Shot Clock: Colin Kaepernick is better than Blaine Gabbert, right? So why did the Cardinals not sign him? Also, Zack Greinke has his Randy Johnson moment … what does it mean for Diamondbacks?
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Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke describes his night, in which he nearly threw a no-hitter against the Pirates.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reacts to Zack Greinke’s near-no-hit performance in Thursday’s win over the Pirates.
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Manager Torey Lovullo, right-hander Zack Godley and shortstop Nick Ahmed react to the 7-1 win.
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Manager Torey Lovullo and left-hander Robbie Ray react to the 7-3 loss.
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azcentral sports’ Sarah McLellan and Dan Bickley discuss the D-Backs’ difficulties on the road and the NBA’s big issue in the playoffs.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo says defensive miscues cost them in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker talks about his outing vs. the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin was charged with eight runs in four-plus innings against the Rockies on Saturday night.
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Manager Torey Lovullo didn’t think his team played fundamentally sound in Saturday night’s 9-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs in seven innings in a win over the Rockies on Friday.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo breaks down his team’s win over the Rockies on Friday night.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on Braden Shipley’s outing and his offense’s struggles vs. Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Braden Shipley gave up three runs in four-plus innings against the Nationals on Thursday afternoon. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s inability to come up with a hit in a key situation on Wednesday night, May 3, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray had everything working but still came away with a loss on Wednesday night in D.C., May 3, 2017. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said his pitching staff did well to hold the Nationals to three runs on Tuesday night.
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Taijuan Walker didn’t blame a small strike zone for his abbreviated, 4 2/3-inning outing on Tuesday night.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the Rockets’ explosion against the Spurs and a possible pitching implosion for the Diamondbacks.
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Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock speaks about the controversial call that went against him in the 10th inning of Arizona’s win over the Rockies on Sunday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks’ Daniel Descalso talks about his two-run, walk-off homer to beat the Rockies in the 13th inning on Sunday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses the team’s strong pitching fueling Arizona’s walk-off win over the Rockies on Sunday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin talks about his strong, scoreless outing against the Rockies in Sunday’s win. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
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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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Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?
Zack Greinke on his near no-hitter against Pirates
Lovullo reacts to Greinke’s near no-hitter in win
Diamondbacks snap losing streak with win over Tigers
Diamondbacks drop third straight with loss to Tigers
Shot Clock: D-Backs face pivotal homestand
Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ latest loss to Rockies
Taijuan Walker after loss to Rockies
Patrick Corbin after being roughed up by Rockies
D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo on ‘tough night’ at Coors Field
Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies
Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies
Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose series vs. Nationals
Braden Shipley after walking six in loss to Nationals
D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo after loss to Nationals
Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray strikes out 10 in loss to Nationals
Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ 6-3 win over Nationals
Taijuan Walker on his short start vs. Nationals
Shot Clock: Rockets sizzle, D-Backs fizzle?
A.J. Pollock on controversial play: “You guys saw the replay”
Descalso talks about walk-off home run over Rockies
Lovullo on pitching, more in D-Backs’ wild win
Corbin discusses his scoreless outing vs. Rockies
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
As much as Torey Lovullo likes to gush about his bullpen lately – and with good reason – the Diamondbacks still regularly face drama when save situations are on the line at the end of games.
Take Thursday night, when closer Fernando Rodney had to wait on a video-review challenge at second base before he could pluck his phantom arrow toward the moon. Though it was his ninth save in 11 opportunities this season, Rodney’s famous “la flecha” didn’t come without its share of nervous adventure.
He put Josh Harrison, the Pirates’ fastest player, on base with a walk in a 2-1 game in the ninth inning. And he was incredibly lucky that catcher Jeff Mathis gunned Harrison down on a stolen-base attempt with a perfect strike from his knees.
