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Escobar relishes role as D-backs' ironman

Third baseman reaches 100-RBI plateau with triple amid decisive 5-run 6th
@SteveGilbertMLB
August 21, 2019

PHOENIX -- Eduardo Escobar does not like days off. Sure, some down time in the winter is great, but in the summer, especially when things are heating up in a playoff race? Not so much. Escobar drove home a pair of runs Tuesday, giving him 100 RBIs for the season,

PHOENIX -- Eduardo Escobar does not like days off.

Sure, some down time in the winter is great, but in the summer, especially when things are heating up in a playoff race? Not so much.

Escobar drove home a pair of runs Tuesday, giving him 100 RBIs for the season, in the D-backs’ 8-7 win over the Rockies at Chase Field.

Box score

Escobar has played in 124 of the D-backs’ 127 games this year, and he has started 120 of those games.

“He’s played a lot of baseball,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I think it should be my responsibility to give him a little bit of rest. At times, I couldn’t do it this year.”

And there are times when Lovullo tries and the mild-mannered Escobar battles against it.

“No, I said to Torey, ‘I’m tired of not playing,’” Escobar said. “When the season is done, that’s my vacation. Right now, I need to be working. Every time he gives me a day off, I go to him and say, ‘Hey man, I want to play, I don’t like having days off. I’ll take days off in November and December.’”

Escobar capped the D-backs’ five-run sixth inning with a two-run triple, and in the process, became the 10th switch-hitter in baseball history to collect at least 20 homers, 20 doubles and 10 triples in a season, and the first to do it since the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins in 2007.

The win was the third in a row for the D-backs, who will go for a sweep of the three-game series Wednesday, while the victory also kept them four games behind the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot.

Their place in the standings is good news for Escobar, because it means that Lovullo doesn’t plan on giving him any days off any time soon.

“This isn’t the time to rest him,” Lovullo said. “He’s going to have to grind through this and step up and do what he’s doing. I know he’s eager to get out there and continue to pile up these big numbers.”

While Escobar talked with reporters, the ball he hit for his 100th RBI of the season sat encased in a plastic cube on his chair, beside the official lineup card from the game.

“I’m so happy to get to 100 RBIs,” he said. “Hopefully I can get more in the next month.”

It isn’t just Escobar who is being asked to carry a little bigger load now and over the final six weeks of the season.

Closer Archie Bradley, who recorded the save in the ninth inning, was working for the third day in a row, fourth in the last five and fifth in the last seven.

“It’s that time of the year,” Lovullo said. “These guys are going to step up and get the job done, they want that opportunity.”

Since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2017, Bradley has learned how to judge whether he is able to pitch on a given day or if he needs a day off.

“You feel it a little bit, but you also understand, especially now with the role that I’m kind of in, you really don’t have time to take days off,” Bradley said. “You want to be smart definitely, and we’ll evaluate tomorrow, but I want the ball and I want to go out there and pitch.”

Bradley’s evaluation of his arm will come Wednesday morning when he gets to the ballpark and plays catch.

“I’ll be able to really tell, ‘Yeah, I can push it today’ or ‘I’m going to need a day or two,’” he said. “Everyone’s body, everyone’s arm is different. I would say right now I’m at a pretty good point where I can read and feel what my body is going through right now.”

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.