D-backs look to keep foot on the gas pedal after a bumpy series

April 24th, 2023

PHOENIX -- One of the toughest stretches of the D-backs’ season is finally over. While their 7-5 loss to the Padres on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field wasn’t the ideal ending, Arizona remains tied for first place in the NL West at 12-11.

During the 23-game stretch to open the season, the D-backs were slated with daunting tasks against some tough competition that included the Dodgers, Padres, Brewers and Cardinals.

“We’re showing the rest of the league that we’re a good baseball team," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

But, as Lovullo has mentioned in the past, the D-backs can’t let their foot off the gas pedal.

With a lighter load in the coming weeks -- which begins with the Royals coming into town for a three-game series and includes struggling teams like the Rockies and Nationals -- Lovullo said he is going to make sure his team doesn’t overlook any of their opponents.

“It's a dangerous thing to start thinking about who you're playing and what their record is because we respect every opponent that sits across the field from us,” Lovullo said. “If we start to look at them as a lesser-talented team, which they are not, we're going to be in trouble.

“I know the Kansas City Royals are coming in here and they've been grinding, but we're going to expect their absolute best. And we'll be ready for their best.

“I do not want to play down or up to the competition that we're playing. We play our game. We put it on us to take care of our business.”

The D-backs will need to play like they did in the final three innings Sunday against the Padres. and had back-to-back homers in the seventh inning and broke his 0-for-22 slump with a 412-foot homer in the eighth. Relievers José Ruiz and each provided a clean inning, in the eighth and ninth, respectively.

Lovullo knows that his team can be better. The D-backs finished the tough opening stretch by losing four of five games and left five runners on base in the series finale against the Padres.

“Maybe last year we started to show some tendencies and habits of being a good baseball team, [but] we're a good baseball team [this year],” Lovullo said. “We can't let things like that happen over a four-game series if we want to get to where we're going to.”

The start to the season is impressive -- even more so when taking into account that there are still questions about the D-backs’ rotation.

went only one inning Sunday and gave up three runs on three hits and three walks. He threw 43 pitches -- the second-most thrown in a single inning by any MLB pitcher this season.

“He's going to start to locate his fastball,” Lovullo said. “He'll get back to the drawing board. He's somebody that takes a challenge personally. Start spotting his fastball – that would be the most important thing for me right now.”

One troubled start is not going to jeopardize the rotation spot of Jameson, who transitioned from the bullpen after was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left oblique. Before Sunday, opponents were hitting .214 against Jameson after his first two starts of the season.

When Davies returns, Madison Bumgarner’s former spot in the rotation will be up for grabs. For now, will get his chance to fill that void on Monday. But, if Henry doesn’t capitalize, D-backs No. 3 prospect awaits his opportunity.