HOUSTON – In two days at Minute Maid Park, the Diamondbacks have given a small snapshot that almost perfectly encapsulates their season. On Friday, they hung with and beat the defending World Series champions, getting solid pitching, delivering timely hits and playing clean baseball. On Saturday, they did none of those things.
For as much as Friday night’s win provided a glimpse of the kind of team they see themselves as, Saturday evening’s 10-4 loss to the Houston Astros was more like how others have begun to view them, at least since they began their stumble toward the finish line.
“We could go out there and lay out some really good moments, and then there’s other times where we play sloppy,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “We played sloppy baseball today in a couple of situations. We can’t do that, especially in this environment, this time of the year, against this team. We’ve got to figure that out.”
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about Zack Godley’s struggles and the offense’s quiet night against Charlie Morton in a 10-4 loss.
The loss – their 15th in the past 22 games – cost them yet another chance to gain ground on their similarly uninspiring competition for the final two playoff spots up for grabs in the National League.
While they wouldn’t have gained on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won, they could have moved closer to the St. Louis Cardinals, whom the Dodgers beat for a third consecutive game, and the Colorado Rockies, who were shut out for the second time in as many days by the San Francisco Giants.
As such, they’re now four games back in the NL West – the Dodgers have moved into first – and are 3 1/2 back for the second wild card, which now belongs to the Rockies, who are just a half-game up on the Cardinals.
As has been the case in many of the Diamondbacks’ losses lately, there was plenty of blame to go around. Right-hander Zack Godley issued six walks in 3 2/3 innings. Steven Souza Jr. committed three miscues in right field. Reliever Silvino Bracho had a throwing error. And the lineup managed just six hits, including only three in six innings against Astros right-hander Charlie Morton.
“When you make mistakes, you’re going to pay for them, especially against this team,” Lovullo said. “You’ve got to give them some credit for taking advantage of those mistakes. That’s very frustrating. We come in here with the expectation of playing good baseball. I feel like we had some good moments today, but the bad ones far outweighed the good ones.”
Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Godley talks about his shaky start against the Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Souza wanted to take the fall for the way the game unraveled. With two on and two out in the fourth, he was unable to make a play on a line drive off the bat of the Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez. He ranged back, reached up and couldn’t make the catch. Instead of the third out, two runners scored, stretching a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 lead.
“I make that play,” he said, “time and time again.”
The next batter, Yuli Gurriel, shot a single into right and Souza charged in before letting it slip under his glove. That made it a 5-1 lead for the Astros.
“When it’s going bad at the plate for me, I can handle that,” Souza said. “But when somebody else is affected because of my mistakes, that’s what really gets me. I take full responsibility for everything that happened in that inning. I just really feel bad for Zack.”
With 13 games left, the Diamondbacks’ odds of reaching October remain bleak; FanGraphs has their chances at all of 3 percent.
“Hopefully we can back tomorrow, get a win, win the series and move on,” Souza said. “We don’t have time to dwell on them. It’s unfortunate, you know, a loss like this. We’ve got to move on and win tomorrow.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.