Amid skid, D-backs in 'the fight of our lives'

September 9th, 2021

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo didn't meet with his team after their 8-5 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon, but he did have a message that he wanted to convey.

The loss was the 10th in the last 11 games for the D-backs, who are on pace to finish 52-110, which would be the second-worst mark in franchise history behind the 2004 team that went 51-111.

"I don’t give a [darn] about pace," Lovullo said. "I just care about winning the ballgame the day after tomorrow. And that's all I got in my mind. It's all the coaches have on their mind. I'm sure it's the same thing about the players. You know, we're not here to set records, I can guarantee that."

What Lovullo does care about is how his team finishes off these last few weeks of the season.

"We're in a fight," he said. "We're in probably the fight of our lives. I don't think anybody in this clubhouse has been through this at any point in their career. So that's all we've got to do is just keep fighting. We’ve got to keep growing, keep learning."

With a 45-95 record and an announced crowd of just 6,354 at Chase Field, D-backs infielder Josh Rojas was asked if it was hard to play with energy under those conditions.

"Not for me it's not," Rojas said. "I think it all comes from within yourself, how you're going to get ready for a game and what you got to do. I think the biggest thing I noticed is that you can't say things as loud because it echoes throughout the stadium. Coming up playing in the Minor Leagues and playing in high school and playing in college, you played in front of your parents and that's about it. 

“So I don't have any problems getting myself going whether there's 20,000 people or 1,000 people. I approach each game [with intensity], and I'm sure there's a lot of guys in this clubhouse that approach the game the same way."

The D-backs finished up their homestand with a 1-7 mark and now embark on a nine-game, three-city road trip against three teams -- the Mariners, Dodgers and Astros -- that are squarely in the playoff picture.

In their previous homestand, the D-backs played well against contending teams, taking three of four from the Padres while sweeping the Phillies in a three-game series. That is something they enjoyed, but Rojas said they don't need it as motivation.

"I don't think anybody's showing up saying, 'All right, let's look for something to motivate us,'" he said. "This game is hard. Everybody here is here for a reason. And everybody got here because they worked their butt off and they care about the game. They care about how they play. Nobody wants to stink out there. And that's what motivates us every day and that's what motivates me every day is to go out there compete, not suck and win ballgames."