Diamondbacks reflect on series-loss to Braves, head up East to face Nationals
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Diamondbacks suffered one of their biggest blows of the season on Sunday, exiting the field in utter disappointment after Braves’ Eddie Rosario hit a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning, crushing the Snakes’ hopes of a series win against one of the league’s best teams.
Tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West at 35-25, a win on Sunday would’ve given them the division lead, as well as the best record in the National League. But nonetheless, the team’s record is reflected on how they’ve been able to bounce back from these tough losses. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, players and coaches instead look for the positives within the series to build on and improve.
“The outcome is painful, it hurts because we care so much,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “But I’m not going to let the outcome distract me from the good things that I saw.”
Miguel Castro surrendered the grand slam to Rosario on Sunday and received the loss. Prior to his ninth-inning implosion, Castro had been the D-backs’ best reliever with a 2.13 ERA in 25.1 innings.
He had shared closing duties with reliever Andrew Chafin all season long, which usually worked despite unusual hiccups like this. Castro hadn’t allowed a run in his last 11 games, crediting his overall improvement on a lessened workload compared to his time with previous teams.
“If you look back at his numbers with the Yankees and Baltimore and the Mets he was an abused pitcher quite a few times,” pitching coach Brent Strom said. “He always took the ball, even when he wasn’t feeling right. I think that affected his effectiveness.”
“I think when a person is tired, I don’t think velocity is the first thing to go, I think command and control is the first thing to go,” Strom added. “A guy can feel fatigued and still conjure up that feeling of getting enough velocity to get him out, but I think that command and being able to locate pitches is the biggest, I think that’s the thing that goes first.”
After a day off on Monday, the Diamondbacks are set to face the Washington Nationals as part of their six-game road trip, where they’ll take on the Detroit Tigers on the back half of the trip. Tommy Henry will take the mound on Tuesday for the Diamondbacks, facing off against the struggling Cole Irvin, whose ERA is a whopping 5.67.
Henry has been hot as of late, winning his last two starts against Philadelphia and Colorado. Over his last 14 innings, Henry has supported a 1.29 ERA with 12 strikeouts. Zach Davies and Merrill Kelly will take the mound in the final two games of the series before heading to Detroit. This road trip will allow the Diamondbacks to get back on their feet after the rough Braves series, and perhaps seize a sizable lead in the National League against these middling offenses.
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