Despite the gloomy start, the Diamondbacks still had an opportunity salvage this dismal season.
Simply, play better at home.
Though their road record was better than the results at Chase Field, the schedule was favorable. All the D-backs had to do was win at Chase Field.
At this point, and with this composition of players, that was much easier said than done.
Before the Diamondbacks engaged the Washington Nationals on May 12, their record on the season was 15-25 and a full 11 games behind the National League West Division-leading San Francisco Giants. Beginning with that three game set against Matt Williams and the Nats, Arizona then had 27 of their next 41 games at home. For reasons which manager Kevin Gibson and players can not explain, the team seems to fall at home but fare well away from the desert.
Yet, the opportunity for an extended home stand represented one possible cure for an dreadful start to what has become an rather forgettable season.
Instead of putting together a sizable streak, it was business as usual. In those 27 games in Chase Field, the Diamondbacks managed just 11 victories and enter the current road trip to San Diego, Pittsburgh and Atlanta with a home slate of 15-30.
On May 12, they trailed the Giants by those 12 games and at the start of play Friday against the Padres, they are 14.5 games behind division-leading San Francisco.
Prior to Friday night’s opener at Petco Park against the San Diego, the Diamondbacks’ road mark of 18-18 was one of seven National League teams with a road .500 record or better. Playing even baseball on the road is commendable but the mark in Chase Field continues to baffle.
“Just have to keep battling and control what we can control,” said shortstop Chris Owings during the recent home stand. “Everyone is playing hard but the results don’t seem to be there.”
Now, the Diamondbacks have only three home games, all with the Marlins, in their next 15 games. That brings major league baseball up the All-Star break and thereafter, the D-backs have 16 of their next 22 at Chase Field.
After a Sunday afternoon game against the Rockies on August 10, the D-backs then have eight games at home until September 11.
Still, the opportunity to make up desperate ground from mid-May to the end of June melted like an ice cream cone exposed to the desert’s searing sun.
MORE ON DL
Just before the current road trip, the Diamondbacks placed infielder/catcher Jordan Pacheco on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendonitis.
Immediately, the club called up pitcher Zeke Sprill from Triple-A Reno but he was quickly returned to the Aces. Replacing Pacheco on the roster, the Diamondbacks recalled Phoenix native Nick Evans from Triple-A Reno. Evans was expected to join the club in time for Friday night's game with Padres.
Because Josh Collmenter pitched the 14th inning Monday night and received the win over Cleveland, his regular start in the rotation was pushed ahead to Saturday.
Instead, Brandon McCarthy (1-10, 5.38 ERA) gets the start Friday night and draws right-hander Tyson Ross (6-7, 3.22) as his mount opponent.
Collmenter now goes on Saturday and opposes left-hander Eric Stults (2-10, 5.49). On Sunday afternoon, it’s righty Mike Bolsinger (1-3, 4.78) against Cuban-born right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (1-0, 0.00).
In his previous start this start on June 23, the 27-year-old Despaigne slammed the door on the Giants in seven shut-out innings and gained a 1-0 victory.
After three with the Padres, the Diamondbacks’ road trip continues with three in Pittsburgh and three with the Braves in Atlanta.
They return to Chase Field for a three-game set with the Marlins before heading to San Francisco, three with the Giants, and then the All-Star break.