of three doubles.
"It's not so much how many hits you get, it's how you cash in your opportunities," Gibson said. "You get a guy in scoring position and you pop one, or you get a guy on third and get him in. We didn't even do that tonight.
"You've got to score runs. We didn’t score any runs, so you know that's not good enough. You're never going to win if you don’t score."
With the loss, the D-backs find themselves nine games back of the Dodgers in the NL West and just a half-game ahead of the fourth-place Rockies. Though there's a lot of baseball left to play, and the NL West picture has been changing quickly. It's not a stretch to say the D-backs' season could be approaching a breaking point.
Having won back-to-back games, the D-backs returned home looking to get something going. Instead, they fell flat in their worst offensive game of the season. They have now won three straight games on just two occasions this season, the last such stretch coming from April 29-May 1, and never more than that.
While the underachieving offense has often been the primary culprit in the D-backs' struggle to put a win streak together, it's also been a matter of the hitters and pitchers struggling to stay in sync for more than a couple games. Monday saw Joe Saunders throw a solid game, with three runs allowed over 6 2/3 innings, while the offense looked lost.
The D-backs, from Gibson on down, know they haven't played to their abilities or expectations this season. They're quick to admit there is no one to blame but themselves -- and no one to right the ship but themselves.
"We've dug ourselves this hole, and we've got to try to dig ourselves out of it," Saunders said. "It's a matter of us being consistent in all aspects of the game."
By the nature of baseball's long season, another opportunity to start something significant comes Tuesday.
"We're trying to get on a roll," slugger Paul Goldschmidt said. "You don't have any other choice but to go out and play hard tomorrow."