CINCINNATI – The Diamondbacks did not score on Friday night. They had just five batters reach base safely, two of whom were erased on double plays. They did not draw a walk and had just three at-bats with a man in scoring position. It was a rough start to a road trip that could prove critical to their chances of reaching October.

The Diamondbacks were shut down by right-hander Anthony DeSclafani in a 3-0 loss at Great American Ball Park, the latest instance in which their offense has been silenced. Four times in the past five games, the Diamondbacks have scored three runs or less.

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect them to score five or six runs every game. But given the composition of their lineup – their relative health, track records and season numbers – it seems strange to see them grind through these stretches.

“That’s the part of the game that I don’t understand,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Baseball is a hard game. It’s hard to line up the ball and square it up and be consistent. We have very consistent players that sometimes don’t get the job done. That’s just the nature of the game.”

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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani’s impressive outing on Friday night at Great American Ball Park.
Nick Piecoro, azcentral sports

Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta and A.J. Pollock are each carrying an OPS (on-base-plus-slugging) approaching .900. Eduardo Escobar is not far behind. Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed are having solid years – particularly as it relates to their position – and Steven Souza Jr. is getting his numbers into their normal range.

For stretches, this has translated into runs. In the first 15 games after the All-Star break, the offense scored nearly six runs per game. Lately, it’s cooled again, looking more like it did in the weeks leading up to the break, when they scored at least five runs only three times in an 18-game span.

“I know it hasn’t been a traditional offensive-type year for us,” Lovullo said. “But we’re winning games and we’re in a really good spot. … We know we have some of the season to go here. We have a couple of months of baseball and we know our offense can probably live up to the capabilities that we expect.”

Against DeSclafani on Friday, they hit only one ball with an exit velocity of 95 mph or harder. They managed just three hits off him in seven-plus innings. DeSclafani finished with no walks and nine strikeouts.

His performance overshadowed that of Clay Buchholz, who managed to keep the game scoreless before the Reds scored once in the sixth and added two more in the seventh, an inning in which they were aided by a Buchholz throwing error.

It was a disappointing start to a road trip that will see the Diamondbacks face three last-place clubs. The Reds, last in the NL Central, were atrocious early in the year and played better starting in May, but they entered this series on the heels of a 2-7 stretch.

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Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt talks about his team’s recently inconsistent offense and what happened on Friday vs. the Reds.
Nick Piecoro, azcentral sports

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or nick.piecoro@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.