If you're one of the few remaining Diamondbacks fans that still believes the beleaguered baseball squad will somehow reverse its fortunes and grab a spot in this year's playoffs, Arizona's loss to the Cincinnati Reds earlier today must've been tough to watch.
After the first six innings, it appeared as though the D-backs were on course this afternoon to snap their five-game losing streak and salvage at least one win during their current series with the Reds. They had a 2-0 lead after a bases loaded balk by Cincinnati's Mat Latos in the first and an RBI double by rookie Jake Elmore in the fourth. Arizona's Patrick Corbin was doing exceptionally well on the mound, having fanned eight and recorded only a pair of hits.
And then it all went to hell quickly.
The 23-year-old starting pitcher gave up a double to Cincinnati's Todd Fraizer, followed immediately by a homer from Chris Heisey. Two batters later, Corbin's two-seam fastball became a souvenir for a Chase Field patron in the left field seats after Dioner Navarro whacked a 415-foot moonshot. Latos then proceeded to knock a single into left.
Guess Corbin didn't heed the mistakes of Joe Saunders, who was traded to the Baltimore Orioles last week after giving up multiple runs in a single inning earlier in August. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, however, obviously gained some wisdom from that particular debacle: Instead of leaving his troubled pitcher in the game, a la Saunders, he sent Corbin to the dugout.
Setup man Matt Albers got almost identical treatment in the eighth inning as he also fell victim to a Heisey homer, as well as a two-run dinger by Brandon Phillips. Bryan Shaw was able to stop the bleeding in the final frame, but by then it was too late.
After being swept by the Reds, who currently sport the best record in baseball and are being compared to the Big Red Machine of the 1970s, Arizona (64-67) is now a full nine games behind the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants.
While the aforementioned optimists of the Diamonbacks Nation are hoping against hope for a miracle turnaround, it's incredibly unlikely that such a thing will happen. With Wade Miley as the team's only truly reliable pitcher and a dugout filled with cold bats, the D-backs aren't exactly capable of pulling off a feat similar to the St. Louis Cardinals amazing turnaround from last season.
Of course, we've been proven wrong before. If Arizona is going to pull a 180, they'd better do it starting tomorrow, as they begin to face only division foes for the final six weeks of the 2012 campaign (save for their season-ending series with the Chicago Cubs).
The D-backs kickoff an 11-day road trip through California on Thursday when they travel to Chavez Ravine to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers before heading to the Bay Area to face the San Francisco Giants and then down to Petco Park to go against the San Diego Padres.
Ian Kennedy (11-11, 4.44 ERA) gets the honors during tomorrow night's game versus the Dodgers, who will send out the Cy Young-winning Clayton Kershaw (12-7, 2.84). If Kennedy can curtail his problems and bring back whatever magic he had last season, the game might turn into a duel between aces. If he can't, then it's likely to be a slaughter. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.
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