Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic Published 6:10 p.m. MT June 20, 2021
The Diamondbacks were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. They were beaten for the 17th consecutive game, extending a franchise record. They prolonged a losing skid that is nearly seven weeks in the making.
But in a 9-8 loss in front of a raucous, season-best crowd of 31,661 at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks found something elusive. They found a positive.
To be clear: They did not play a complete game. They disgusted their manager with their performance on the mound. There was another defensive miscue that might have played a part in a run.
But in clawing back from a 9-1 deficit to make things interesting — and to give what few Diamondbacks fans were in attendance a reason to cheer amidst an overwhelmingly pro-Dodgers crowd — they are hoping they have found something on which to build.
For a club that has lost 31 of its past 33 games and 40 of 45 — and owns an atrocious 20-53 record — a moral victory is the best they’ve got.
“I think this is something we can look back tomorrow and be like, hey, guys, look, we went down to one of the best teams in the league, we grinded down and fought tooth and nail and got back in it real quick, just like that,” Diamondbacks outfielder Josh Reddick said. “We’ve got the potential to do it. Just stay with that mindset, come back tomorrow and switch gears on a new ballclub.”
Trailing 9-2, the Diamondbacks sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run eighth inning, getting five singles and three walks. But they went down in order against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth to lose, for the second time in six days, a game in which they scored eight runs.
Left-hander Alex Young (three innings, five runs) and right-hander Corbin Martin (3 2/3 innings, four runs) were unable to keep the game close early. Young surrendered a three-run home run to Albert Pujols in the Dodgers’ five-run second inning. Martin struggled once again with his command, issuing three walks and leaving too many hittable pitches over the plate.
Manager Torey Lovullo liked seeing his team fight back, seeing it as further evidence of a club that continues to play hard despite the struggles, but he was not happy with the performance of his pitching staff
“For me, it’s about putting the ball on the plate,” he said. “I was adding up through five innings and I think they had 17 baserunners. That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to put the baseball on the plate. We’ve got to attack and follow games plans. We’ve got to expect good results. That was unacceptable what we saw on the mound. We put ourselves in that position.”
The Diamondbacks are the first team since the 1937 Philadelphia Athletics to lose 40 out of 45 games. Their 17-game skid is the 15th longest in modern baseball history and the longest since the 2011 Seattle Mariners lost 17 straight. The 1961 Philadelphia Phillies own the record with a 23-game skid.
“You wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” said Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Diamondbacks.
“They’re struggling. Everyone I’m talking to and ask how they’re doing is saying they’re grinding. It’s a tough game. It’s one of those where you play every day and it just keeps coming after you and after you, and you lose a little bit of your edge and there’s some really good teams out there and they can take advantage of it.
“They’re playing hard. You see that. Down a bunch of runs and you see they’re still playing hard.”