05/12/10 2:33 AM ET
D-backs get no relief in fifth straight loss
Haren fans 10, but bullpen unravels in seven-run eighth
By Jason P. Skoda / Special to MLB.com
But make no mistake: There will be repercussions.
It might be something as subtle as smaller crowds until fans regain some faith or something as harsh as the front office making the decisions that put the Major League status of several players in jeopardy.
No matter what the shakeout might be, the D-backs' fifth straight home loss on Tuesday -- a 13-3 setback to the Dodgers in which the bullpen unraveled -- is making things awfully uncomfortable at Chase Field.
"Something has got to change, but 10 minutes after this game, it is hard for me to confirm what that change is," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't know. Something has got to give. This is going on entirely too long. Frustrating is the easy word to use. It's pathetic or you can use any word you want to use. It's not acceptable at this level.
"What changes does that mean? As of right now, their [bullpen] roles are clearly up in the air. As for personnel, something has to give."
The D-backs fell behind, 4-0, after seven innings as Dan Haren (4-2) had a weird night -- recording the first nine outs by strikeout for a franchise record but was hit hard in the middle innings.
Haren was touched up in the fourth in by three straight doubles to score two runs as James Loney, Casey Blake and Ronnie Belliard all went to right-center field.
The Dodgers added another in the sixth on consecutive singles by Manny Ramirez and Loney to start the inning, and after a sacrifice bunt by Blake, Belliard singled home Ramirez.
Haren allowed 10 hits, four earned runs with one walk and 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
"They made some real nice adjustments off me and it's a quality lineup," Haren said. "I left some balls out over the plate and they went with them. Not great pitches and the margin for error was kind of small."
Haren, who shouldered some of the blame saying he hasn't pitched well enough to win at times, said the clubhouse is starting to get a little tense.
"It's real tough and I am at a loss for words," said Haren, who has given up 27 hits in his past three starts. "It's not a good atmosphere in here right now. We had a good road trip [6-5] and then we came home and it seems like we have been real flat every day. It's not fun to watch."
The offense, which has scored 12 runs in the past five games, eventually showed some life against starter John Ely, who picked up his first Major League win, and the Los Angeles bullpen as Kelly Johnson's double off reliever George Sherrill in the seventh closed the D-backs within 4-3.
"We are not finding holes and we are not taking pitches we should take some times," third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "It's frustrating."
This is where the story gets redundant.
Reliever Juan Gutierrez came in to start the eighth and promptly gave up four earned runs, three of which came on a one-out home run near the left-field foul pole to Russell Martin for a 7-3 lead.
If it ended there, then there might be some solace that only one reliever was pounded, but Daniel Stange gave up three earned as he walked three of the five batters he faced and Blaine Boyer gave up two more (unearned) to make it even uglier.
"I'm running out of words to describe it," Hinch said. "Walks are lethal in the bullpen and it can't happen at this level. If you give extra baserunners or you give a team extra outs when a team is down like we are you get what you deserve."
The D-backs get one more shot at winning a game on the six-game homestand Wednesday against the Dodgers before taking off to Atlanta and Florida.
"We have to show up tomorrow with a will to win," Hinch said. "We are professionals here. There is no room for pouting, no room for crying and no room for complaining or whining. As far as position players, when you get in the batter's box it is you against that pitcher. It would be a sad state of our team if someone is worried about last night's eighth inning or two weeks ago's seventh inning for that matter.
"In that regard, you challenge your team. You got to play the game, you have to play 27 outs and if we continue to carry this excess baggage in then we will continue to get what we deserve. If we are a weak-minded team, then we are going to fester in our own mess."
Jason P. Skoda is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.