The season may be unofficially over, but the Diamondbacks continue to reflect manager Chip Hale’s character. High energy and volatile, Hale’s drive and determination was felt all season and filtered from the Salt River training site to Chase Field.
Though the team fell on difficult times over the past few weeks, Hale continually tells listeners that he oversees a band of intrepid warriors whose quest remains relentless. Hale wants his team to be focused and driven and despite placement out National League West contention, the Diamondbacks continue to be a determined lot.
Recovering from the lethargy of Monday night’s dreadful loss the Padres, the Diamondbacks seemed to sleep-walk through the first six innings Tuesday night. Then, erupting like Mount Vesuvius and taking on Hale’s aggressive disposition, they exploded for five runs in the seventh, and that carried Arizona to a 6-4 victory over the Padres before 17,531 in Chase Field.
Part of the explosion was due in part to the departure of Tyson Ross, the San Diego starter. Describing a nasty assortment of pitches which Ross delivered, Hale said he was happy see the right-hander exit after six innings.
While the Diamondbacks managed that five-spot, catalyst to the win was a three-run homer from A. J. Pollock. Depositing the first pitch from reliever Kevin Quackenbush into the left field bleachers, Pollock slammed his 17th of the season with two on in the seventh and that increased his RBI production to 67, third on the third.
“Any time you get a starter out by the fifth or sixth, you have a good chance to win,” Pollock said. “With first and third in that situation, I just wanted a shot to get a run in and to be ready. It was a fast ball, and I was looking for a fast ball.”
Because the Diamondbacks are not seriously engaged in the quest for the National League West title, key players like Paul Goldschmidt and Pollock tend to fly under the radar screen. After the game, Hale said, because his team is not in the pennant race, “each guy in the clubhouse is underrated.”
Throughout the season, it seemed the Diamondbacks depended on Pollock, Goldschmidt and David Peralta to come through in the clutch. On Tuesday night against the Padres, it was Pollock’s turn and his response with that three-run blast drew praise.
“We kind of expect (Goldschmidt and Pollock) to come through almost all the time,” said reliever Brad Ziegler, who earned his 26th save of the season. “After what Pollock did, you think the team has confidence in the bullpen to lock it down.”
Down 2-0 and 3-1, the Diamondbacks bats fell silent to Ross. Over his six innings, Ross, a 27-year-old out of Berkeley, Calif., allowed only four hits and one run. Once he left, the offense jumped on relievers loser Bud Norris and Quackenbush to gain the lead.
At the same time, starter Jhoulys Chacin gave the Diamondbacks five solid innings. Though he did not get the win, Chacin lowered his ERA to 2.95 in three starts for Arizona.
“I made pitches when I had, and my ball was moving,” he said. “I had good control and just wanted to give the team a chance to win.”
Trailing 2-1 when he left, Chacin, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, has allowed 15 hits in 18 innings and six earned runs in three Arizona starts since a recall from Triple-A Reno. While Arizona decision-makers refuse to answer any questions about 2016 personnel, Chacin threw his hat in the ring.
“I like it here, and know a lot of guys,” he said. “Yeah, I would like to stay here.”
SOME NUMBERS, PLEASE
With the save Tuesday night, Ziegler recorded his 24th consecutive save. That is four saves short of the club record turned in by J. J. Putz from July 27, 2011 to April 12, 2013.
Now with 26 saves on the season, that number far exceeds any career mark. Essentially a set-up reliever, Ziegler was given the closer’s job when Addison Reed and Enrique Burgos failed in that role. Ziegler’s previous best was 13 saves during the 2013 season.
The Padres help close the home stand Wednesday night. That’s when lefty Robbie Ray (4-11, 3.54 ERA) takes on right-hander Andrew Cashner (5-15, 4.27) at 6:40 p.m., MT.