"It's not good enough because we're not winning games and we're giving up big innings," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "So it isn't good enough, but the guys throwing the pitches are good enough. They just need to execute better, locate better, pitch selection better."
Zack Godley allowed four runs in six innings and the D-backs trailed by just one run entering the ninth, with the heart of the lineup due up in the bottom of the frame.
However, a recurring issue recently has been the bullpen's inability to keep games close. It's a mostly young, inexperienced group now that veterans Brad Ziegler and Tyler Clippard have been traded away. The relievers are not only trying to get better, but also potentially auditioning for roles on the club next season and beyond.
One of those guys is Jake Barrett, whom Hale has thrust into the closing role. Recently, the right-hander had been one of the few relievers faring well, as he entered Wednesday with a 0.84 ERA since June 29.
But after recording the first two outs of the ninth, Washington struck for four runs on two hits and three walks against Barrett to put the game out of reach. That included Barrett walking Pedro Severino with the bases loaded, the final batter he faced before getting pulled.
"You've just got to throw strikes and, obviously, not walk people, because walking people hurts you," Barrett said. "You've just got to forget about it, basically -- work on what you struggled with today and then work on it a little and forget about it once you get back on the mound."
The D-backs have lost 25 of their last 32 games and allowed a total of 46 runs over the past four days. In 31 prior games to Wednesday, Arizona starters had combined for a 6.11 ERA, while its bullpen posted a 7.13 ERA in that stretch.
"The guys throwing the pitches when we're struggling are good enough to get people out," Hale said. "We just need to keep working with them to make them better."
Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arizona.