LOS ANGELES - During the course of this season, Bronson Arroyo is rather demonstrative in his capacity to pitch in a baseball game.
While he would like to give the Diamondbacks quality starts and quality innings each time out, his ravaged 37-year-old body dictates the distance he goes in games. Again on Sunday, on a perfect southern California afternoon, Arroyo was sailing along with another quality start but his arm said, “no more.”
Arroyo, with 15 years experience in the major leagues, handcuffed the Dodgers for the five innings of work and kept the Diamondbacks in the game.
In the contest itself, and holding a one-run lead after five innings, the Diamondbacks added gradually to that slim margin and came away with a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers before a sell-out crowd of 52,519, the Dodgers’ fifth sell-out of the season. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and gave the Diamondbacks only their second win in their last six games.
Yet, there is doom on the horizon.
Since defeating the Washington Nationals in Chase Field on May 13, Arroyo has developed a painful right elbow. In his last six starts, including Sunday, he’s willed his way though game after game until he told manager Kirk Gibson, after the fifth inning Sunday he could go no further.
Though those starts, Arroyo has been nothing short of a poster child for playing with pain. With the win over the Dodgers, his record improves to 7-4 and his ERA is now 4.08. Since the Washington game, Arroyo is 4-2 with one no decision.
Afterward, Arroyo was candid about the ability to push his body to the maximum physical limit and to will himself into a creditable effort. For all the pain and anguish Arroyo says he endures prior and during his starts, the native of Key West, Fla. continues to provide the Diamondbacks with quality efforts.
“The pain is as bad as it’s ever been,” Arroyo said afterward. “I have, what 17 starts left, and they way things are going, I need to get some answers. Right now, I’m battling but can’t be that effective throwing 84 mile-per-hour fast balls.”
Arroyo said his recent success is due to location and keeping hitters off-balance. In the end, he’s realistic and candid about his future in the rotation.
“It’s just the way it is,” he said. “I was able to get by with an 83-87 fast ball but the velocity has dropped. The swelling is up and there’s really too much pain.”
Now, there's an immediate decision regarding Arroyo’s elbow. Manager Kirk Gibson said discussions will take place Monday and it appears Arroyo is headed to the disabled list. As well, Arroyo did not rule out a MRI on his right elbow in the foreseeable future.
Still, Arroyo’s courageous effort was without notice.
“He has more guts than anyone on this club,” said catcher Miguel Montero. “He was throwing so slow that I could catch him bare-handed. But, I’ll tell this, he’s a winner. He’s a competitor and gets the job done.”
Offensively, the Diamondbacks moved out to an early lead and, unlike the previous game on Saturday, they were able to maintain their advantage and gain the victory.
As he did in Saturday night’s game, Paul Goldschmidt staked the Diamondbacks to a lead in the first inning Sunday. Here, he drilled a 3-2, Josh Beckett curve into the left field stands for his 15th bomb of the season and a quick 1-0 lead.
After the Dodgers tied this in the second, the Diamondbacks gained a 4-1 advantage with one run in the fifth on a wild pitch which scored David Peralta from third, and two scored on an error from Dodgers’ second baseman Dee Gordon in the seventh.
In the meantime, Evan Marshall retired Yasiel Puig, the go-ahead run, with two on in the seventh. From that point, Brad Ziegler and Addison Reed closed the door on the Dodgers over the final two innings.
Montero put an exclamation mark on this one when he slammed his 10th of the season with one on in the ninth. That gave the Diamondbacks a comfortable four run cushion in the ninth and Reed, though he surrendered one run, he retired Puig on a fly to right to end the game.
VAULTING INTO THE LEAD
In figures to be released by Major League Baseball, D-backs’ Paul Goldschmidt has overtaken the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez as the leading National League vote-getter at first base.
With the figures released last week, Goldschmidt was just over 100,000 votes behind Gonzalez, but a recent push has Goldschmidt now in the lead.
“I’m not really concerned about (gaining the lead at first base),” Goldschmidt said after Sunday’s game with the Dodgers. “I just want to play hard and help my team win.”
In shaking off his modesty for a moment, Goldschmidt did say he appreciate the fans’ voice.
MORE DOUBLE PLAYS
When Diamondbacks’ reliever Brad Ziegler induced Jamie Romak to hit into an inning-ending double pay in the eighth, that was his 86 DP since 2008 and that leads all major league relievers.
Ziegler’s proficiency in getting double plays led manager Kirk Gibson to marvel, “it’s just impressive the amount of double plays he gets.”