D-backs can't find the offense in loss to Cubs

D-backs can't find the offense in loss to Cubs

D-backs can't find the offense in loss to Cubs
CHICAGO -- There really was no good way for the D-backs to describe being swept by the Cubs.

"It stinks," catcher Miguel Montero said after Arizona fell, 3-1, to Chicago on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Signs of frustration were everywhere for the D-backs with hitters slamming their helmets after strikeouts.

"Why wouldn't they?" manager Kirk Gibson said when asked about his team being frustrated. "That's not what we had in mind. They're frustrated, they're busting their tails."

What the Cubs did to the D-backs in the weekend series was shut down the Arizona offense.

In three games, the D-backs scored a total of three runs.

"Give them credit," first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said of the Cubs. "They pitched well. Threw a lot of strikes. Weren't many walks. They made plays defensively. But I think we expect ourselves to do better. You're not going to win many games when you score one run."

What makes the D-backs' struggles even more vexing is the fact that they went into the All-Star break on a roll, taking three of four from the Dodgers while scoring 17 runs in their final three games.

"We finished pretty strong the first half and here we are getting swept by the Cubs," Montero said. "It stinks, because every time we get on a roll, it's like 'Here we go, we got it,' and then, 'Boom, here it goes again.' It's just not a good feeling. I don't know what's going on. It just stinks."

The latest Cubs starter to keep the Arizona bats at bay was right-hander Matt Garza, who allowed five hits over seven shutout innings.

"Garza was awesome, seven innings, 107 pitches," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "His fastball was great. He used the other stuff, but he basically used his fastball command and using their aggressiveness against them on 3-2 counts and stuff like that. He did a great job."

D-backs starter Trevor Cahill didn't pitch poorly, but a pair of walks really came back to haunt him.

Cahill issued a free pass to David DeJesus, and after a wild pitch moved him to second, DeJesus came in to score on a single to right by Anthony Rizzo.

"This year, it seems like when I walk a guy, they score," Cahill said. "I tried to attack the zone but I couldn't find it."

One inning later, Cahill again issued a leadoff walk, this one to Bryan LaHair. One out later, Darwin Barney smacked a home run into the left-field bleachers to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

"It was just a slider, I threw it as a kind of a chase pitch," Cahill said referring to trying to get a swing and a miss on it. "It backed up on the inner half. You usually don't want to try to throw a slider on the inside part of the plate to a righty. It just kind of backed up."

The D-backs finally got on the board in the eighth inning when Aaron Hill hit a two-out homer off Shawn Camp.

While the offense was the issue against the Cubs, there have been times this year when the hitters have come through, so it's been feast or famine.

In two-thirds of their games, the D-backs have either scored six or more runs, or two or fewer. There seemingly has been no in between.

"It's all frustrating," Gibson said. "And it's frustrating that we either play well or we don't play. We're very streaky and we just haven't had quality at-bats. We don't put the ball in play."

Rather than a lack of effort, the general consensus in the clubhouse is that it's just the opposite.

"Everybody's trying hard," Montero said. "Everybody wants to do their best, and I think that might be the problem. We're all trying too hard instead of just doing the little things. Less is more. Starting with me. [I'm] overswinging and all that and I know that and I'm trying to calm down, but it feels like when I come up to hit I may have a chance to hit a homer and tie the game and here it goes again, swinging [too hard]."

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.