The Diamondbacks can only hope their offensive outburst on Sunday is a sign their hitters are ready to put another sustained slump behind them. Anyhow, they have to ponder a question that has now haunted them for parts of five seasons: Why do they keep happening?
The Diamondbacks had a .200 batting average in June before their season high of 13 hits in an 11-7 win over the Detroit Tigers. They opened the month by being ruled out three times in five games. More recently, they’ve lost five straight games in large part because their offense totaled 25 hits.
Of course, every team goes through tough times at the plate; Over the weekend, the New York Yankees, who have scored the most runs in the majors, went 16 straight innings without a hit, the longest streak of its kind in more than 60 years.
But the Diamondbacks have been defined in part in recent years by their long offensive blackouts. They fell into her in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons, stretches that lasted several weeks at a time and helped derail her seasons. They weren’t immune to it last year either, although the absence of injured players provided understandable explanations for some of those problems.
More:Pitching matchups for the Arizona Diamondbacks-San Diego Padres series at Chase Field
The protracted slumps likely played a role in the club changing their batting coaches twice in recent years, cutting ties with Dave Magadan after 2018 and moving from Darnell Coles midway through last season. Joe Mather took over as batting coach this year.
Additionally, the Diamondbacks’ roster of positional players has changed almost entirely over the past five seasons, from a group of veterans in 2018 to a far younger group this season. Only Ketel Marte and David Peralta remain as everyday players.
Manager Torey Lovullo said the issues surrounding the offense have become an internal issue for the organization again over the past week, particularly in relation to why not just one or two hitters seem to be funking up at a time, but it is instead are almost the entire cast.
“When it spins, it spins as a group,” Lovullo said. “I don’t know. I don’t know that answer. It’s not something I want to address and say that I’m not sure about, but we’re trying to figure out why it’s happening. It’s happening. I’m not going to deny it.”
There can be a number of reasons that help explain it. From Goldschmidt to Marte to Daulton Varsho, the Diamondbacks have relied too much on one player to carry the load. When this player has gone cold, the offense tends to have problems.
Beginning in late April, Varsho enjoyed a month-long stretch in which he achieved .315 with a .931 OPS. He had powered a Diamondbacks offense that ranked sixth in the majors in OPS during that time. But since being hit by a pitch on May 27, he’s gone on with just a home run 15 for 85 (.177). The offensive sagged with him.
Another possibility could be the strength of the pitching staffs the Diamondbacks faced during their down periods, although this recent stretch — which included games against the Reds, Pirates and Tigers — doesn’t appear to be a competition quality issue.
Lovullo seemed to think inexperience was a factor lately. The Diamondbacks are a young team; The average age of their position players, 27, is the second youngest in the National League, behind only the Pirates, according to Baseball-Reference calculations.
“I think everyone up there is trying to do too much,” Lovullo said. “Sometimes it’s a young team. Not every player on our team is young – I’m not using that as an excuse – but young players come to the plate with a must-must mentality. I just want them to walk up to the plate and say, ‘I’m in control of my at-bat and I’m going to play this at-bat.’ If we do that, we will be fine.”
Mather, who leads a four-person squad of batting coaches, touched on some of the same points as Lovullo, particularly regarding the pressure batsmen put on themselves to get through key situations. The Diamondbacks are bottom in the majors with a .212 average with runners in goal position and only averaged a .175 in those situations in June.
“I think it’s important to realize that everyone just has to do their job at the plate,” Mather said. “There’s no more pressure on our guys, there’s more pressure on the pitcher. That’s a message we’re trying to get across: He’s in trouble. That’s the truth. He’s in trouble. He has to pitch. wait for him You don’t want to throw a mid-mid pitch there. They don’t try to reverse strikes. They try to make great pitches and chase (induce) them. If we know that, we can usually be a little more patient.”
The Diamondbacks had a busy Sunday. They went 5 for 12 with men in the scorer position. In addition to the 13 hits, they drew eight bases on balls. And Varsho reached the base three times, including a triple explosion that sent the game out of range.
“I don’t think anyone is where they want to be in this game,” Varsho said. “You’re always trying to tinker and try to bring out the best in yourself. You try to keep working and strive to be the best.
“Sometimes you go through a funk over the course of the year. Hopefully I can get out of this thing.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.