Bradley hiccups as NL West race tightens up

Souza hits his third jack of the season in loss

August 5th, 2018

PHOENIX -- As the postseason race heats up, the D-backs find themselves in a congested race both for the National League West and the NL Wild Card.
Following their 3-2 loss to the Giants on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field, the D-backs are tied with the Dodgers for first place, two games ahead of the Rockies and five ahead of the Giants.
In the Wild Card chase, the D-backs are one-half game behind the Braves for the second spot.

The bullpen let them down Sunday as setup man gave up a homer to in the eighth inning that proved to be the difference.

"That's the beauty or the terrible part about this game is that it can be one pitch and I just made a bad one," Bradley said. "All in all I thought the outing, I felt like I threw the ball great, but that's what matters is one pitch. To guys like him you make a mistake sometimes they miss it but usually they don't. That was one he didn't miss."
With such a tight bunching in the standings, the D-backs could use a prolonged winning streak like the 13-game one they had last year from Aug. 24 to Sept. 6 that all but wrapped up the Wild Card slot.
"We're just trying to click," Bradley said. "Whether it be the back end of the pen, the middle of the lineup, whatever it is, we're just trying to find whatever it is to be consistent. To roll out every day and kind of expect the same level of play. Effort is there and everyone is doing the same thing. We just have to find a way to really click and find that balance and get going."
Since raising their record to 47-34 on June 28, the D-backs have gone 15-17, good enough to be in the race, but not good enough to jump ahead. The longest winning streak they've had this year is five games.
"It's not that we're playing bad," Bradley said. "It's not like we're playing super good. But we're just kind of hovering in the middle game to game -- good, bad, good, bad -- and I'm hoping kind of like we did last year, I hope we find something this August and hit a stretch and we can just go. Because guys are getting healthy, guys are understanding things, we're starting to feel like we just have to go."

The D-backs schedule gets tougher toward the end of August. Of their final 35 games, 30 are against teams that currently have winning records. The other division teams in the race face a similar slate with plenty of head-to-head matchups.
"Whichever team can kind of avoid dropping two or three or four in a row while the other team goes and wins four out of five or something like that," Bradley said. "That's going to be the key factor. I think you look at everyone's schedule and it all kind of plays out the same. We're all playing each other, we're playing tough opponents. So, it's about just trying to find a way that when you hit those [losing] stretches you keep that at one or two games."
Left 'em loaded: The D-backs looked to be in business to, at worst, tie the game if not go ahead when they loaded the bases in the eighth inning with two outs and at the plate. Giants right-hander Sam Dyson and Marte battled for six pitches before Marte lined out to center to end the threat.

"The thing that I always aim for is building the innings and having the right guys come up," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "When you get that opportunity they're going to come through sometimes and sometimes they're not."
D-backs starter Robbie Ray opened his postgame media session with a statement.
"Before we get started, I'd like to thank a little boy in the stands," Ray said. "His name was Nolan."
Turns out when Ray was playing long toss prior to the game one of his throws sailed on him and hit Nolan in the head.
"He took it like a warrior, shrugged it off," Ray said. "If he wouldn't have been all right I don't know how I would have gone out there and pitch today so big thanks to him."
Ray allowed two runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"Longoria hits a solo home run and there's some frustration obviously because we felt like that was a game we were going to win."
-- Lovullo
The D-backs open a three-game series with the Phillies on Monday night with (12-6, 4.46 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander had his finest outing of the year in his last start as he matched a career high with 10 strikeouts over seven shutout innings against the Rangers. The Phillies will counter with right-hander (9-6, 3.32).