Offensive rut continues for D-backs in loss

Offensive rut continues for D-backs in loss

PHOENIX -- These are tough times at Chase Field.

"It's not an upbeat atmosphere right now," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said.

Monday's 7-3 loss to the Dodgers was the fourth defeat in a row for the D-backs, who find themselves in last place in the National League West.

Their bullpen has been torched of late, but during this losing streak the offense is just as culpable, if not more so, having scored a total of nine runs during the drought.

"It's tough when guys go through these bad periods at the same time and you kind of start out the game not getting many hits, not getting many chances to score runs," third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "The other team jumps ahead and it's tough on us to come back. Early in the year we were going good, we were scoring runs early and giving our pitchers a chance to go out there and throw strikes and go deep into games. Right now, it's one of those times where you need to scratch something together, and we're not able to do that."

After being swept over the weekend by the Brewers, the D-backs were hopeful that a visit from the NL West-rival Dodgers would help jump-start them.

The teams traded solo home runs in the second before the Dodgers grabbed the lead one inning later on an RBI single by Manny Ramirez.

Then in the fifth, the Dodgers increased their lead to 4-1 thanks to a two-run double by Andre Ethier.

That was all that Rodrigo Lopez (1-2) would allow in his seven innings.

"He battles," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Lopez. "When he locates his pitches, like all pitchers, he's effective."

The Dodgers tacked on three runs in the ninth for good measure off the bullpen, but given the way the Arizona offense is swinging, they weren't necessary.

"The first couple of days you know it just happens," outfielder Chris Young said of the offensive slump. "But now it's to the point where when there are runners in scoring position we have to find a way to get it done. We need to be a little better with our timely hitting. We just didn't give 'Lopey' enough support tonight."

Young was a bright spot at the plate for the D-backs, hitting a homer in the second and drawing a pair of walks.

"Much of our identity, at least early on, was about our quality at-bats, and they are few and far between," Hinch said. "You get into these ruts where it feels like everything is going wrong, certainly on the offensive side, you get out of sorts. You start swinging at ball four, you start swinging at ball five, you start swinging at pitches that are borderline, it feels like every call is against you. It's a tough cycle to get out of. It's difficult to put together rallies that way. It hasn't been a good homestand."

No it hasn't, but it's not over yet and the D-backs have a chance to salvage what they can in the final two games against the Dodgers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

What do they need to do in order to do that?

"I wish I knew," Reynolds said. "Right now, it's just baseball, it's a wacky game. normally when teams struggle like we're doing they normally have one or two guys who are picking up the slack. We don't have anybody."

Said Young, "Keep playing. That's all you can do. We don't have any other choices. We have to show up here tomorrow and we have to play the Dodgers. You don't have a choice. You suck it up. We've been here before and we've had to fight out of it before. There's not new stress, you don't put more pressure on yourself, you just go out there and take care of business."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.