Starting Pitching is Strong for Dbacks; Fall 2-1 to Pirates

By: Kayla Mortellaro

PHOENIX, Ariz.— The Diamondbacks received another quality start from a pitcher Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, although the Dbacks lost 2-1 at Chase Field.

Rubby de la Rosa delivered a 7 inning, 4 hit, 1 earned run and 8 strike out performance in the losing effort. De la Rosa tied a career-best performance with his eight strike outs, something he has done four other previous times with the last one coming August 21, 2014.

The starting pitchers have now given the Diamondbacks nine-straight quality starts, combining for a 2.07 ERA, allowing just one home run and 14 runs total.

“I think they build off one another,” catcher Tuffy Gosewisch said about the team’s starting pitchers. “I think that they see each other doing well and it gives them all confidence. We have a good line-up, we haven’t scored runs the last two games but we do have a good line-up and I think that gives the starters confidence.”

Arizona started the season with many speculating about the quality of the starting rotation and believing the relievers would be relied upon heavily. Currently, the starters are on a roll and have given the ball club the second longest streak of quality starts since 2008.

“I think they are just continuing to get better and grow as a staff,” Gosewisch said.

Brad Ziegler came on in the eighth and provided a one-two-three inning for the Diamondbacks. In the process, Ziegler broke Jose Valverde’s all-time appearances record, now appearing 254 times.

“He’s been great,” manager Chip Hale said about Ziegler. “Every time we’ve used him, I mean, he’s come in against hitters that he matches up well and gotten them out and ones that are tough for him to get out and he’s gotten them out too. He’s been excellent all year for us.”

The Diamondbacks were tied with the Pirates heading in to the 9th inning when Addison Reed came to the mound. Reed managed to get the first two batters out quickly but ended up allowing three hits and ultimately the game winning run.

“First two guys felt good and then I was falling behind in the count and that’s never a good thing,” Reed said. “I think I fell behind 2-0 to Walker and he hit a fastball up in the zone and then the one to Marte was a slider.”

With the loss, the Diamondbacks are a below .500 ball club at 8-9 on the season. As disappointing as the missed opportunity was for the young club to get a win, there are many positives to take away. At this point last year, the Dbacks had already racked up 19 losses.

New has been good to the Diamondbacks so far. The top of the order has shown success at the plate, even though the bats went cold tonight and the team’s situational hitting failed to drive in more than one run of the eight hits.

AJ Pollock is hitting a career best .351 with 1 HR and 7 RBI through 17 games. The team’s super star, Paul Goldschmidt, despite going 0-4 on the night, is hitting .298 with 5 HR and a National League leading 16 RBI.

The bats had a chance in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game. Yasmany Tomas came in to pinch hit with two outs and Cliff Pennington on first. Tomas had the count at 2-2 before fouling back three-straight pitches. It had the making for a successful moment for the young-Cuban sensation. He then grounded-out to end the game.

Hale talked after the game about how the game doesn’t come down to just one player and that all nine guys need to contribute.

“It’s not a one-man game,” Hale said. “And that’s what we have to remember, too. When Goldy’s not getting hits, other guys have to pick him up. It’s hard on your super-star when the other guys aren’t chipping in.”

Hale admitted that the Pirates have demonstrated a winning formula to his young team after watching Pittsburgh capture the series win by taking games one and two. And that winning is happening despite Pirates star Andrew McCutchen batting .185 and on a five-game hitless streak.

“Those guys are right now picking him up [McCutchen], which is how a winning team is formed, and they are showing us,” Hale said. “That’s what we need to try to do is get our other guys helping out. And when we get opportunities, like we had tonight, to cash in.”

The Diamondbacks will try to capitalize on opportunities and avoid the sweep tomorrow at Chase Field. First pitch is 1:10 p.m. with Jeremey Hellickson on the mound for the Diamondbacks against Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano.