D-backs look to cut down on strikeouts

Lineup recorded 32 strikeouts over last 2 games

D-backs look to cut down on strikeouts

PHOENIX -- Several months ago in Spring Training, D-backs manager Chip Hale said the club put a strong emphasis on striking out less and taking a better approach at the plate with two strikes.

But just past the season's halfway point, the strikeout totals have slowly been rising. That includes during the team's current rough stretch, when they have lost eight of their last 10 games.

Against Jose Fernandez and the Marlins on Wednesday, the D-backs struck out 16 times in a 5-3 loss. They struck out 16 more times in Thursday's 8-3 win over the Brewers, marking the first time they had whiffed that many times in a nine-inning victory since 2009.

"We talked about it last night a little bit, wanting to be a little tougher at bat," Hale said. "Hopefully we can start to talk about it in our meetings a little more and get back to basics in the two-strike approach."

On Thursday, Yasmany Tomas, Cliff Pennington, and Oscar Hernandez each struck out three times.

Tomas also homered and singled, but the rookie outfielder had been in a bit of an offensive slump before that, batting .179 in his last seven games prior to Thursday. Also, all three of his strikeouts on Thursday were three-pitch at-bats.

"He just needs to swing at strikes. Really none of those pitches except for maybe one of the nine is a strike," Hale said. "He's a good hitter, so he just needs to take that approach when guys are in scoring position."

Hale said the higher strikeout totals of late partly stem from the high-quality pitching they've faced -- the post All-Star break stretch has included Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and tough Marlins starter Mat Latos and Fernandez.

"The guys are good about turning the page, whether it's good or bad," Hale said. "They realize they have to get better in a lot of different ways."

Jake Rill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.