PHOENIX – When the Arizona Diamondbacks embarked on their recently concluded road trip a week ago, the feeling in the clubhouse was encouraging. The team was above .500 and a condition pundits believed could be unrealistic and far-reaching.
Still, a rising confidence level was detected in the clubhouse and a legitimate path forward, participants believed, was sensed to successful months of baseball ahead.
Alas, the Diamondbacks commenced that eight-game trip into their most infamous dungeon. That would be the treacherous Tower of London, or an enclave called Dodger Stadium. On the edge of Chavez Ravine, that edifice is traditionally a house of horrors for Arizona and the subsequent sweep of a four-game series set the Diamondbacks reeling.
To exhibit that changed make-up and mentality, the Diamondbacks responded and displayed a strong dose of resiliency and commitment. From that catastrophe in Dodger Stadium, the team recovered, shook off the shackles of this demise and traversed into Wrigley Field. Facing another four-game set, the Diamondbacks emerged on the verge of a four-game sweep in Wrigley.
A pair of eighth-inning homers first from the Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom and then the game-winner from Frank Schwindel on Sunday pulled out a 5-4 Chicago victory and avoided a cleaning from Arizona brooms. In the long-range of things, the season is protracted, and ebb and flow will occur. Witness recent events in Dodger Stadium and Wrigley Field. As a financial advisor counsels in times of turbulence, “stay the course.” That is clearly a perspective held in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse.
“We have been in a lot of games and won many,” said Daulton Varsho during the last homestand. “It’s been fun to be around these guys and it’s a young group. Lots of energy in the clubhouse and it’s been exciting.”
Opening a homestand Monday night, the Diamondbacks enter play with a record of 21-22 and two and one-half games behind San Francisco for the final wild-card spot. Compare that to the American League where the Chicago White Sox (21-20) are one game in back of Toronto for the final AL wild-card spot.
If the Diamondbacks’ mettle will be tested in the immediate future, that will come this weekend. That’s when the Dodgers visit Chase Field and in their previous series in the desert from April 25-27, Arizona took two of three.
“Every day is a test for us,” said manager Torey Lovullo during the last homestand. “Every day, we need to come out and bring it. I always believe someone will come up and get a big hit in a big situation. We have to keep plowing. We will cut you one hundred times to win a baseball game. That has to be our mentality. Give us someone to kick start this team and we’ll find a way to win a baseball game.”
If the upcoming calendar is a barometer, then four games with the Dodgers later his week should fuel Lovullo’s assertion.
Roster move – prior to Sunday’s game with the Cubs, the Diamondbacks recalled third baseman Drew Ellis from AAA Reno. To make room, the club optioned infielder Yonny Hernandez back to Reno. In 28 games with Reno, Ellis was hitting .238 with nine doubles, four homers, and knocked in 19 runs.
Next … the Diamondbacks return to Chase Field for that nine-game homestand against the Royals, Dodgers, and Braves. First up is Kansas City for two and that begins Monday night. Previously, the Royals visited Chase Field in 2005, 2008, and 2014. In those nine games, the Diamondbacks are 2-7. Right-hander Zack Davies (2-2, 4.35) opens the homestand for Arizona. … The Dodgers follow with those four and the defending champion Atlanta Braves conclude activities with three next week.