Looking a Little Rusty, Error Costs Diamondbacks DearlyPosted by Jeff Summers on Aug 20, 2010 in 2010 Regular Season | 0 comments
Just a day after the latest Diamondbacks bullpen implosion, the team was back on the field trying to avoid being swept by the red hot Cincinnati Reds. With the Diamondbacks facing a left-handed pitcher everyone expected changes to Arizona’s line-up.
Left-handed hitting catcher Miguel Montero was replaced by the right handed hitting John Hester. Left-handed outfielder Gerardo Parra was given the night off replaced by right handed Rusty Ryal. These changes were not earth shattering by any means and were somewhat expected.
Ryal has been one of the pleasant surprises for the season. Entering Spring Training he was considered a long shot to make the team. Instead he played himself into the 25-man roster being the last player to make the team.
Through the season he has shown his versatility playing left-field as well as first base and third base. For the most part he has played well defensively. There have been a few miscues but those are to be expected for a young player playing positions he may not be comfortable with in a game situation. The question becomes, how does a team react when these miscues occur?
In the eighth inning of last night’s game we received an answer to that question and it was not pretty. With the Reds up 4-1 the game had been turned over to the bullpen. That in and of itself warrants fear in the hearts of Diamondbacks fans.
After a scoreless seventh inning where Blaine Boyer pitched flawlessly, the Diamondbacks called upon D.J. Carrasco to pitch the eighth. Carrasco got Jonny Gomes to line out to right field and Ramon Hernandez to ground out to third base.
The next batter was Jay Bruce. Carrasco got ahead in the count 1-2 then threw a slider to Bruce. Bruce hit a line drive to left field directly at Ryal who had to make just a couple of steps forward to catch the ball.
As Ryal stood there waiting to catch the line drive the other players began to move towards the dugout to begin the bottom half of the eighth. Instead of catching the ball, it hit Ryal’s glove in the pocket and fell to the turf. Bruce was safe on the Ryal error.
With new life the Cincinnati Reds took advantage. Paul Janish walked on four straight pitches. The next batter was pinch hitter Laynce Nix who hit a single to Ryal scoring Bruce. Carrasco then walked Brandon Phillips and allowed Drew Stubbs to single to center field scoring Janish and Nix.
The Diamondbacks were forced to change pitchers bringing in Jordan Norberto to replace a suddenly ineffective Carrasco. Norberto gave up a double to Joey Votto scoring Phillips and Stubbs. Finally Scott Rolen grounded out to third base to end the inning.
In what should have been a one-two-three inning, the Diamondbacks allowed five runs all unearned. A 4-1 deficit was now 9-1 digging the offense an insurmountable hole. The Diamondbacks also used up another pitcher when they had to bring Norberto in to finish the inning.
Some may argue the Diamondbacks were behind three runs going into the inning so this error didn’t have much meaning. That might have been true except for the fact that the Diamondbacks mounted a comeback of sorts scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth cutting the Reds lead to 9-5.
If the Ryal error had not occurred the Diamondbacks would have gone into the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead. Given the bullpen’s struggles there is nothing to say that would not have disappeared too but we will never know. Instead the Diamondbacks dropped their fourth straight game and third consecutive this home stand.
In an unrelated note, I received clarification from the Arizona Diamondbacks on the season ticket renewal process. The renewal packages mailed to current season ticket holders stated the third payment for those fans choosing the Extended Auto Pay was due October 10th. This is in error. The actual deadline for the third payment is October 30th. The information is correct on the team’s web site but not in the printed materials sent to fans.