Precisely when the Arizona Diamondbacks were on the cusp of victory, they decided to rip out the hearts of their loyal fan base. Dropping the series opener to the Washington Nationals by a final of 6-5, the D-backs plunged themselves to a miserable 3-14 start at home at Chase Field.
Over the course of the last series in Chicago, the bullpen was deceptively effective. Maybe too much was taken from a small sample size.
Addison Reed has been the furthest thing from lights out this season—his ERA extenuates that point. Yet, he has managed to find just enough in the tank to save the game and not let it get away. Monday night was not one of those games.
On just the second pitch of the inning, Danny Espinosa hit a line drive home run into the right field bleachers for Reed’s second blown save of the season, tying the game. Three batters later, pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen also played long ball, trying the left field bleachers out for size as he walloped a Reed offering for a go-ahead ninth-inning home run.
Before Reed went haywire, the trio of Randall Delgado, Evan Marshall and Brad Ziegler neutralized any and all Nationals threats for innings 6-8. This was a byproduct of the mediocre start by Josh Collmenter, who only went five innings while allowing four earned runs. While Collmenter has proven himself serviceable, his time as a lab experiment starter may be running out.
Three consecutive run-scoring hits with two outs in the third inning staked the D-backs to a 3-2 lead after three. The lethal trio of Martin Prado, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero took care of the heavy lifting against Nationals’ starter Jordan Zimmermann.
Trailing entering the sixth inning, Aaron Hill led off with a double, and then a batter later, A.J. Pollock went into the pool area with his fourth home run of the season. From there, it was a test of bullpens.
Although, without their defense, the game may have been given away long before Reed appeared.
In the seventh, with runners at second and third and two outs, Chris Owings backhanded a ball in the hole and made a brilliant one-hop throw on the money to Goldschmidt, retiring the side and dodging a glancing meteor. Not only did the lead escape, but also Marshall’s ERA remains unblemished in the big leagues.
The very first play of the eighth inning was the best all night, with Aaron Hill showing off his horizontal leaping ability by snaring a ball destined for center field after going full extension. The web gem kept the inning clean for Ziegler who then fanned the remaining two hitters with wiffleball-like sliders.
Tuesday night brings hope of another game, but also the dark possibility of defeat. Bronson Arroyo trots the hill for the Diamondbacks, but his opponent is still the most ballyhooed pitcher in the game, Stephen Strasburg. When on top of his game, Strasburg is a force unlike any other.
The game will get underway at 6:40 p.m., hopefully resembling a pitcher’s duel.