But a save is a save is a save, and as Arizona continued its four-game series against Pittsburgh at Chase Field, that’s all the Diamondbacks were concerned about on Friday. The players and the manager pronounced their complete conviction and trust in Rodney as their closer moving forward.
Never mind that he’s 40 years old and on his eighth major league team. Never mind that his 9.95 ERA entering the day was a full five runs higher than the next pitcher on the staff. And never mind the drama, either.
At a time when several other clubs have already had to change closers because of ineffectiveness or injuries, Rodney isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Though switches have been made in Milwaukee, Detroit, Baltimore, San Francisco, Washington and New York with the Mets, who visit on Monday, Arizona is sticking with the bearded Dominican with the crooked cap.
“I feel like for us to get to where we want to get to, we’re going to need somebody like Fernando, who has experience in that role, who has the stuff to get those last three outs of a game,” Lovullo said. “They’re hard outs. But you don’t fall into that role, you have to learn through experiences and you have to earn that spot.
“It’s a very tough position, but Fernando is the right guy. He has the track record in that he’s done it. There are going to be some hiccups .… There’s two blown saves in there and I’m sure there’s going be more. Nobody’s perfect. We know that. So were going to stand behind our guys, through the good and bad times, and get the most out of them that we can.”
Showing that type of supportive patience could go a long way in preventing Rodney from getting inside his own head and causing any needless doubt. Besides, as starting pitcher Taijuan Walker points out, Rodney’s bounced back and pitched well after he’s experienced some rocky ninth innings.
“He’s been really good as of late for us,” Walker said, “and I think he’s going to continue to be really good for us.”
You won’t find any arguments about that in any corner of the Diamondbacks clubhouse.
“You’re talking about a real small sample size right now,” center fielder A.J. Pollock said. “We’re not talking about he’s having a down season, right? We’re talking about a month in a year. His stuff is amazing. He’s got a great mindset. He’s a great team player. And we need him. We need the guy.
“We all have confidence in him. Torey keeps throwing him out there and nobody feels like he shouldn’t be out there. He should be out there every chance we get to put him out there.”
There hasn’t been a situation that Rodney hasn’t seen before and that type of experience, according to the veteran catcher Mathis, is ideal.
“He’s been around, done it everywhere and at a high level,” Mathis said. “We all have faith and confidence in him that he’ll get the job done.”
Though his ERA may be sky-high, Rodney’s nine saves are tied for second-most in the National League. That’s a pace that could see him finish the season with at least 40, an indication that these Diamondbacks just might be wild-card worthy, after all.
And if they were to be that fortunate, will Torey be as resolute in his confidence for the closer should a string of rough outings occur in July, August or September?
“I know late in the season things get a little bit more stressful. There’s very little wiggle room and every game matters,” Lovullo said. “But we’re taking the mindset that every game matters today, so we’re going to try to be the same today as we would be in August and September.
“But I can’t guarantee that. I don’t know what those months will bring. We’re going to put the best guys out there that are going to give us a chance to finish games, to perform during games, to get hits during games, to make plays during games. Everything gets magnified; we know what September baseball is like in this room. We’re going to try and win as many games as we can today and through the rest of the season.”
If Rodney stumbles late, there are options in the bullpen. The Diamondbacks could turn to Archie Bradley or J.J. Hoover or even Tom Wilhelmsen. They could bring back flamethrower Jake Barrett, who was just optioned to Triple-A Reno following an injury-rehab assignment.
Until then, Lovullo and the Diamondbacks are sticking with the 40-year-old.
“That’s part of the reason through this whole process when he was struggling that I believed in him, because there was still an aggressive fastball that was sitting in the mid-90s,” Lovullo said. “There was still great depth and great arm speed on his changeups.
“Now had his stuff dropped down to 88, 89 mph, than we’d be having a little different conversation. But the stuff is still there. … I still feel comfortable, despite the age, because his stuff comes out hot. I still feel comfortable, besides the age, because I know what he does behind the scenes to prepare himself and stay healthy.”