'Smarter at-bats' needed for D-backs to find consistency

June 30th, 2022

PHOENIX -- If the D-backs needed a reminder that there are no carryovers from one day to the next in baseball, they got one in Wednesday afternoon's 4-0 loss to the Padres at Chase Field.

The loss came on the heels of a seven-run outburst Tuesday night and an 11-run effort against the Tigers on Sunday.

“I think that's the name of the game, right?" D-backs third baseman Josh Rojas said. "You don't get to carry over what you did yesterday into the next day. You've got to find a way to repeat what you did. Or if it's a day like today, you have to go out and flush everything. That's why you play 162 of them. It's a constant battle, and you don't get to carry over what you did one day into the next."

The D-backs managed just one hit and one walk off Mike Clevinger in his six innings of work. They got two hits and one walk off reliever Nick Martinez, who threw the final three innings.

"It was just one of those days we couldn't really get anything going," Rojas said. "I don't know what to attribute that to. I know I just was sitting on pitches and didn't get them. One at-bat I tried to do a little too much and just missed it. I just think that was the theme throughout the day across the lineup -- not getting the pitch you're looking for or trying to do a little too much. It's hard to pinpoint one thing with nine guys at the plate. I just think it was one of those days we struggled to get something going, and it definitely showed."

The D-backs split the short series with the Padres, the first two in a stretch of 18 straight games against three of their four National League West opponents. If they have any hope of keeping an NL Wild Card berth alive, they will have to find a way to reverse their struggles within the division.

So far this year, Arizona is just 6-17 against the NL West.

In order to do that, the offense will need to find a way to be consistent, and while Rojas wasn't sure what to attribute the struggles to, manager Torey Lovullo has a pretty good idea.

For him, it comes down to how his hitters approach each at-bat.

"Hitting is hard and I want to acknowledge that," Lovullo said. "But we’ve got to be stubborn to our approach and have smarter at-bats."

Lovullo would like to see his players not chase pitches out of the zone as often as they have been and force a pitcher to make a mistake over the plate.

That approach helped the D-backs take advantage of two walks and two hit-by-pitches as part of a two-run eighth inning Tuesday against the Padres, tying a game they eventually won.

"They spoil us when they do it right," Lovullo said. "It's simple, it's easy, it's approach-based, the results are there. And then we have games like this. We just have to keep pounding away our message about line drives and using the middle of the diamond. I just feel like we need to have smarter at-bats overall."