Not only did the Snakes lose the services of ace pitcher Dan Haren in a nothing trade with the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim, the sucktastic squad was also the victim of a series sweep by the San Francisco Giants after three straight losses this weekend.
As with most of their defeats in recent memory (and believe us, there have been plenty), the D-Backs fell to the Giants 'cause of the always-deadly combination of poor pitching and missed opportunities.
There were a few bright spots scattered among all the doom and gloom, including rookie pitcher Barry Enright (pictured) providing a relatively good performance on the mound and Kelly Johnson hitting for the cycle.
Johnson's hitting heroics came during Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Jints, when the second baseman became only the fourth Diamondback to achieve the honor by racking up a homer in the first inning, followed by a ground rule double in the fifth, a two-run RBI triple in the sixth, and finally a single in the eighth. It allowed his team to come back from a 3-1 deficient to lead the game, but ultimately proved to be all for naught, as errors and shortcomings from his teammates completely nullified his efforts. In addition to Edwin Jackson committing consecutive throwing errors in the top of the seventh inning -- which gave S.F. two unearned runs and turned the tide in their favor -- Arizona also stranded 14 runners on base.
Things got a lot worse on Saturday night during a 10-4 thumping by the visiting team. The Giants went 1-0 in the first (after an RBI single by Aubrey Huff), but the D-Backs and starting pitcher Ian Kennedy kept things close at 3-1 until the seventh, however, when San Francisco slugger Juan Uribe blasted a grand slam off Arizona reliever Sam Demel. (They added another three runs in the following frame just to pour some extra salt in the wound.) The thrill of the Jints' titanic victory was dimmed, however, by a scary moment in the fourth inning when an errant foul ball conked Eugenio Velez in the noggin, resulting in the S.F. infielder getting taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Arizona attempted to salvage at least one win during the series on Sunday and came close to doing so courtesy of the some outstanding pitching and hitting by Enright. The rookie pitcher did his damndest to match-up with S.F. all-star Tim Lincecum and might even have been bolstered by the announcement of the Haren trade, which came during the game. Other than a regrettable pitch to Buster Posey that yielded a run for the Giants in the first, Enright was on target with his tosses and also kept the Snakes in the game by knocking in an RBI double in the second to give his team a 2-1 lead. (He also later gave up another run to Huff during the fifth).
It's too bad Barry couldn't stay in the game past the sixth, however. With the score knotted 2-2 and the game stretching into the 10th, reliever Esmerling Vasquez cost Arizona a much-needed win by allowing another base hit by Posey, as well as the game-wining single by Travis Ishikawa.
The Diamondbacks (37-62) hit the road for a six-game road swing this week, starting off with a trip to Philadelphia to matchup with the Phillies (52-46) at Citizens Bank Park. The defending National League champions were just dealt two tough losses by the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Rodrigo Lopez (7-7, 3.40 ERA) will handle the ball for Arizona, while the Phil's call upon Cole Hamels (5-9, 4.58). First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. our time. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info at www.diamondbacks.com.