It’s only fitting that, on the night before the trade deadline, the Diamondbacks received an ominous harbinger regarding the club’s greatest concern: the bullpen.

Once the Diamondbacks’ bullpen relinquished their one-run lead in the sixth inning, it was lights out at Chase Field. The Rangers won the first game of the series 9-5 on Monday.

After left-hander Robbie Ray issued a one-out walk in the sixth, right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano entered the game to preserve the team’s 4-3 lead. Instead, Hirano, who has been mostly reliable this season, walked the first man he faced and then allowed a game-tying single to Ranges catcher Robinson Chirinos.

BOX SCORE:  Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 5

Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa entered in an attempt to prevent further damage and got slugger Joey Gallo to weakly fly out. While facing his next better, outfielder Delino DeShields, a significant amount of lighting fixtures went out at Chase Field, forcing the game into a delay.

“It was the crunch-time part of the game,” Diamondbacks Torey Lovullo said of the outage. “I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the pitch and then you’ve got to pull back and kind of stop the momentum of what’s going on.

“The timing for me couldn’t have been any worse. … I felt like it could have been a different outcome had that not happened.”


Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo explains why his team lost to the Texas Rangers 9-5 on Monday night.
Atreya Verma, The Republic |

A monsoon that was passing through Phoenix and left more than 100,000 without power across the Valley on Monday did not spare the Diamondbacks. Several lights, most of them coincidentally located almost directly over the home team’s bullpen, went black.

After a delay that lasted 21:43, De La Rosa returned to the mound to continue the at-bat with DeShields. He threw ball four on the first pitch. Two pitches later, the Diamondbacks were trailing. De La Rosa allowed the go-ahead single to pinch-hitter Willie Calhoun.

“The delay may have gotten to him,” Lovullo said of De La Rosa. “Twenty-one minutes may have been too long to sit and wait, but he said that he felt good so we ran him back out there.”

The lights may have come back on at Chase Field, but they didn’t for the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, as newly acquired right-hander Matt Andriese allowed the Rangers to take another lead later in the game.

Arizona’s bullpen has blown three leads over its past six games.

“The bullpen just got nicked up,” Lovullo said. “Piece-by-piece, they just couldn’t make pitches when they had to. They couldn’t get the big out and execute at the right time. That’s the nature of the game.”


Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray allowed two hits and four earned runs in five-plus innings against the Rangers on Monday.
Atreya Verma, The Republic |

The Diamondbacks drew first blood when third baseman Eduardo Escobar hit a sacrifice fly to score outfielder Jon Jay, who led off the first inning with a triple.

The Rangers didn’t break through against Ray until the fifth inning, when outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit a three-run home run to give Texas a two-run advantage.

But Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. responded with a three-run homer of his own in the bottom of the inning to restore the edge to Arizona. However, the lead was short-lived, as the bullpen couldn’t bail out Ray in the sixth.

The Arizona hitters even found a spark in the bottom of the sixth when Escobar singled home the tying run, but Andriese, acquired via trade on Wednesday from Tampa Bay, allowed a go-ahead homer to Rougned Odor on the first pitch of the seventh.

The MLB trade deadline is Tuesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time, and the Diamondbacks’ lone pitching acquisition thus far has been Andriese, who has allowed almost as many home runs (three) as he has logged innings (four) with the club.

“It is tough,” Andriese said. “I’m just trying to come over here and make a name for myself, obviously. First outing was good in San Diego, but the home runs have obviously put a damper on that.

“Today I felt good, but a 0-0 changeup to Odor in the zone and he hit it out. It’s very frustrating, but it’s baseball, I guess.”


Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. discusses his home run in the fifth inning of the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Rangers on Monday.
Atreya Verma, The Republic |

Andriese came back in the eighth inning and allowed a solo shot to Choo. In four innings with the Diamondbacks, Andriese has allowed eight hits, more than half the total outs he’s recorded with his new club (12).

Lovullo said he isn’t scared off by Andriese’s struggles and that he’ll continue to trust the right-hander out of the bullpen.

“There’s a very fine line there,” Lovullo said of how he’ll proceed with Andriese. “You don’t want to run away from using him. He’s still a member of that bullpen and as long as he’s out there I’m going to continue to use him. I need to find ways to use him in the best way possible.

“It just didn’t work out (tonight). I haven’t thought of what a plan will be because I don’t really have one. I’m going to give him the ball again and he’s going to have to go out there and perform.”