PHOENIX — It’s hard to know what to make of the D-backs’ offense right now.
Only five games into what will be a 162-game marathon and Arizona is a study in contradictions.
On one hand, their batting average is not good. They were far and away last in the Majors with a .129 mark coming into the game and their 4-for-40 performance in Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Astros at Chase Field raised it to just .130.
They’ve put up more than one run in an inning just twice this year — scoring four runs in the ninth on Opening Day to beat the Padres and they scored another four in the ninth on Sunday when they trailed the Padres 10-1.
They’ve scored 12 runs, which ties them for the fewest in baseball with the Mariners and Pirates.
“This group is very focused at the right time inside of the dugout, we’re just not getting the job done,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Our guys will. We’ve got to find a way to put some crooked numbers up there and break some games open.”
Inside those poor offensive numbers, though, is a team that seems to have a good approach at the plate as a whole, showing patience and working deep counts.
Tuesday night, they made Houston starter Luis Garcia throw 71 pitches, forcing him out after the fourth inning.
“We got into their bullpen in the fifth,” Lovullo said. “We’re doing a really good job with that. That’s part one — creating traffic — and that next part of it is to get some [slugging] and score some runs. But building innings is step one and we’re doing a nice job. So, yes, I was very satisfied with our approach. I thought we were seeing the baseball, driving up some pitches, pitch counts, per batter, and we had a number of walks [and] guys on the bases.”
That’s the other thing about the D-backs’ offense. While they might not be hitting they are drawing walks — 24 over their first five games.
“It’s one of those things where I feel like guys are putting together quality at-bats,” said Seth Beer, whose walk-off homer on Opening Day has been the season’s highlight. “And I think that’s a really good sign, especially early. It’s one of those things — sometimes baseball is just baseball and you can’t predict it, you can’t understand it. The only thing we can do is hit the ball as hard as [we] can and try to put [it] in a good spot, but — sometimes — guys are in those places.”
All and all, it’s a team working deep counts, having a good approach at the plate, but just not being able to capitalize when they get guys on base.
The D-backs are 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position, with all three of those hits coming during those two ninth-inning rallies.
“It’s so early, and if you look at some of the guys we had to face over the course of those games, there’s some pretty big names in there and a lot of those guys were on,” Beer added.
Through five games, the D-backs offense, though, has not been on and it’s something they need to figure out sooner rather than later.