By: Kayla Mortellaro
PHOENIX— The Arizona Diamondbacks came to the diamond with a fresh attitude and mindset for the fourth and final game of the series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Chase Field.
Unfortunately for the Dbacks, a common trend for the team continued with the starting pitchers struggling from the start. Rubby De La Rosa was able to limit the damage in the first inning, giving up one run. In the second inning, he gave-up a lead off home run to Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz, his first of the year. De La Rosa walked off the mound in the second inning giving up two more runs, and the Dbacks found themselves in an early 3-0 hole.
“He didn’t start out too well,” Manager Chip Hale said. “Just seemed like he was a little over-amped, trying too hard.”
The Dbacks came storming back in the bottom of the second against Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez to tie the game up at three-all. Martinez would pick up the win (13-6) after pitching six innings, giving up four hits, three earned runs, and struck out six batters.
For the Dbacks, De La Rosa seemed to settle down for two innings but struggled again in the fifth inning. His night was done after five innings, giving up five hits, five earned runs, four walks, and two home runs on 93 pitches.
“He battled back and seemed to be throwing the ball really well and then he threw the change-up to Moss for the home run,” Hale said. “But as your pitch count mounts up on you. His stuff was good but he just has to get better at managing his anxiety.”
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Dbacks again tried to rally, and had the bases loaded with no one out. David Peralta, one of the hottest hitters in baseball (.350 batting average in his last seven games), struck out swinging. Welington Castillo came to the plate who is batting .320 with two home runs in his last seven games, also struck out swinging. Jake Lamb had a full count but grounded out to first base to end the inning and left the bases loaded.
“We got to the bases loaded with patience,” Hale said. “As soon as we had bases loaded, nobody out, I don’t think many of those pitches we swung at were strikes. So we have to remember how we got there to finish the job. And another situation where I think the anxiety just gets to you. Guys see it right in front of them and have the chance to be the hero, and want it too bad. And that’s something with experience, we should get better at.”
Another rally was started by the Dbacks in the bottom of the ninth by Aaron Hill and Ender Inciarte who both drew walks. However, Trevor Rosenthal picked up his 41st save of the season for the Cardinals by striking out AJ Pollock swinging to end the game.
“It’s just a frustrating game, it will really eat you up, and you just have to do everything you can to keep coming back every day,” Pollock said. “It’s one of those games you try to go out there and do your best, have a good approach.”
The Dbacks returned to Chase Field Monday to start their seven-game home stand with a 62-61 record. After the sweep on Thursday by the Cardinals (82-45), the Dbacks have dropped three games below .500 at 62-65 and 30-33 at home. Coming off a sweep of their own against the Reds, some people considered the Dbacks to be a long-shot at contenting in the NL West. But the idea of having a postseason run was made tougher now as the Dbacks are eight games behind the NL-West leading Dodgers.
To move forward, Hale preaches to his players that each game is a new game, and dwelling on the past does no good.
“Obviously, it’s hard after a four-game sweep at home,” Hale said. “That’s not what you ever want to happen, but we have to get over it. We will do our studying on Oakland tonight and tomorrow morning. Prep our guys and get after it. We have to come out and be ready to go. It’s a big series this weekend. We got ourselves over .500 and now we are back under, so we have to make some ground up and battle.”
The team will certainly take that attitude going in to each game of the three game series against the Oakland Athletics.
Friday night the Dbacks will send right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson to the mound who is 6-5 with a 4.28 ERA this season. The A’s will start right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray who is 12-5 with a 2.10 ERA this season. First pitch is is at 6:40 p.m.