• J.D. Martinez on playing in the NL, seeing new pitching

    J.D. Martinez on playing in the NL, seeing new pitching

  • Lovullo raves about Greinke's outing vs. Braves

    Lovullo raves about Greinke’s outing vs. Braves

  • Zack Greinke discusses outing vs. Braves

    Zack Greinke discusses outing vs. Braves

  • Torey Lovullo and Robbie Ray discuss Diamondbacks' loss to Nationals

    Torey Lovullo and Robbie Ray discuss Diamondbacks’ loss to Nationals

  • Anthony Banda talks about his MLB debut

    Anthony Banda talks about his MLB debut

  • Lovullo reacts to the D-Backs' loss to the Nationals

    Lovullo reacts to the D-Backs’ loss to the Nationals

  • Diamondbacks edge Nationals in walk-off win

    Diamondbacks edge Nationals in walk-off win

  • Diamondbacks introduce J.D. Martinez at Chase Field

    Diamondbacks introduce J.D. Martinez at Chase Field

  • Torey Lovullo on Corbin's outing, series victory vs. Reds

    Torey Lovullo on Corbin’s outing, series victory vs. Reds

  • Patrick Corbin on his strong start vs. Reds

    Patrick Corbin on his strong start vs. Reds

  • J.D. Martinez talks about getting hit by a pitch vs. Reds

    J.D. Martinez talks about getting hit by a pitch vs. Reds

  • Manager Torey Lovullo on loss to Reds, Martinez's injury

    Manager Torey Lovullo on loss to Reds, Martinez’s injury

  • Zack Greinke on his outing vs. Reds

    Zack Greinke on his outing vs. Reds

  • Shot Clock: D-Backs seize moment with trade

    Shot Clock: D-Backs seize moment with trade

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' win over Reds, acquisition of J.D. Martinez

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ win over Reds, acquisition of J.D. Martinez

  • Shot Clock: Robbie Ray brings intensity to mound

    Shot Clock: Robbie Ray brings intensity to mound

  • Shot Clock: D-Backs fear Cubs; ASU's hot seat

    Shot Clock: D-Backs fear Cubs; ASU’s hot seat

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs' fifth straight loss

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ fifth straight loss

  • Zack Godley on rough start vs. Braves

    Zack Godley on rough start vs. Braves

  • Patrick Corbin goes five innings vs. Braves

    Patrick Corbin goes five innings vs. Braves

  • Randall Delgado on Braves' four-run, go-ahead rally

    Randall Delgado on Braves’ four-run, go-ahead rally

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose again vs. Braves

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose again vs. Braves

  • Torey Lovullo talks D-Backs' strategy in loss to Braves

    Torey Lovullo talks D-Backs’ strategy in loss to Braves

  • Taijuan Walker on his night vs. Braves

    Taijuan Walker on his night vs. Braves

  • Shot Clock: D-Backs' trade deadline ideas

    Shot Clock: D-Backs’ trade deadline ideas

  • Shot Clock: Playoffs for D-Backs and Suns?

    Shot Clock: Playoffs for D-Backs and Suns?

  • Diamondbacks fall 2-1 to Reds

    Diamondbacks fall 2-1 to Reds

  • Lovullo on the Diamondbacks' loss to the Reds

    Lovullo on the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Reds

  • Diamondbacks hold off Reds for 6-3 win

    Diamondbacks hold off Reds for 6-3 win

  • Shot Clock: 1 more chance for D-Backs' Rodney?

    Shot Clock: 1 more chance for D-Backs’ Rodney?

  • Fernando Rodney after blown save vs. Dodgers

    Fernando Rodney after blown save vs. Dodgers

  • Torey Lovullo after Dodgers sweep D-Backs in LA

    Torey Lovullo after Dodgers sweep D-Backs in LA

  • Robbie Ray on his outing, tough loss vs. Dodgers

    Robbie Ray on his outing, tough loss vs. Dodgers

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' second consecutive loss in LA

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ second consecutive loss in LA

  • Zack Godley talks about his outing vs. Dodgers.

    Zack Godley talks about his outing vs. Dodgers.

  • Gregor Blanco after D-Backs' loss to Dodgers

    Gregor Blanco after D-Backs’ loss to Dodgers

  • Shot Clock: How should Suns, D-Backs prioritize improvement?

    Shot Clock: How should Suns, D-Backs prioritize improvement?

