Touch 'Em All: D-backs lose series to L.A.
That's right, I'm calling it, the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks are out of the NL West race.
Yes, I know they won convincingly on Wednesday, but let's be honest about that Dodgers lineup; four of the starters were playing in Triple-A on Opening Day, and Andre Ethier wasn't in the game either.
For the record, I'm not saying the D-backs can't make the playoffs, because they do still have a shot at the wild card, but their chance to repeat as the NL West champions has come and gone.
Why you ask?
Let's say the Dodgers play .500 baseball (which is highly unlikely in itself) for the remainder of the season… The Diamondbacks would need to go 69-47 just to tie the Dodgers for the division lead. Now I don't know about you, but I can't see this D-backs team going 22 games over .500 for the rest of the season.
The Diamondbacks have one consistency right now… and that is having no consistency. One night, the hitting will look atrocious, but the bullpen will look good. Another night, the hitting will look good, but the starting pitching will look terrible. Then the hitting and pitching will be okay, but the fielding is bad. Catch my drift?
Hopefully for the D-backs the absolute thrashing they handed the Dodgers on Wednesday will get the team going, however I doubt that will be the case.
Looking back at this series, I was glad to see the D-backs bats come alive on Tuesday and Wednesday. But this three game set with the Dodgers exemplified my point as to the D-backs consistent lack of consistency. The D-backs had a different problem each day: Monday, the hitting & starting pitching, Tuesday, the bullpen, Wednesday… well they didn't make it to 20 runs.
The issue that I have is that on nights the D-backs don't play all-around great baseball, like Monday and Tuesday, they are not finding ways to pick up the struggling parts to get wins. It seems to me that if one part of the D- backs struggles, the team can't buy a win, no matter who the opponent.
That is why the D-backs are done in the NL West.
They are consistently inconsistent, and that isn't something that can be changed overnight.
Series Report Card
Record: D The D-backs needed and I stress needed to win this series. They entered Monday 9.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West, and they ended the series 10.5 back. D-backs fans should start keeping an eye on the NL East, because more than likely if the Diamondbacks are to make the playoffs, they'll be competing with teams in that division for the wild card spots.
Offense: B+ The D-backs offense did not look good on Monday, Chris Capuano held the Snakes to 4 hits over the course of 6 innings of work and the D-backs never got close. On Tuesday the O looked much better, the D-backs had a lot of timely hitting that led them to a seemingly comfortable lead of 4-0 early in the game. When the score was knotted at 6-all in the eighth inning, Lyle Overbay's clutch solo home run was great for the team, although it was not the winning run I thought it had been. And then there was Wednesday, but I think 11 runs are pretty self-explanatory.
Defense: C+ The defense was not overly impressive in this series. Whether you look at one of Josh Bell's errors at third base as an example, or some bad fielding by the pitchers, who threw a few balls away, the D has been much better at times this season. Chris Young still needs to settle back into his role in center field, I could tell based off of some of his reactions to balls hit his way that he isn't quite comfortable out there just yet.
Pitching: B Unfortunately for Patrick Corbin, he came up at the wrong time and did not pitch as well as he is capable of. After his loss on Monday he was sent back down to the minors, and with Daniel Hudson slated to come back on Sunday, that is the right move. Trevor Cahill pitched what could be his best game as a Diamondback on Tuesday, only to have it squandered away by terrible pitching from the bullpen. Joe Saunders pitched well on Wednesday, not that it mattered, I'm fairly certain Kirk Gibson could have pitched the team to victory with that kind of run support.
Managing: B This was an overall well managed series by Kirk Gibson, as most usually are. However, I did notice something that I didn't like from the skipper. With the game-tying run on third on Tuesday and Justin Upton on first, the D-backs had Jason Kubel at the plate with a 2-2 count. Instead of sending Upton on the pitch (the catcher wouldn't have risked the throw with the tying run on 3rd) Gibson kept J- Up near 1st which resulted in a game-ending double play, instead of a game-tying run.
Play of the Series: The play of the series was Lyle Overbay's solo home run in the 8th inning on Tuesday. At the time, the game was tied at six, and Overbay's towering homer to right field was a clutch hit that the D-backs have not had a lot of this season. Unfortunately the bullpen let the game slip away, but it was nice to see Overbay come through in the clutch.
Player of the Series: The player of this series was Ryan Roberts, he was the offensive catalyst in the 2-hole on Tuesday and Wednesday, going 3-for-7 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI in the series. Talk about a good sign from a player who was just demoted from everyday to utility.
The "Dikembe Mutombo Finger Wag" Award: This award goes to J.J. Putz, the Diamondbacks closer. After looking good over the weekend, Putz came in and blew a crucial save for the D-backs after walking two batters in the top of the ninth.
Best Moment of the Series: The best moments of this series for me occurred on Wednesday, a foul ball was careening right at me up in the press box, however it nose-dived at the last second, hitting the awning in front of me. Why was this the best? Normally I'd be overjoyed by a chance to grab a foul ball, but I wasn't looking, so had it been a little higher, I may have a big lump on my head.
The Road Ahead: The Diamondbacks continue their home stand against the Brewers over Memorial Day weekend. This will be the first time (not counting Spring Training) the Brewers have been in Arizona since the playoffs, so I am intrigued to see what kind of reception they get.