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Diamondbacks are falling behind almost every series

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Diamondbacks are falling behind almost every series

PHOENIX —  The Arizona Diamondbacks have started nearly every series this season behind, falling to 3-14 in openers on Friday with a 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins.

Miami left-hander Braxton Garrett threw a complete-game shutout at Chase Field, the first complete game against the D-backs since Walker Buehler of the Dodgers in April 2022.

The lack of any traction offensively spoiled a Zac Gallen start in which he threw seven innings with three earned runs.

“It’s nice to win the first game of a series but it doesn’t guarantee you’re gonna win a series,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I just want us playing engaged baseball. When we do we’re really good and when we don’t it looks like we’ve lost a little bit of focus and we’re not staying with our approach or our plan. It ends in games like tonight.”

Arizona’s three wins to start series have been against the Rockies and Reds (x2). In contrast, the D-backs are 10-6 to end series.

Garrett worked through 31 hitters with 95 pitches, 71 strikes.

There have been only seven complete games thrown with 95 pitches or fewer since the start of 2021. Garrett struck out only six batters, but he induced 15 groundouts and did not walk anyone.

He never threw more than 13 pitches in any inning, as the sinker was successful in putting the ball on the ground.

“Two-seam seemed at the bottom of the zone, couple four-seamers … a really good changeup and got us in heavy swing mode,” Lovullo said. “The way you counter a sinker ball pitcher is you got to see the ball up and get really stubborn at the bottom of the zone. We didn’t do that today.”

“You want to wait him out to get better pitches to hit but it also felt like everybody’s starting 0-1 or 0-2,” first baseman Christian Walker said. “When he’s filling up the zone like that, we got to swing.”

The first inning was the only frame in which the D-backs had multiple base runners after an error by third baseman Jake Burger and a Walker single.

Arizona’s first ball hit in the air came in the fourth inning.

The Marlins have the second worst record in the National League, but they have shut out their opponents in five of the last nine games.

Lovullo brought up a related shortcoming to Arizona’s series opener woes during the pregame media session unprompted. The club is now 1-6 record after off days.

Lovullo and bench coach Jeff Banister started the conversation about performing after off days last week, and the staff has started to pay closer attention to it.

“I don’t like off days, sometimes they do throw a wrench into things,” Walker said. “You just get into such a routine of playing every day and seeing a certain amount of live stuff … I think it’s something everybody handles it differently.”

The D-backs were 2-5 after off days at this point last year and then won three straight such games, so perhaps it’s a “Much Ado about Nothing” strange-but-true baseball result. Lovullo said he has not noticed a difference in the work or intensity, but it’s an identified trend and solutions will be further discussed.

Zac Gallen gives Diamondbacks a shot

Gallen said postgame he felt too straight toward home, not finding the right feel with his delivery until late. Miami put the barrel on the ball with 13 shots over 95 mph, a season high given up by Gallen.

But he kept the damage low after falling behind 2-0 in the second inning, using a couple double plays to his advantage.

“Obviously gotta be able to correct it a little bit sooner, but I’m just trying to make pitches,” Gallen said. “It’s a team that likes to swing. I got in some bad counts and had some pitches in not ideal locations that resulted in some hard contact. But I’ll take a grinder seven innings, three runs.”

Gallen has four straight starts of at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs.

Zac Gallen vs. Jazz Chisholm Jr.

Gallen faced Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. three times, a matchup between players traded for each other at the 2019 deadline.

Chisholm, a former D-backs top prospect, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and is now 0-for-12 against Gallen for his career.

Did Ketel Marte extend his hitting streak?

Ketel Marte’s 21-game hitting streak came to an end, as he finished 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a strikeout against Garrett.

Marte saw six pitches over his final three at-bats.

Short game

Friday’s game ended in one hour and 58 minutes, the second sub-two-hour Diamondbacks game of the season at Chase Field. That was the quickest game at Chase Field since August 2008 against the Pirates (1:55).

Diamondbacks’ next game

Arizona left-hander Jordan Montgomery will get the ball Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. Miami will start right-hander Sixto Sanchez.

Catch the game on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app.

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