Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney talks about his outing vs. the Rockies, and says he’ll have no trouble bouncing back from his latest setback. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke talks about his start on Saturday night, in which he allowed three earned runs in six-plus innings vs. the Rockies. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller explains his decision to undergo Tommy John surgery, April 29, 2017. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Manager Torey Lovullo, left-hander Robbie Ray and catcher Chris Iannetta react to the loss.
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Chris Owings talks about the first multi-homer game of his career, and how he’s feeling at the plate after homering three times in the past four games.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker says his fastball was working well for him on Thursday night.
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Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller says he has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and that Tommy John surgery is an option, April 27, 2017. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney on Wednesday’s blown save against San Diego.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts to the Padres’ comeback win.
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Wednesday night’s game against the Padres drew the smallest crowd in Diamondbacks history.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and left-hander Patrick Corbin react to Tuesday’s win. Sarah McLellan/azcentral sports
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Greinke and shortstop Chris Owings react to Monday’s home win over the Padres. Sarah McLellan/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller did not provide many details on his elbow injury on Monday, but he is planning to receive a second opinion on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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D-Backs’ Shelby Miller talks about arm injury suffered during the 6-2 loss to the Dodgers, April 23, 2017. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
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David Peralta talks about the Diamondbacks’ offense and his record-setting four doubles Saturday.
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Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray talks after his team’s 11-5 victory over the Dodgers.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Taijuan Walker, shortstop Chris Owings and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt react to the 13-5 win.
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First baseman Paul Goldschmidt says the Diamondbacks couldn’t string together enough hits against the Padres on Thursday night.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s 4-1 loss to the Padres and their 4-6 road trip through San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
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Fernando Rodney talks about his latest blown save
Zack Greinke after outing vs. Rockies
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller to have Tommy John surgery
Diamondbacks fall 3-1 to Rockies
Chris Owings on his two-homer night
D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker on his 11-strikeout performance vs. Padres
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller considering Tommy John surgery
Fernando Rodney reacts to his blown save against the Padres
Torey Lovullo reacts to Diamondbacks’ ‘heartbreaking’ loss
Diamondbacks attendance hits new low
Diamondbacks pull away from Padres for 9-3 win
Diamondbacks hold on for win over Padres
Shelby Miller on his injury, visit with team doctor
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Shelby Miller discusses arm injury
David Peralta on his record-setting night
Robbie Ray reacts to Saturday’s win over the Dodgers
Diamondbacks use 9-run eighth to overwhelm Dodgers
Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs’ offense vs. Padres
Manager Torey Lovullo breaks down D-Backs’ loss, road trip
Fernando Rodney blew his second consecutive save opportunity on Saturday night, a performance that not only cost the Diamondbacks another game but also thrust Torey Lovullo into his first crisis as manager – a closer controversy.
But, judging by Lovullo’s comments after a 7-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night, there might be nothing controversial about the situation, at least not in his mind.
“For right now, Fernando is our closer,” Lovullo said. “It’s going to be the same situation the next time he’s ready (available to pitch).”
Perhaps the phrase “for right now” affords Lovullo some wiggle room, but he didn’t sound open to any kind of change, including the idea of steering away from Rodney temporarily in order to get him into a lower-leverage situation before pointing back toward the ninth inning. The farthest Lovullo would go was to say he might not use Rodney on Sunday because he threw 34 pitches on Saturday.
Rodney is known for his roller-coaster appearances, and he has had an adventurous first month with the Diamondbacks. Though he has converted six of eight save opportunities, he has been charged with an earned run in five of his 11 outings. He’s given up 14 earned runs in 10 innings, allowing a staggering 23 baserunners.
On Saturday, he was handed a 6-4 lead to start the ninth inning. A single and a walk put runners on first and second, and a slow grounder moved them up with two out. Rodney nibbled against Carlos Gonzalez for three pitches before going forward with an intentional walk to load the bases.
Mark Reynolds followed by pulling a 1-1 fastball through the left side for a two-run single to tie the game. The Rockies took the lead when Rodney uncorked a pair of wild pitches, allowing Gonzalez to first move to third and then score.
The Diamondbacks got the tying run to second against Rockies closer Greg Holland, but Paul Goldschmidt was called out on strikes to end the game. Goldschmidt was on the wrong end of what appeared to be a generous third-strike call by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook, who rung Goldschmidt up on a low-and-away slider.
That left the Diamondbacks reeling from their third loss in four days, two of which came in excruciating fashion.
“This one, it wasn’t a good one, you can definitely say that,” said Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke, who gave up three earned runs in six-plus innings. “A loss is a loss, but this one’s tough. We need to come back pretty good over the next couple of games.”
Rodney’s season to date breaks cleanly into thirds. He allowed seven runs (six earned) in his first five appearances. He then turned in four nearly perfect outings, earning saves in three of them. But the past two have been awful, with eight earned runs allowed in 1 2/3 innings.
“Two bad outings that are showing up,” Lovullo said, when asked how he evaluates Rodney’s month. “But prior to that, we have to remember that, I think, he was six for six in save opportunities and very efficient. I’m going to take the whole body of work and say that he’s six for eight in closing situations and work from there.”
Complicating matters, perhaps, is the fact that the Diamondbacks have two areas that could be in need of attention, and their best pitcher thus far, right-hander Archie Bradley, can address only one of them.
Following Shelby Miller’s elbow injury, the Diamondbacks need a fifth starter, and Bradley’s relief outings have been so dominant – often for multiple innings – that it’s reasonable to believe he could transition effectively back into the rotation. But Bradley also has had the kind of overpowering stuff that would seemingly make him a shut-down closer.
Lovullo, though, shot down any notion of Bradley closing. Surprisingly, at the same time, he also seemed to rule out Bradley starting anytime soon.
“Not right now,” Lovullo said when asked if Bradley could see save opportunities. “Not at this point. Everything we do here, there’s a process. We have a strategy. If it does happen, it’s a conversation that will happen between all of us, including Archie, and he’ll know exactly what his role is. But for right now his role is in the bullpen and that’s not going to change.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.
Rockies at Diamondbacks
When: 1:10 p.m.
Where: Chase Field (roof hotline: 602-462-6262).
Pitchers: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (2-3, 3.10) vs. Rockies RHP German Marquez (0-1, 18.00).
TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).
Corbin gave up two runs in seven innings against the Padres on Tuesday, his second consecutive outing in which he gave up two earned runs against San Diego. … He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his five starts. … Corbin is issuing one fewer walk per nine innings compared to last season, going from 3.8 to 2.8. … In 13 games against the Rockies in his career, he has a 4.99 ERA. … Marquez, one of the Rockies’ better pitching prospects, was roughed up in his first start on Tuesday, allowing eight runs in four innings against the Nationals. Seven of the runs came in the first two innings. … Marquez made a relief appearance against the Diamondbacks last September tossing two scoreless innings at Chase Field.
Tuesday: At Washington, 4:05 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (3-1, 3.94) vs. Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (3-0, 3.64).
Wednesday: At Washington, 4:05 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.56) vs. Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-0, 1.62).
Thursday: At Washington, 10:05 a.m., Diamondbacks TBA vs. Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (3-2, 2.94).