'Trying to be better': Frustration mounting for Montgomery

June 6th, 2024

PHOENIX -- As he exited the field with six runs having scored and still no one out in the third inning, left-hander heard boos from D-backs fans, who were frustrated with his outing.

Their frustration, though, can’t come close to what Montgomery has been feeling -- not just on the days when things haven’t gone well on the field -- but also the days in between.

“You just feel like a piece of crap every day you show up,” Montgomery said. “Baseball's definitely got me in the furnace right now.”

It was a day of frustration for Montgomery’s teammates, as well, as they struggled to come up with the big hit in a 9-3 loss to the Giants at Chase Field on Wednesday afternoon that snapped their four-game winning streak.

The four-game streak had matched the D-backs' longest on the season, which has been marked by stops and starts as they try to find their way back to the form they displayed last year.

It’s much the same for Montgomery, who was a Trade Deadline acquisition for the Rangers last year and helped pitch Texas to a World Series victory over the D-backs.

“Four-game winning streak and I feel like every time I go out there, we lose,” Montgomery said. “Just trying to be better.”

Montgomery was a free agent following the World Series and he remained unsigned until the D-backs inked him the day after the season started to a one-year deal with a vesting player option for 2025.

After spending almost three weeks in the Minor Leagues, the 31-year-old dazzled in his first start for the D-backs against the Giants, when he allowed just one run over six innings. In fact, three of his first six starts qualified as quality starts even though he didn’t feel they were as good as they could have been.

In a May 25 start against the Marlins, Montgomery allowed two runs over six innings and thought he had finally turned the corner.

Instead, it seems like he hit a brick wall, because he then allowed eight runs against the Mets on May 31 and another six against the Giants.

“Another stinker,” Montgomery said. “There's way more negatives than positives right now. So it's hard to see any positives right now.”

Montgomery wiggled out of a first-and-second jam in the first, which D-backs manager Torey Lovullo thought was a good sign.

But as the Giants put one good at-bat after another against him in the third and the inning started spiraling, Lovullo felt he had to make a change.

“I know that he's gonna figure this out, and we're gonna continue to coach him up and push him in the right direction,” Lovullo said. “That's all we know how to do here. I could see that he was really frustrated and nothing seemed to be going the way he wanted it to. And getting into that mindset, it’s tough to execute and to keep going.”

It wasn’t all on Montgomery, though, as D-backs pitchers combined to walk 10 batters and allow 14 hits. The offense, meanwhile, went just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

“We got to do better,” Lovullo said. “That was a long day. I know this game can be hard, but the name of the game is execution and we’ve got to be able to throw far fewer pitches than that.”