PHOENIX -- The D-backs' postseason hopes officially ended Sunday when the Cardinals and Dodgers won. Not too long after, Arizona lost, 2-0, to the Rockies at Chase Field. But really, they seemed to disappear after a 3-2 defeat to the Dodgers on Aug. 31.The late-inning loss seemed to take the
PHOENIX -- The D-backs' postseason hopes officially ended Sunday when the Cardinals and Dodgers won. Not too long after, Arizona lost, 2-0, to the Rockies at Chase Field. But really, they seemed to disappear after a 3-2 defeat to the Dodgers on Aug. 31.
The late-inning loss seemed to take the life out of the D-backs and started them on a slide which has resulted in a 5-16 September.
"I know we have that little 'e' next to our name, and that hurts," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of the abbreviation the newspaper puts next to teams that have been eliminated. "That's painful. What I want to say to the fans of Arizona and this entire state, we did everything we could. We played as hard as we could and gave everything we could to want a better outcome. And it didn't happen."
Heading into that Aug. 31 game, the D-backs were in first place in the National League West and led the Rockies by 1 1/2 games. Their loss Sunday dropped them eight behind the Dodgers, who beat the Padres, with just six games left to play.
"I think the Dodgers series may have staggered us and we may have never fully recovered," Lovullo said of losing three of four in L.A. "There were a series of heart-wrenching losses after that. Those are hard for anybody to overcome. We were asking our guys to. They were giving all they could, and I think they just wore down. We couldn't fight through a couple of difficult circumstances when we needed to."
Kyle Freeland (16-7) kept the D-backs off the board through seven innings as he struck out six.
The D-backs did have their opportunities as they collected seven hits, but they stranded 10 runners.
"We had the right guys at the right time, the right situation, and it was looking very bright, but we could not get that big knock to close the gap or maybe even take the lead," Lovullo said.
Zack Godley (14-11) allowed a run in the third on Nolan Arenado's double and another in the fifth on Gerardo Parra's RBI single.
The D-backs open a three-game series with the Dodgers on Monday, and even though they are no longer in the postseason hunt, Lovullo wants to see his team prevent the Dodgers from clinching the division at Chase Field.
The visiting Dodgers celebrated their NL Division Series sweep over the D-backs last year, and that left a lasting impression on Lovullo.
"We should find some extra motivation," Lovullo said. "We should make it as hard on them as possible to do what they're trying to do. That'll be my message to the guys. I certainly don't want to see any team celebrate on our turf. I watched it last year, and it was painful. I don't want to watch it again. We'll make sure that we give everything that we have over the next several days."
D-backs players were left searching for answers as to why their season fell apart in the month of September.
"We had a lot of confidence from the first day of Spring Training that we could play well enough to make the playoffs and then make a run in them," first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. "Especially this last few weeks, just didn't play well enough. You think back on it and it just stinks. You want to play well, we just didn't play well enough."
The D-backs were in first place for 110 games this year and were tied for first as recently as Sept. 1.
"That's tough for us," Godley said of being eliminated. "Mainly because of the fact that we were in first place for so long in the season and we had such a good run throughout this season. It's tough to go through this stretch we have at this time and have this happen. We learn from it, we grow and we'll come back next year and revamp."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. made a nice running catch covering 74 feet to snag an Ian Desmond line drive to end the third inning. Per Statcast™ there was a 35-percent catch probability on the play.
Souza exited after the fourth inning. Lovullo said that Souza sustained a lower back spasm while taking a swing during his at-bat in the third.
HE SAID IT
"It's agonizing. Trust me. I'm hurting. I know that room is hurting." -- Lovullo
The D-backs open a three-game series with the Dodgers at 6:40 p.m. MST on Monday at Chase Field. Left-hander Robbie Ray (6-2, 3.92 ERA) will get the start for Arizona. Ray has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last nine starts and has a 3-0 record and 2.40 ERA over that span. The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.45).
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.