Early season offense woes plague Arizona Diamondbacks

PHOENIX – The dilemma now may be reaching beyond a point of frustration. The ineptitude of the Arizona Diamondbacks to hit a baseball for production and to produce runs has reduced this team to near ruin.

Coming into Tuesday night’s game with Houston, the Diamondbacks, as a team, was hitting .129 and only seven extra-base hits in their initial five games. Save a one-out home run from Christian Walker in the sixth inning Tuesday night, the bats continue to be sawed and piles of sawdust seem everywhere. In the end, a 2-1 loss to Houston before 17,674 in Chase Field was as difficult to accept as to acknowledge the current woeful journey. The defeat sent the Diamondbacks spiraling to their four straight defeat and a 1-4 start.

While the defeat was clearly exacerbated an already challenging situation, manager Torey Lovullo expressed confidence in his offense and in players to execute. Over the initial five games of the season, the Diamondbacks have put up a crooked number in only two of their first 45 innings. That would include an opening night, walk-off, three-run homer from Seth Beer, and a three-run blast in game three by Cooper Hummel. Otherwise, the Diamondbacks have managed only single runs in only four innings during those 45 innings.

“Our confidence is strong, and the guys are working hard,” Lovullo said after the game. “I see these guys every day, getting to it and banging the baseball around. This group is very focused but we’re just not getting the job done. We need to find a way to put some crooked numbers up there and break some innings open. Confidence wise, I think our guys are just fine.”

Outside of the round-tripper from Walker, the Diamondbacks struggled to put runners in scoring position against the Astros. Aside from Walker’s blast, Arizona put runners at second base only twice during the game. David Peralta doubled down the right-field line to open the fourth and a single and sacrifice bunt put a runner on second with one out in the ninth. From there, Geraldo Perdomo grounded the first, and Carson Kelly struck out to end the game.

On Tuesday, the offense generate just four hits and these were scattered across only four innings.

Elsewhere … The Diamondbacks received a better effort from Madison Bumgarner on his second start of the season. While the veteran left-handers lasted only three innings and an elevated pitch count of 68 against San Diego, he managed to last five innings and two batters into the sixth against Houston. His 77-pitch count was manageable and after the game, Bumgarner talked about his initial two starts. “Historically, I have started seasons pretty bad,” he admitted. “April has not been very good for me. These have been probably the best first two starts I’ve had to start the year.”

A change in the rotation … righthander Zac Gallen was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night. Gallen suffered a freak, household accident and pinched a finger and thumb on his pitching hand in an electrical box in the cupboard. Prior to Tuesday’s game with Houston, Lovullo said Gallen could start Saturday at Citi Field against the New York Mets. Former Met Zack Davies is scheduled to open the series in New York for Arizona. Bumgarner was moved up one day to start Tuesday night against the Astros. Right-hander Merrill Kelly is scheduled to close out the homestand and face Houston on Wednesday afternoon. Astros’ manager Dusty Baker will counter with left-hander Framber Valdez. … righthander Luke Weaver will not be available for the foreseeable future, according to Lovullo. After relieving in game one of the season, Weaver suffered a flexor strain and his time in the trainer’s room, going forward, is uncertain.

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