  • Chris Owings on Kershaw's night, D-Backs' late push

    Chris Owings on Kershaw’s night, D-Backs’ late push

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' late push in loss vs. Dodgers

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ late push in loss vs. Dodgers

  • Dodgers vs D-Backs preview

    Dodgers vs D-Backs preview

  • Lovullo, Marte, Walker discuss D-Backs' walk-off win

    Lovullo, Marte, Walker discuss D-Backs’ walk-off win

  • Four Diamondbacks react to making NL All-Star team

    Four Diamondbacks react to making NL All-Star team

  • Archie Bradley on D-Backs' win over Rockies

    Archie Bradley on D-Backs’ win over Rockies

  • Zack Greinke on his effective outing vs. Rockies

    Zack Greinke on his effective outing vs. Rockies

  • Robbie Ray on his outing in loss vs. Rockies

    Robbie Ray on his outing in loss vs. Rockies

  • Chris Owings homers twice in loss to Rockies

    Chris Owings homers twice in loss to Rockies

  • Torey Lovullo talks loss to Cardinals

    Torey Lovullo talks loss to Cardinals

  • D-Backs GM on Chase Field humidor being pushed back

    D-Backs GM on Chase Field humidor being pushed back

  • Lovullo, Godley reflect on D-Backs' close loss

    Lovullo, Godley reflect on D-Backs’ close loss

  • Tony La Russa reflects on his baseball life

    Tony La Russa reflects on his baseball life

  • Torey Lovullo shares Tomas, Pollock, Ahmed injury updates

    Torey Lovullo shares Tomas, Pollock, Ahmed injury updates

  • Chris Herrmann walks it off for D-Backs

    Chris Herrmann walks it off for D-Backs

  • D-Backs' Torey Lovullo: "They fight until the final out"

    D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo: “They fight until the final out”

  • Chris Herrmann on first career leadoff home run

    Chris Herrmann on first career leadoff home run

  • Zack Greinke on outing vs. Phillies

    Zack Greinke on outing vs. Phillies

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' offensive execution in win

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ offensive execution in win

  • Diamondbacks-Phillies recap - June 26

    Diamondbacks-Phillies recap – June 26

  • Diamondbacks walk off Philies in extra innings

    Diamondbacks walk off Philies in extra innings

  • Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies | June 25, 2017

    Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies | June 25, 2017

  • Ray on his outing against the Phillies

    Ray on his outing against the Phillies

  • Torey Lovullo on Diamondbacks' loss to Phillies

    Torey Lovullo on Diamondbacks’ loss to Phillies

  • Lovullo discusses the Diamondbacks' win over the Phillies

    Lovullo discusses the Diamondbacks’ win over the Phillies

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs win series vs. Rockies

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs win series vs. Rockies

  • Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs' offensive outburst

    Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs’ offensive outburst

  • Zack Godley on strong outing at Coors Field

    Zack Godley on strong outing at Coors Field

  • D-Backs' Taijuan Walker on win over Rockies

    D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker on win over Rockies

  • Torey Lovullo after blowout win vs. Rockies

    Torey Lovullo after blowout win vs. Rockies

  • Torey Lovullo on decision to stick with Zack Greinke

    Torey Lovullo on decision to stick with Zack Greinke

  • Zack Greinke after loss vs. Rockies

    Zack Greinke after loss vs. Rockies

  • D-Backs suffer tough loss in Denver

    D-Backs suffer tough loss in Denver

  • Shot Clock: D-Backs, Rockies set for showdown

    Shot Clock: D-Backs, Rockies set for showdown

  • Torey Lovullo on Rey Fuentes' go-ahead homer

    Torey Lovullo on Rey Fuentes’ go-ahead homer

  • Rey Fuentes on hitting his first career home run

    Rey Fuentes on hitting his first career home run

  • Robbie Ray on his outing vs. Phillies

    Robbie Ray on his outing vs. Phillies

  • Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs' sixth consecutive win

    Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ sixth consecutive win

  • Jake Lamb on D-Backs' latest win over Phillies

    Jake Lamb on D-Backs’ latest win over Phillies

  • Torey Lovullo talks about his late father's support, guidance

    Torey Lovullo talks about his late father’s support, guidance

  • Torey Lovullo on his father's job in television

    Torey Lovullo on his father’s job in television

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' come-from-behind win over Phillies

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ come-from-behind win over Phillies

