For a team that wishes to be a contender in the National League West, an 0-3 start is not terribly enlightening.
That’s where the Diamondbacks find themselves after a painful 9-8 defeat to the San Francisco Giants before an United States opening night crowd of 48,541 in Chase Field.
Coupled with the two losses to the Dodgers in Sydney, Australia, the bottom line shows Arizona with not many positives for its opening three games.
Blowing a 7-3 lead late in the contest, the Diamondbacks proved their margin of error is slight. So slight that even the smallest of mistakes can add to a big disaster.
Just ask Addison Reed.
As the D-backs newly appointed closer, Reed, acquired form the Chicago White Sox in an off-season deal this past winter, entered the game in the ninth inning and the game tied at 7-7.
After two outs and a runner on first, two-time All-Star Buster Posey deposited a 1-2 pitch into the left-field stands for a two-run home run and the Giants’ slim margin of victory.
One pitch, one costly mistake and the Posey crusher showed Reed and his Arizona teammates that margin for error is nearly non-existent.
“Just a terrible pitch,” Reed said. “I missed my spot and (Posey) made me pay. I tried to get it inside but things didn’t work out.”
Reed seemed posed to keep the score at 7-7 and two outs in the ninth. That's when he struck out Pablo Sandoval and the nearly 50,000 in the house stood and roared.
Then, Posey came up and smashed his 62nd career home run.
“I felt fine, no issues,” Reed said. “One bad pitch and otherwise, I would feel different.”
If the Diamondbacks are to pick themselves off the mat and be truly competitive, they cannot blow four run leads at home and late in games.
After jumping out to that 7-3 advantage, the Giants tied the contest with a four spot in the seventh.
Starter Brandon McCarthy latest until two outs in the seventh and left leading 7-4 and a runner on first.
Enter Oliver Perez, signed at the advent of spring training as a second left-handed arm in the bull pen.
Perez then gave up a double Angel Pagan and a pair of singles to Brandon Belt and Sandoval before his exit. McCarthy, though he pitched a worthy game, was still tagged with five runs and Perez the other two.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks built their lead with a four spot in the fourth and a pair of runs in the fifth.
Here, two San Francisco errors and a two-run double from Aaron Hill changed fortunes in the fourth and four hits chased in two runs in the fifth.
For the game, the offense was generated by three hits from each Mark Trumbo, Miguel Montero and Chris Owings while Montero’s solo shot in the ninth brought Arizona to within one run of the lead.
“This one stings,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “When you have a lead like that, you expect to close down the game.”
The Giants’ series continues Tuesday night (6:40 p.m.) when lefty Wade Miley (0-1, 5.40 ERA in 2014) gets his second start of the season. He’ll be opposed by righty Matt Cain (8-10, 4.00 ERA last season).
On Wednesday night, Trevor Cahill, attempting to come-back from a dreadful outing against the Dodgers March 23 in Australia, gets the ball from Gibson and will be opposed by right-hander Tim Hudson, who was 8-7, 3.97 ERA with Atlanta last season.
On Thursday afternoon (12:40 p.m.), the Giants’ will send righty Tim Lincecum (10-14. 4.37 ERA) and Gibson said he’s undecided.
The D-backs then embark on their first road trip of the season.
They are in Denver this coming weekend to help the Rockies launch their home season with three games and that precedes a three-game series with the Giants at At&T Park. The D-backs return to Chase Field April 11 for a six game home stand with the Dodgers and Mets.
STAYING WITH THE DIAMONDBACKS
In the battle to back-up Miguel Montero behind the plate, manager Kirk Gibson selected former Arizona State University standout Tuffy Gosewisch over veteran Henry Blanco.
After the D-backs released Blanco from a minor league contract, the 42 year-old immediately joined Gibson’s staff as an assistant hitting coach.
In the course of 16 major league seasons, Blanco appeared in 971 games with the Dodgers, Rockies, Brewers, Braves, Twins, Cubs, Padres, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Mariners. He hit .223 (815-for-2.761) with 72 home runs and 298 RBIs.