Monday, June 30, 2008

What Happened to the D’backs?

After the month of April the Arizona Diamond Backs had the best record in baseball at 20-8 and were considered by many to be World Series contenders. Since then the “Baby Backs” have gone 21-34 and have seen their lead in the NL West go from 7 games to 2.5 games and have seen their record go from 12 games above .500 at 20-8 to .500 even at 41-41.

So just how did this happen?

Pitching: The pitching is one place that you could look as currently the proclaimed “Best Staff in Baseball” is performing brutally. In June Randy Johnson has a record of 0-5 with a 6.82 ERA which is actually better than teammate Micah Owings who owns a 8.28 ERA to go along with a 0-5 record as well. Even ace Brandon Webb is slumping 2-4 (having given up 12 runs in his past two starts). Only Dan Haren is pitching well as he has gone 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA over his past 5 starts.

Hitting: In the first month of the season, the Diamondbacks hit .268 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .468 slugging percentage. That dropped to .244/.328/.402 in May. And, so far in June, they are hitting a feeble .217, with only the Cincinnati Reds being. Those last two numbers are the worst in the league. Either league.

Also the D’backs currently have 5 everyday players batting under .250 over the last month. How are you expected to win games when more than half your team is flirting with the Mendoza Line?

Age: The D’backs has got one of the youngest teams in baseball with the average age being 30 years old (44-year old Randy Johnson skews that number a little bit). Some of their key players are still under the age of 25 including, right fielder Justin Upton who is just 20, centerfielder Chris Young and third baseman Mark Reynolds who are 24, and shortstop Stephen Drew who is 25.

The young age of these key players means that they are still developing and refining their skills. But how long can you wait when over the past 30 days your starting right fielder is batting .125 with 2 RBI and 2 HR?

Luckily for the Diamondbacks they are in the worse division in baseball where a .500 record is good enough for a division lead and a playoff spot. Also lucky for the D’backs is that they are a much better team after the All-Star break as last year's D'backs went 43-29 in the second half. I guess that break just can’t come fast enough for the youngsters down there in Arizona.

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