The Arizona Diamondbacks were swept by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon and have now lost their last five games. Josh Collmenter pitched well, allowing only one run over his seven innings pitched, but the offense behind him again failed to kick into gear.
Over the course of their losing streak, the D-backs have been unable to score more than two runs in an individual game. As a team, Arizona has a dismal .147 batting average over that stretch. Star Justin Upton — who was not in the starting lineup on Sunday — has cooled down significantly over the series with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves, and no one has stepped up in his place.
The losing streak ties the team’s longest of the season, though their upcoming series against the Washington Nationals will provide a little relief from National League-leading competition. Though the team is arguably playing its worst baseball in months, they have maintained a little luck, with the San Francisco Giants nearly matching their losing game-for-game. This has allowed the Snakes to keep a 2.5-game lead in the division, despite their struggles.
For more coverage of the team’s struggles, head over to SB Nation blog AZ Snakepit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't just losing these games -- four straight now to the Phillies and Braves -- they are getting smoked. Gone are timely hits and gritty comebacks. Gone are much of any hits really. Hopefully, and most likely, this is just a slump caused by pressure of having to play above their heads to have a chance against better teams.
Make his MLB debut, LHP Wade Miley wasn't all that impressive. He went just four innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits. He did record five strikeouts and two walks. His stuff looked good against lefties but his low-90's fastball seemed too straight to be all that effective and his off-speed pitches weren't fooling anyone. Obviously, he was nervous and perhaps even tipping his pitches in the early innings before making an adjustment. We'll see how he does next time out.
The D-backs have one more chance at the Braves on Sunday morning. With Josh Collmenter on the mound they will try and avoid the sweep. 10:30 a.m. show time fo this one. Bring your coffee and rally caps.
The Diamondback bats fell familiarly silent Friday night in Atlanta, and the Braves rode three homeruns and a collection of strong pitching performances to defeat Arizona, 4-2, in the first game of the weekend series.
Michael Bourn homered off Daniel Hudson to lead off the bottom of the first inning and everything snowballed from there for the D-Backs. Atlanta's All-Star catcher Brian McCann followed up with a two-run shot in the bottom of the third, and Chipper Jones tacked on another blast in the sixth that pushed the Braves lead to four.
The Diamondbacks narrowed the gap in the top of the seventh when Sean Burroughs and Willie Bloomquist drew consecutive walks off left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty. After the pair moved to second and third on a fielder's choice, Justin Upton came up to the plate and knocked a two-run double to deep center. That would be all though, as Miguel Montero grounded out to second to end the inning with the following at-bat.
The D-backs had one final chance in the top of the ninth inning, as Kelly Johnson and Willie Bloomquist reached base on a bunt single and a walk, respectively. With two-outs, two-on, and a chance to tie the game, Upton stood toe-to-toe with Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, but weakly grounded out to end the game.
Derek Lowe (8-11, 4.73) picked up the win, pitching five superb innings while giving up just four hits and striking out seven. Kimbrel walked away with his major-league leading 38th save after completing a rocky ninth.
Hudson (12-9, 3.83) was unable to overcome the Braves power, notching his second loss of the month while giving up four runs over six innings.
After tearing through mid-August on a seven-game winning streak, the D-backs have now lost three straight. Luckily the Giants failed to muster up any offense against the mighty Houston Astros, so Arizona's lead in the NL West remains at 2.5 games.
The Diamondbacks (69-56) begin the second game of their series against Atlanta (74-52) tomorrow afternoon at 4:10 p.m. MT. Freshly called-up lefthander Wade Miley (0-0, 0.00) will make his first MLB start against Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43).