Before Saturday’s game, Diamondbacks’ manager Chip Hale opened some options for starter Jhoulys Chacin. Though the right-hander was a late-season call-up from the minors, Chacin may have turned a few heads with two quality outings in his first two starts for Arizona.
After released from the Colorado organization, the Diamondbacks signed Chacin to a minor league contact earlier this summer. After several strong outings, and going deep into games, general manager Dave Stewart, among others, became convinced Chacin was ready to regain major league teammates. It’s no secret the Diamondbacks starting rotation has been far from stellar, and any help would be welcomed.
Enter Chacin. After limiting the Cardinals to two earned runs in 6.1 innings on Aug. 24, Hale and other decision-makers decided to give Chacin a second start. From a competitive standpoint, Chacin did not disappoint again.
Going seven solid innings, Chacin left with the score tied Saturday against the Oakland A’s. Then, reliever Andrew Chafin gave up a run in the eighth and the A’s came away with 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks before 35,990 in Chase Field.
Chacin’s reward for turning in another quality star was a trip back to Triple-A Reno. After the game, Hale said Chacin would have another start with the Aces and then be brought back up as part of the September call-up of personnel. For his part, Chacin seemed disappointed, but now knows he belongs back in in the big leagues.
“I never had a doubt I could pitch up here again,” he said after he lowered his ERA to 2.70 for his two Arizona starts. “I felt good and want to go deep into games. Made two mistakes but otherwise, everything was good. My slider was good and I kept my sinker down. Just trying to make my pitch.”
The one pitch which did get away was a two-run homer from catcher Stephen Vogt in the second. From there, Chacin allowed only four base runners until he taken out. He pitched out of a first and second, one out situation in the fourth and a two-on and two-out in the sixth by striking out Brett Lawrie.
Calling his future with the Diamondbacks “intriguing,” Hale was quick to point out that Chacin could enter the conversation for starters in 2016. Overall, Hale praised the veteran right-hander for his effort and said the native of Maracaibo, Venezuela will rejoin the rotation after completion of the Reno season.
“(Chacin) did a great job, threw seven strong innings and was lights out,” Hale said. “He did a nice job and will be back here later.”
The loss went to Chafin, his first of the season after credited with five straight wins. In the eighth, the left-hander gave up a one-out single to Mark Canha, who moved to second on a ground out. Hale then had Danny Valencia intentionally walked and Vogt dropped a single into shallow left-field. Canha came around with the winning run and that sent the Diamondbacks to their fifth loss in their last six games.
With losing bad enough, the emotion of the moment caught up with Paul Goldschmidt. Usually placid and taciturn, Goldschmidt was called out in strikes twice and rapped into a double play in the fifth. Leading off the eighth, he was called out on strikes for the second time in the game and proceeded to repeatedly slam his bat off the bat rack in the corner of the dugout.
Afterwards, he declined comment on the emotion of the moment but did address a lack of production. Through the opening two innings, the Diamondbacks left five runners on bases and came away with no runs.
“You’re always frustrated in one way or another,” he said. “I was not doing my job and you need to find a way to get guys in. We had some good chances early in the game but need to get it done.”
After Vogt’s two-run shot to put the A’s ahead, the Diamondbacks came back to tie with a two-spot in the fifth. A. J. Pollock drove in Nick Ahmed, who doubled and ahead of a single from Ender Inciarte, who was on base four times with three singles and a walk. That brought Goldschmidt to the plate with runners at the corners and no out. When he grounded into that double play, Inciarte scored and tied the game.
As demonstrated in recent games, the Diamondbacks could not produce at crunch time. From the time they tied the game in the fifth, only two reached base the rest of the way. Here, Welington Castillo singled to lead off the sixth and Inciarte walked with two outs in the seventh.
During the game, a report from ESPN.com circulated that the Diamondbacks traded reliever Addison Reed to the New York Mets for two minor leaguers. The deal is pending because all players must pass physicals from their new teams.
After the game, Hale would not confirm the trade, only to say there was no transaction. When reporters entered the Diamondbacks clubhouse after the game, Reed’s uniform still hung at his locker, but he was seen hugging clubhouse personnel, a sign he was on the move.
In the final game of the home stand Sunday, the Diamondbacks will send right-hander Allen Webster to the hill against A’s right-hander Jesse Chavez (713, 4.00). Webster was recalled late Saturday from Triple-A Reno, and Chacin was optioned to the Aces.
“We have to have a starter for Sunday,” Hale said. “Reports indicate Webster has pitched well at Reno and, at this point, he fits the bill.”
At Reno, Webster was 3-6 and an 8.37 ERA for 14 starts. With Arizona in 2015, he is 1-1, a 6.86 ERA in five games, including four starts.