Travel schedule playing into D-backs' struggles

Travel schedule playing into D-backs' struggles

DENVER -- The red-hot Rockies had the D-backs staring at goose eggs inning after inning as they held Arizona scoreless for 8 2/3 innings Friday night and 7 1/3 innings Saturday night, taking the first two games of the three-game set. Starting pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa threw at least six scoreless innings each, the first time Rockies pitchers have accomplished the feat in back-to-back starts in nearly seven years.

But to hear Eric Chavez tell it, it wasn't the Rockies' pitchers keeping the D-backs down as much as their travel schedule, which had Arizona leaving New York after midnight following an extra-innings getaway night game on Thursday and landing in Denver shortly before dawn on Friday morning. Chavez came off the bench Saturday and put the D-backs on the board with a pinch-hit, two-run homer.

"We got in really late," Chavez said after Saturday's loss, referring to the early Friday morning arrival in Denver. "That scheduling thing -- I wish they would do something about that on travel days, because we were just flat. It took us seven or eight innings today to do something. I wish Major League Baseball would do something about that, because getting in at 5:30 is just not fair. I sound like a whiny baby, but it's the truth. We haven't been this flat all year. To me, if you want to put your finger on it, that's it."

The D-backs have more late getaway games coming up, including a late game in Los Angeles against the Dodgers on May 8, in St. Louis on June 6, and in Cincinnati on Aug. 21. Additionally, the D-backs host a number of late getaway games for visiting teams, including July 11 against the Dodgers and July 25 against the Cubs.

"It's part of it," Gibson said, though he downplayed using travel to explain his team's woes. "There's a lot of issues. Who really knows? It wasn't a great trip over here. We got out of there [New York] late, we got over here and I went to bed at 5. It's not ideal. But that's part of being a world champion is dealing with unideal situations. We'll come out of it."

Cody Ross, whose frustration over an 0-for-7 performance in the first two games of the series led to his ejection after a demonstrative bat flip when he was called out on strikes to end the seventh inning Saturday, agreed with Chavez about the impact of the late games on getaway day, when many teams schedule day games to accommodate travel plans.

"We definitely don't want to make excuses, and that's not an excuse, but it's definitely something we'll try to talk about in the next [Collective Bargaining] Agreement," Ross said. "It's not fun getting into a city at 4 or 5 in the morning and having to wake up and try to play a game at a high level. Every team does it, every year. Our energy isn't where it needs to be and we don't have the intensity and fire. We need to get that."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.