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PHOENIX — They’ve been without their top two hitters in Ketel Marte and Christian Walker. The backend of their bullpen has suffered the loss of Joakim Soria, Tyler Clippard and Chris Devenski.
Heading into Tuesday’s game against the Padres, which would turn out to be a 5-1 win, the D-backs had played the fewest home games in the big leagues (five).
Yet despite it all, the D-backs have managed to win eight of their last 11 games, including a 7-3 mark on their recent road trip, and are in a virtual tie with the Padres for third place in the National League West after starting the season at 4-8.
“It shows the trust in our guys,” catcher Carson Kelly said. “The trust in the guys that do come up and help us out. We’ve got a great organization, a great team, guys that back each other and are always pushing for each other. That’s what you need in a good team. We are young, but we rely on each other, help each other out. We’re just going to keep riding this wave together.”
This is the first time the D-backs have been above the .500 mark since Aug. 19 of last season, when they were 13-12.
“We’ve dealt with a lot of different circumstances,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We take that bend-don’t-break mindset, being adaptable and staying focused on what our task is each and every day. The ability for young players to step in and start to contribute and know they’re going to get an opportunity, has certainly helped us.”
Yet even with this win, there was more talk of injury as right fielder Kole Calhoun, who opened the season on the injured list following surgery on his right knee, injured his left hamstring stealing third base in the sixth inning.
Calhoun was immediately removed from the game and is scheduled to get an MRI on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury.
“Just kind of felt it as I slid into third,” Calhoun said. “I don’t know if it was the step before. Right when I came up I grabbed it. I was standing there for a minute and felt like the thing was going to absolutely lock up on me. I had to come out.”
Calhoun speculated that it’s possible he had been favoring his right leg because of the knee surgery, which could have put more strain on his left one.
“I’m getting tested a little bit right now,” Calhoun said.
The same can be said of the D-backs, who just completed a road trip in which they had their first baseman playing center field for the first time in his life because Tim Locastro, their only other true center fielder besides Marte, dislocated his left pinky and had to go on the injured list while they were in Washington.
They had a game in Cincinnati on the trip suspended after it rained, hailed and snowed and had to then play three games in the span of just about 24 hours.
Then in Atlanta, rain washed out a game, so they came back the next day and won both seven-inning games of the doubleheader, allowing just one hit total.
“I’m really proud of where we’re at,” Lovullo said. “But we got a lot more work to do. And we got to continue to earn things. And we got to continue to make the statements that we’ve made over the past couple of weeks. We are still growing and learning, and we are creating our identity every single day. I’m just looking for us to play consistent, smart, tough baseball and we’ll see where that takes us.”
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