D-backs discouraged by early sloppy play

Short starts has worn on bullpen in first week

D-backs discouraged by early sloppy play

PHOENIX -- It is only four games into the season, which is far too early to draw conclusions, but plenty of time for frustration to simmer.

That was evident Thursday night after the D-backs dropped their third game of the year, this one by a 14-6 margin to the Cubs at Chase Field.

It was a sloppy game in which starter Rubby De La Rosa added to a string of sub-par starts by the rotation and there were a pair of errors and at least one mental mistake when Jean Segura didn't cover first on a bunt.

"For me as a manager and our coaching staff it was embarrassing," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "I think that's the easiest way to put it. We made some gaffes on defense that we worked so hard on in Spring Training and we're close enough to Spring Training to where we shouldn't make those mistakes.

"But guys are human. Maybe there's just too much stress, too much anxiety on them and their minds aren't free enough to work. It's a tough game to watch. For everybody."

Following the game there was a pitcher's meeting held and Hale met with the front office to discuss a roster move to give the team more available innings in the bullpen after the relievers combined for 5 2/3 innings.

The rotation has allowed 23 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings and that has put a strain on the bullpen.

De La Rosa was unable to hold either of the two early leads the team handed him.

"It's frustrating," Hale said. "I think the guys are a little frustrated at this point. I think the pitchers are frustrated. I think the whole organization is frustrated. You get the lead against a good team, exciting game and continually give it up, it's tough. Tough for the guys in the field and I think it's starting to wear on some of the pitchers coming out of the bullpen too. They feel like they have to pitch perfect."

Hale and his staff have worked over the last day or so to try and get both the pitchers and position players to relax. Not an easy task when expectations are high and the start is slow.

"Just try to get them to be able to breathe and leave some of the tightness and anxiety in the dugout or in the clubhouse," Hale said. "They're just trying so hard to be perfect, it's impossible. It's not a game of perfection, for sure."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.