3 takeaways from the D-backs' 4-6 homestand

May 20th, 2019

PHOENIX -- The D-backs thought they had this one in the bag.

When the ball left Adam Jones’ bat with two outs in the ninth, it seemed destined for left field, which would have allowed Nick Ahmed to trot home with the winning run.

Instead, Brandon Crawford made a diving stop on the left-field grass and just nipped Jones at first, which set the stage for Pablo Sandoval to hit what proved to be the game-winning homer in the 10th as the Giants beat the D-backs, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

“We had an opportunity to win the game, but this is the big leagues and great players like that make great plays at the right time,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

The D-backs finished their 10-game homestand with a 4-6 mark. They dropped three of four to the Braves and two of three to the Giants. In between, they took two of three from the Pirates.

“It wasn’t a great homestand,” Lovullo said. “I feel like you’ve got to protect your home field, you’ve got to protect your home turf a little bit. We didn’t do that very well this homestand.”

Here’s a look at three key takeaways from the homestand:

The D-backs need to get their bullpen in order

The issues with the bullpen began when it was taxed on the last road trip in Denver and Tampa and re-emerged toward the end of the homestand after ’s short start.

That has led to an all-hands-on-deck approach as opposed to Lovullo being able to strategically use his relievers.

The D-backs need to get setup man back on track. When Bradley is at his best, he is a lockdown eighth-inning guy who can deliver a lead to closer Greg Holland.

With Bradley struggling, the D-backs relied even more on , but he, too, has struggled, giving up the homer to Sandoval on Sunday.

On the plus side, Yoan Lopez has performed well and figures to get the high-leverage situations that used to go to Bradley. And, after giving up a run in three straight outings, closer Greg Holland seems to be back on track.

“You can see how I’m trying to structure some things,” Lovullo said.

They need to find some stability with the final spot in the rotation

Godley’s spot in the rotation has been in flux all month and the D-backs need to figure out how to handle it going forward.

They have options.

They could stick with Godley, or they could recall right-hander Taylor Clarke, who was impressive in his one start earlier this month against the Rays.

Jon Duplantier, the organization’s top pitching prospect per MLB Pipeline, could be an option at some point, but he’s still not stretched out enough as a starter. He’ll need to do that before they can consider him for the rotation.

As of Sunday, Lovullo said the team had not made a decision yet on which direction to go.

They need a little more consistency on offense

It’s hard to find fault with the D-backs hitters this year. They entered Sunday’s game behind only the Dodgers in terms of runs scored in the National League.

However, consistency has at times eluded them.

They struggled in the Braves series with runners in scoring position and then Sunday they scored two runs in the fourth and then got just one hit over the next six innings.

“I feel like there’s times where we have some early-count outs and we don’t grind out some at-bats,” Lovullo said. “It’s a fatiguing game and I know it was a day game today, but I think that we should’ve been a little more efficient from an offensive standpoint today.”

The D-backs now take to the road for 10 games to face division foes San Diego (three games), San Francisco (three) and Colorado (four), and they are 14-9 away from Chase Field.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to turn the page, get on that plane for San Diego and be ready for a very, very good San Diego Padre team,” Lovullo said.