Too bad this effort tends to compromise on the current efficiency of Bronson Arroyo’s career.
Now 37-years-old and approaching the twilight of a productive major league career, Arroyo is at the point where a combination of maladies seem to cut into his effectiveness. Upon several occasions this season, Arroyo felt he could not go further in games and summoned Mike Harkey, the pitching coach, or manager Kirk Gibson to say he was at the line for that game.
Yet, Arroyo seems to hold out and last long enough to give the Diamondbacks a number of quality starts.
That was the case Tuesday afternoon when Arroyo survived through the seventh inning and the Diamondbacks rallied for a pair of seven-inning runs to beat the Astros, 4-1 before 17,667 in Chase Field.
Locked in a tie with Houston starter Brad Peacock, Arroyo could only handle those seven innings of work before yielding to Brad Ziegler in the eighth and Addison Reed, who earned his 16th save of the season.
Should this type of game occur earlier in Arroyo’s career, he likely would have stayed in and battled further. Instead, he departed after seven and left the care of this one in the hands of capable relievers.
“The distance I go now really depends on the pitch count,” Arroyo said. “If it’s low, I can go into the eighth, maybe more.”
Arroyo has one complete game this season and save that 3-1 win over Washington on May 13, he has pitched no further than 7.1 innings in any game.
Since a bulging disc in his back sidelined Arroyo for much of spring training, other maladies have flared. Notably, Arroyo’s right elbow has been painful and that began three starts ago at Citi Field on May 25.
“If people know the stuff I have to prepare my body to go out there, they would be surprised,” Arroyo said. “I have to convince myself that I’ll make it through,”
For his part, Arroyo turned in a solid seven innings and gave the Astros six hits, one run, walked two and fanned five hitters.
In his last nine starts, Arroyo is 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA. As well, he’s limited opponents to one earned run or less in his last four starts.
Arroyo’s stellar effort clearly kept the Astros at bay and that enabled the Diamondbacks to produce the seventh inning rally.
That was triggered by a lead-off triple from Martin Prado and he scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Aaron Hill. Later in the frame, Ender Inciarte scored on a Cody Ross double and an error by Houston centerfielder Dexter Fowler.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt staked Arroyo to an early in the first inning when he hammered his 13th home run of the season into the right centerfield pool and the 45th all-time which landed in the water.
“It was a fast ball and I didn’t know it landed in the pool,” Goldschmidt said. “Just glad it was a home run. But, we’ve been playing more consistent baseball over the last five, six weeks and giving us a chance to win.”
With the victory, the Diamondbacks split the short, two-game series with Houston and have won six of their last eight games.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN …
The Diamondbacks and Astros continue their four game series but now relocate to Houston.
After splitting the two games in Chase Field, the teams repair to Minute Maid Park for two.
On Wednesday night, the D-backs send Brandon McCarthy (1-8, 5.13 ERA) to the hill and he opposes righty Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 2.30). For Thursday night, it’s Wade Miley (3-6, 4.57) up against right-hander Scott Feldman (3-4, 4.12).
Then, it’s off to Dodger Stadium for a three-game, weekend set.
The series begins with an intriguing match-up Friday night involving D-backs’ right hander Chase Anderson (5-0, 3.14), who is off to a 5-0 start in his first five major league decisions. He gets two-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 3.14) as his mound opponent.