Amid tough stretch, will D-backs be sellers?

Escobar's HR provides lone run in loss as offense struggles

August 31st, 2020

As the D-backs left the clubhouse at Chase Field to make their way to their homes Sunday following a 4-1 loss to the Giants, there was a question that hung over the room: Who would be back in there when they gather next?

With Monday’s 1 p.m. MST Trade Deadline looming, Arizona looks like sellers as it has lost 10 of its last 11 games and sits seven games below .500 with 25 regular-season games to play.

The D-backs are off Monday before opening a seven-game road trip with a matchup against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.

“Now, the Trade Deadline obviously adds various interesting twists and turns to what's going to be happening, and we know the next 24 hours have a chance to be very interesting,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “And I don't know [any specifics], I just know, in baseball, this is a wild time.

"I have not had any discussions with [general manager Mike Hazen]. He obviously keeps his cards very close to the vest, but there's a buy-in here and we trust what they're doing upstairs, so whatever route they take, we know there's a very good reason for it.”

Left-hander Robbie Ray, who has struggled so far this season and is a pending free agent, has been the name most often speculated about when it comes to who the D-backs could look to move. But on Sunday morning, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that Arizona is “open” to discussing players such as center fielder Starling Marte, who it acquired from Pittsburgh during the offseason, and closer Archie Bradley.

Bradley acknowledged that he and his teammates are aware of the rumors, thanks to social media, but now that he is a veteran, he knows it comes with the territory.

“It’s frustrating,” Bradley said of the season so far. “You know how it is as a player, you look around the locker room and you think you have a good team, you think you have good players. You know you do, you’re just not performing. When you get to this time of year, even though it is a short season, if you look at it and you’re being honest, you understand it. Maybe some of the younger guys don’t, but the guys who have been around it, it’s part of the business.

"No, you can’t blame them [if they sell]. Obviously, I’m going to advocate for sticking together, I love being a Diamondback. I love playing here. I love the guys we have in this locker room. But at some point, we have to play better baseball. We haven’t played the way we wanted to. We’re still searching to find what it is we’re doing wrong.”

The D-backs' main problem on Sunday was one that has plagued them for much of the past two weeks -- they didn’t score enough runs. Eduardo Escobar's solo home run in the seventh inning was their only offense, as they couldn't capitalize on a strong start from Taylor Clarke, who matched a career high with seven strikeouts in five innings of one-run ball.

During their current 1-10 stretch, the D-backs have scored 29 total runs. Over their first 11 games of the season -- when they went 3-8 -- they also scored 29 total runs.

When Arizona went on a 10-3 run in between those two skids, it scored 90 total runs in that span.

Lovullo said the issue is that hitters aren't making adjustments to the way they’re being pitched. He would like to see them make opposing pitchers come into the strike zone with their pitches, rather than the hitters chasing.

It's easy to say, but it's sometimes hard to put into practice when everyone is struggling.

“What I'm saying is the track record of these guys always leads me to the best conclusion that they're going to figure it out,” Lovullo said. “They're not going to figure it out by just continuing to do what they're doing. They've got to understand what's going on, and we are highlighting that as coaches and teachers every single day about what's going right and what's going wrong.

"We’ve got an off-day [Monday]. Those guys need to recharge their batteries, turn the page, get ready to go start a new month and get back to doing what we do best.”

But the question remains -- who will be there when they begin again?