  • Gregor Blanco discusses his game-tying homer vs. Phillies

    Gregor Blanco discusses his game-tying homer vs. Phillies

  • Patrick Corbin on his performance vs. Phillies

    Patrick Corbin on his performance vs. Phillies

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' latest one-run win

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ latest one-run win

  • Taijuan Walker on his first outing back from the disabled list

    Taijuan Walker on his first outing back from the disabled list

  • David Peralta on his go-ahead homer in win over Tigers

    David Peralta on his go-ahead homer in win over Tigers

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs' win over Tigers

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ win over Tigers

  • Robbie Ray on D-Backs' win over Brewers

    Robbie Ray on D-Backs’ win over Brewers

  • Paul Goldschmidt on grand slam, offensive outburst

    Paul Goldschmidt on grand slam, offensive outburst

  • Godley on taking advantage of opportunity after D-Backs win

    Godley on taking advantage of opportunity after D-Backs win

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs' win over Brewers

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ win over Brewers

  • Randall Delgado on his rough outing against Brewers

    Randall Delgado on his rough outing against Brewers

  • Lovullo on Diamondbacks' loss to Brewers

    Lovullo on Diamondbacks’ loss to Brewers

  • Chris Iannetta on his career-high 7 RBIs vs. Padres

    Chris Iannetta on his career-high 7 RBIs vs. Padres

During a pitching change earlier this month in Atlanta, Diamondbacks infielders huddled near the mound and discussed their offensive predicament, one that dogged them then and still does today. Just a hit or two here or there, the players agreed, and everything would change.

For a while, the Diamondbacks struggles were easy to brush aside as a rough series or two. Or perhaps a rough week. But their offensive slide is approaching the four-week mark. Entering Monday, they had played 20 games since the slump began on June 28. They had lost 14 times.

Adding to the alarm is what has happened around them. Their deficit in the National League West had gone from 1 1/2 games to 11 1/2. And their lead on a wild card spot had shrunk from 10 1/2 games to 4 1/2.

Over the past month, their bullpen has coughed up costly, late-game runs. It seems they have stopped getting borderline calls from umpires or otherwise catching breaks they grew accustomed to getting early in the season. Their rotation has suffered a handful of rough starts. But, above all, it has been their offense that has vanished on them.

Closer Fernando Rodney blew that July 6 game against the Dodgers in nightmarish fashion; setup man Archie Bradley gave up the tying and go-ahead runs on July 14 in Atlanta; and starters Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley each turned in an ugly outing.

But in each of these losses – and in several others — the lineup has failed them, either in creating run-scoring opportunities or by failing to cash in on the ones they had. As a team, the Diamondbacks entered Monday hitting .223 and averaging just four runs per game since June 28. Before that, they had hit .266 as a team and averaged 5.3 runs.

The drop-off is most severe in their situational hitting. They were hitting .293 with men in scoring position through June 27. Since, they’re hitting just .224.

No one has seen their numbers fall more drastically than the player whose production is most critical to the Diamondbacks’ success: Paul Goldschmidt. Through the club’s first 78 games, Goldschmidt hit a staggering .442 with men in scoring position. Over the past 20, he’s gone just 3 for 17.

He’s not alone. Chris Owings was hitting .292 with a .796 OPS. He’s been hitting .221 with a .643 OPS during the skid. Brandon Drury was at .289 with a .807 OPS but has been at .241 with a .657 OPS.

And while the Diamondbacks’ catchers are viewed internally as a big reason for the club’s pitching turnaround, their poor offensive production is harder to overlook as others around them have failed to carry the weight. The catchers have hit a combined .225 during the team’s 20-game funk; Chris Herrmann has been especially bad, going just 5 for 48 (.104), though he logged many of those at-bats as an outfielder.

Some of the team’s struggles can probably be viewed as a harsh nosedive back to reality. Perhaps some of their hitters were producing over their heads, putting up numbers at unsustainable levels. A baseball season often has a way of balancing out the ledger.

How concerning is all of this? For manager Torey Lovullo, the answer is “minimal.” He sees a group of hitters whose approaches and attitudes have not changed and a team that, more often than not, is playing fundamentally sound games. This gives him confidence that things will eventually turn back around.

“Seasons are full of ups and downs,” Lovullo said. “We’re aware of the fact that this was a possibility. We’re not playing lousy, awful baseball. We’re just getting beat. When that happens, I’m OK with that. I just want us to digest it and get rid of it and get ready for the next day. That’s what I think we’ve been doing throughout this entire time.”

The Diamondbacks still have a lot of things going for them. They have a trio of starters atop their rotation in Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker that is perhaps as good as any in the league. They have a lineup that, though it hasn’t produced lately, includes Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and recently acquired J.D. Martinez, a group that stacks up with just about any other team in the league.

And even as teams like the Cubs and Pirates have made up ground in the standings, the Diamondbacks still control their own playoff destiny.

“Every team goes through this situation,” Peralta said. “We started really hot and everything was going in our favor, and right now things aren’t going the way we wanted, but we’re not giving up. We’re going to keep working. Things are going to turn back in our favor.”

MLB playoff picture: Diamondbacks’ grip on postseason berth slipping

More: D-Backs facing key questions as postseason pursuit resumes

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Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.