Another series, another loss for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Falling to the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 in the rubber match, the D-backs record drops to a miserable 8-20.
In a contest that was dominated by pitching, the Arizona offense was stuck in a perpetual state of neutral. They collected six hits, but none was of the timely or strung together value.
For the first time on the season, Brandon McCarthy pitched up to his contractual numbers. Dominating the contest with a darting two-seam fastball, McCarthy rang up a season-high 12 strikeouts over his seven innings of work.
Things went awry from the start, as Ben Revere swiped second off Miguel Montero before most fans could comfortably reach their seats. Chase Utley could not have placed his fly ball any better, as Cody Ross and A.J. Pollock converged, just to watch the ball drop down in front of them. It was a long distance for either man to travel, but the ball was in the air for the taking.
In the bottom of the third, it would become the only time all afternoon that the D-backs would string consecutive hits together. Pollock and Chris Owings started the frame with two rocket-shot singles to begin a rally. Unfortunately, Brandon McCarthy neutralized the rally after a poor bunt attempt that saw Pollock forced out at third. Just a batter later, Gerardo Parra bounced into the inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Heading into the 2009 season, A.J. Burnett was a prized member of the New York Yankees sweep of free agency in their quest of another championship. Ironically enough, the team they beat that season was the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Sunday afternoon, he added his name to the long list of pitchers that have had their way with Diamondbacks hitters so far in 2014. For the length of his entire career, his curveball has always been downright impossible to hit, due to the fact that is has batters waving at it as it bounces by. Appearing like one of his heavy two-seam fastballs, his breaking pitch darts straight into the dirt around home plate.
Burnett threw 102 pitches in his eight innings of work and could have easily gone the distance. Striking out eight and only allowing five hits, Burnett was untouchable for most of the contest.
Coming in to slam the door was Jonathan Papelbon.
The inning could have really gotten going, had defensive replacement at third base Freddy Galvis, not snared Paul Goldschmidt’s lined smash that lead off the inning. On the throw over to first, Ryan Howard made an impressive scoop to keep the Diamondback off the basepaths.
Immediately following that web gem, Miguel Montero singled in to right field to bring the tying run to the plate. Both Aaron Hill and Cody Ross failed to come through, as the Phillies escaped the desert with a series win.
Once again, it was the errors dragging down the D-backs. In the top of the sixth, Chris Owings attempted to make a spectacular play by nabbing Chase Utley as he headed towards third base. Instead, the ball caromed off Utley’s back and down the left field line, allowing him to score. Had Owings’ simple eaten the ball, the following batter, Domonic Brown, bounced a ball directly to the shortstop for what would have been a tailor-made double play. (Of course, the point is moot if the Diamondbacks neglect to score a run.)
The beginning of a new week brings a matchup with the divisional foe Colorado Rockies. Posting a nauseating 2-13 home record, the Diamondbacks look to get back to some form of winning baseball when they send Wade Miley to the hill at 6:40 p.m. Monday night. Colorado answers with Franklin Morales, a pitcher susceptible to right-handed heavy lineups.
While attempting to finish April on a strong note, the D-backs are just looking to not be booed off their own field.