The Arizona Diamondbacks fell out of first place in the National League West with a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday night at Chase Field. The struggling Cubs came into the contest ten games under .500. Arizona was out-hit 11-6 and has now lost four of its last five games.
D-backs starter Tyler Skaggs' final line was actually pretty good despite being handed the loss. He worked six innings, gave up seven hits and three earned runs while striking out six. Unfortunately for Skaggs, two of the seven hits were home runs; Dioner Navarro had a solo shot in the second inning, and Junior Lake had a two-run homer in the fifth. It was Lake's first Major League home run.
Skaggs may also have changed the location of his pitches after the fourth inning. Both benches were warned by home plate umpire Doug Eddings after Skaggs hit Navarro in the leg with two outs in the inning. D-backs Manager Kirk Gibson said he felt Skaggs didn't throw inside after the warning and was throwing mostly off-speed stuff after that point.
As for Arizona's offense, they struggled mightily once again aside from the two runs scored in the sixth on RBIs from Martin Prado and Paul Goldschmidt. They had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out trailing 3-2, but they couldn't get anybody in after Adam Eaton hit a fly ball to center field that wasn't deep enough to score a run. A.J. Pollock followed with another flyout to center field.
Chicago starter Chris Rusin kept the D-backs off balance. Rusin is now 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against Arizona, but 1-3 with a 7.39 ERA against other teams.
With the D-backs' loss to the Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers' win over the Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona is in second place in the NL West for the first time since May 16th.
The lone bright spot for the D-backs Monday night was the performance of shortstop Didi Gregorius at the plate. He finished 3-for-3 with a walk and a double batting eighth in the order. He's now hitting .282 on the season.
The Diamondbacks' offense has been atrocious. As a team, Arizona is hitting .194 in its last ten games and .143 with runners in scoring position in its last seven. The team's four-hole hitter Aaron Hill was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two flyouts on Monday.
Sixty-one of the Diamondbacks' 99 games this season have been decided by two runs or less. They are 34-27 in those games.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt continues to impress. He is the second player in the Majors with at least 10 stolen bases and 20 home runs. The other player is the Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez.
He Said It:
"Well I've been through many of these as a player and as a coach and as a manager. The guys are working hard on it but things aren't coming very easy for us. We had six hits tonight. Didi had three of them and two of them were bloops. The guys are hustling but it's just the way the games go sometimes. We've had it be the other case before too. We'll come out tomorrow; we've got Patrick on the mound, and we'll try to have better results." -- Manager Kirk Gibson on his team's offensive struggles
The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field on Tuesday to play the second of this four-game series against the Cubs. Lefty Patrick Corbin will be on the hill with an 11-1 record and a 2.35 ERA. In 10 home starts this season, he's 7-0 with a 1.54 ERA, giving up just 12 earned runs in 70 innings. This will be Corbin's third career game against the Cubs, but just his second start against them.
Opposite Corbin will be lefty Travis Wood for Chicago. Wood is 6-6 on the season with a 2.79 ERA. In his career against Arizona, he's 1-3 with a 6.33 ERA and has 20 strikeouts and seven walks against the club.