D-backs aren't as average as they look
Are the D-backs really that pedestrian, or are they just underperforming? You can blame injuries if you want. Chris Young was the best hitter in baseball not named Matt Kemp when he hurt his shoulder last month. Justin Upton got off to a slow start due in large part to a sore thumb. Stephen Drew still hasn't played since last summer. Their number two starter, Daniel Hudson is on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.
Physical breakdowns or not, the D-backs are still better than what we're seeing on the field. That being said, I'm having a very difficult time criticizing them for two reasons: One, we're only a month into an excruciatingly long season. On May 7th of last year, the D-backs were 15- 17, presumably on their way to another lowly finish. We know what wound up happening. Today, they're just under .500, in third place and just 4.5 games behind a Dodgers team that many believe are playing over their heads. The D-backs are also three walk-off losses away from being 17- 12, and a few more late inning meltdowns from having one of the best records in baseball. So should we be concerned about the struggles of David Hernandez and J.J. Putz? Not yet. Both still have live arms and good stuff and may just be having a hard time finding their groove. Plus the starters (minus Hudson and Josh Collmenter) have a 2.80 ERA. In other words, starting pitching isn't the issue.
Another reason I'm not ready to call these D-backs "one- hit wonders" just yet is Kirk Gibson and his staff. They didn't panic last season when things weren't going well and there's no reason to believe they're going to start now. Gibson knows how to handle struggling players (Ryan Roberts, Paul Goldschmidt and Jason Kubel), who have track records of producing. We've seen on several occasions already this season where all three of the aforementioned players responded to time out of the lineup by coming up with big hits and/or multi-hit games.
Young is expected back in the next couple of weeks. Upton continues to creep closer to .300. And so far, all indications point to Wade Miley holding his own in the starting rotation. Just as in life, patience is required in baseball. The D-backs are almost certain to reward fans for showing the most difficult of virtues.