The Diamondbacks’ homestand ended the way it began, with an inexplicable loss to an opposing starter they thought they should beat, and with their manager sitting at the dais after the game at a loss for words.
Manager Torey Lovullo’s shock is almost to be expected, as is his ability to convince himself over and over that his club is about to go on a prolonged run. It is his job to believe such a thing is possible. And, for all anyone knows, perhaps they will.
For most everyone else, the Diamondbacks’ 7-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon was just an extension of a season-long storyline they cannot find a way to rewrite, another item to be bagged and entered into evidence.
The Diamondbacks once again lost a game that seemed prime for the taking, in the process falling back to the .500 mark with which they are so familiar.
“It’s been like that all year,” Diamondbacks outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. “We ain’t been able to get over the hump. But you know what? Nobody’s in here hanging our heads. We know it’s a lot of games left. The games have to be played and we’ve got to show up and play them.”
They trailed before they could record an out on Wednesday in a game that never felt competitive. For a team that has designs on winning a wild-card spot, the Diamondbacks have a penchant for playing games like this.
Last week, they were blanked over seven innings by Giants right-hander Dereck Rodriguez. They have had several games recently in which their usually solid defense has abandoned them.
The Diamondbacks seem to play two or three crisp games in a row in which they fire on all cylinders, but then follow them up with an ugly performance that sets them back.
“It’s a little bit frustrating,” Lovullo said. “We can lay out some clunkers. It’s not the right time of year for that. We’ve got to tighten that up.”
Right-hander Tim Melville, a 29-year-old minor league journeyman making his fourth career major league start, held the Diamondbacks to two hits across seven innings to pick up his first career win.
Melville was taking the place of Jon Gray, the Rockies’ best starter. For the second time in as many weeks, Gray was scratched from a start against the Diamondbacks due to a left foot injury. Last time, the Diamondbacks destroyed Gray’s replacement. This seemed like another chance to do the same.
Instead, Melville allowed a minimal amount of hard contact. Outside of a first inning in which he ran deep counts and had to pitch out of a two-out jam, he appeared in complete control.
On the other side, it was another rough performance for Mike Leake, who allowed five runs in five innings on eight hits, seven of which were singles. In four starts since coming to the Diamondbacks in a deadline deal, Leake has allowed 19 earned runs on 37 hits in 21 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit .394 off him.
“I can live with some base hits,” Lovullo said. “The slug (is what) we’re trying to avoid. I think he’s doing fine. I know that the record might not show that. We want our guys to keep us in some games. He has done that for the most part. I’m not concerned about Mike at all.”
“Oh, yeah,” Leake said, when asked if he’s frustrated by his slow start with his new team. “You hope for success every time out. Sometimes this happens. It’s just a matter of keeping on with the adjustments and not allowing them to overtake you.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.
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