I was asked an excellent question on Twitter Tuesday during the show by @ontherun81: Which team is driving me more crazy, the D-backs or the Suns? It’s far and away the Suns.
I’m not panicked over the play of the D-backs. I’m not saying they’re 0-3 so the season is over. I am saying that when a road team commits two errors and butchers a pick-off attempt/run-down, they should never win. The Diamondbacks’ margin of error is very small. It’s too small to lose games within the division when a team plays as bad as the Giants did.
I don’t panic over one game. I panic over the statement, “It’s early.” I panic over the statement made last year, “Well, we’re still in first place.” Thinking positively about yourself before you attempt to accomplish something is always the best philosophy. Trying to explain away a loss to any team that tried to give you the game by saying “It’s early” is not positive thinking. It’s an excuse.
The Diamondbacks lost Monday because their starting pitcher gave up five runs. Arizona lost because the bullpen gave up four of their own runs and allowed the two runners they inherited from the starter to score. I don’t want to hear it’s early.
I greatly respect Addison Reed for saying, “terrible pitch, good swing.” He didn’t say, “We’ll go get ’em tomorrow.” He said he screwed up while still giving the opponent credit for beating him. Obviously, Addison can’t give up two-run HRs if the D-backs have plans to contend, but I want a closer that doesn’t make excuses. A good closer accepts responsibility and then forgets the past while bouncing back.
Just don’t say “it’s early” in April because then you’ll be saying, “We got off to a slow start” in July when you’re explaining why you’re trading away players at the deadline.
It’s the Suns that drive me crazy because the players don’t have a “win every moment” mindset. I’m not sold on the fact the Diamondbacks are talented enough to win the division, but I am sold that they will give everything to win it as a collection of individuals. You can’t say that about the collection of individuals that are the Phoenix Suns.
Don’t get me wrong. No matter what happens at the end of the regular season, the Suns have had a successful season. What I will never understand is the lack of desperation in certain games. I completely accept missing shots. I know there are times when another team is simply better than you. I do not understand when any team goes through the motions like Phoenix did against the Lakers last weekend.
We can see early in a game when there’s defensive intensity from the Suns. Watch the passing lanes. Watch the guard penetration. Watch how many shots are contested. The Suns are too athletic and young to ever give up 50 percent or better shooting in a first quarter. Teams don’t “get hot” on their own. Teams get hot based on the other team letting them get into a rhythm.
The Diamondback players aren’t driving me crazy. It’s anyone else trying to justify Monday night by saying, “It’s early.” The Suns are driving me crazy because I’ve completely bought in and only their lack of consistency against weak teams will stand in the way of a playoff bid.