PHOENIX -- When the wins come in bunches and the breaks go your way, it is easy to show up to the ballpark in a good mood.
But when you’re the Arizona Diamondbacks right now and you’ve lost five straight after dropping an 11-5 decision to the last-place Giants to fall a game under .500, well, it’s a little more challenging.
“Streaks like this are what make you tough,” Arizona veteran outfielder Adam Jones said. “When we win five straight, it’s easy to come into the clubhouse smiling and all that stuff. When you lose five straight, how do you react to it? I think we’ve got a great group of guys in here who understand their roles in this game. The other team ain’t going to take it easy on you.”
The D-backs have been at this same precipice as recently as two weeks ago, when they lost the first two games of a home series against the Dodgers to fall to 30-32.
Trailing the next day, the D-backs managed to win in 11 innings and parlayed that into a 7-3 East Coast road trip that had them brimming with confidence heading home.
Then came a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rockies and a disappointing showing Friday.
Their starting rotation, a strength of the team for the past two seasons and for the first part of this one, has seemingly sprung a leak. Injuries and ineffectiveness left them trying to plug two spots with a pair of rookies in Jon Duplantier and Taylor Clarke.
Then Duplantier got hurt and Clarke’s last three starts have not been good, including Friday when he allowed the Giants to jump out to a 6-0 lead in the first three innings.
“We’re grinding a little bit with our starting rotation,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s been the strength of this ballclub the last couple of years and will continue to be. We just need to get some guys healthy, but in the meantime we need guys to step up and learn and grow and get better each and every outing. We’re looking for Taylor to improve in five more days because we need him to, and we believe in him. But it’s been a tough grind for these guys over the past two turns, and, I guess, you say taking on water. That might be a good way to categorize that. We need to find a way to solve it.”
Saturday they’ll send Zack Godley to the mound to try and get things turned around. Godley opened the year in the rotation, but struggled and was demoted to the bullpen, and has made a pair of starts between relief appearances since.
“This game is a game of streaks,” Jones said. “Right now we’re on a bad streak. We’ve lost five straight. We have to somehow, someway, come out tomorrow, take the lead early, tack on runs, play great defense.”
It is what they did during their successful road trip, but what they’ve failed to do in four home games since.
The D-backs optioned first baseman Kevin Cron to Triple-A Reno following Friday night’s game. Lovullo said he was not ready to announce who was going to be promoted to take his place, but it will likely be a fresh arm for the bullpen.