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Diamondbacks need to start winning at home

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With their loss Friday night to Atlanta in Chase Field, the Diamondbacks’ home record dropped to 9-23.

By all standards, that’s not very good and the consensus around the clubhouse is a total mystery why the home record is less than acceptable. Reasons and explanations are hard to discover, but one thing remains certain. The D-backs’ home record needs to improve.

Conversely, the Diamondbacks have the third best road record in the National League, and that’s a mark of 15-13.

Yet, any explanation regarding their home record is met with ambiguity.

“I really think the talk about not winning at home is a non-factor,” said outfielder Cody Ross. “In other sports, home field is probably more important but not in baseball. It’s more about match-ups. But, generally, I can’t explain why we’re playing better on the road.”

At home, the Diamondbacks have put together consecutive wins only twice all season. That would include victories on May 17 and 18 against the Dodgers and May 28 against the Padres and May 29 against the Reds. This also includes a six-game losing streak from April 11 through April 15 and swept in two series by the Dodgers and Mets in Chase Field.

Coming into play Saturday against Atlanta, the Diamondbacks were 15 games behind the National League West Division-leading San Francisco Giants and if Arizona is to make up any ground, production at home must improve.

Since dropping the opening two games against the Dodgers in Australia, the Diamondbacks have put up the worst home record of any team in the majors and currently stand as the only team to lose 20 or more games at home in contests through this past Friday.

“I’m not sure why this is happening,” added shortstop Chris Owings. “Everyone is showing up and ready to play. We can control only what we can control.”

Last season, the Diamondbacks managed a decent home record. For the 82 games, they went 45-36 but 36-45 on the road. That translated into an 81-81 season and the second straight year of .500 baseball. In the 2011, they captured 51 of the 81 home games on their way to the National League West Division title.

In each of the subsequent two seasons, they turned in opposite but identical records home/away records. In 2012, the D-backs were 41-40 at home at 40-41 on the road.

Over the next three weeks, the schedule is considered favorable.

Beginning with Sunday’s series-finale against the Braves, they have 12 of their next 17 games in Chase Field. By the time they hit the road for series in San Diego, Pittsburgh and Atlanta at the end of June and early July, their season should be pretty much defined.

AN AFTER-THOUGHT

When the Diamondbacks dealt Justin Upton to the Braves on Jan. 24, 2013, Arizona also sent third baseman Chris Johnson as part of the trade.

All Johnson did was lead the Braves in hitting last season with a .321 average and chipped in with 34 doubles, 12 home runs and 68 RBIs. The Braves rewarded Johnson and inked the 29-year-old native of Naples, Fla. to a three year, $27.25 million contract extension last month.

“I guess you can look at Chris as ‘a throw-in’ to the trade,” said Braves’ manager Freddie Gonzalez before Saturday’s game with the D-backs in Chase Field. “What we like about Chris is that he always gives you a professional at-bat. I like his bat and it’s nice to have his presence in the middle of our line-up.”

Coming into Saturday’s game, Johnson was hitting .257 (56-218) with 11 doubles, two home runs and 14 RBIs in 58 games.

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