On July 7, the Arizona Diamondbacks held a season-high 4.5-game lead in the National League West.
Fast forward to the present day and the script has essentially been flipped on Kirk Gibson and Co.
After Thursday night’s series finale against the Chicago Cubs, the D-backs trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 0.5 games in the division and have lost eight of 14 games.
The Dodgers on the other hand are the hottest team in baseball — winners of 11 of their last 14 games, including 10 straight on the road — and appear to be quite comfortable as the pennant race hits the final days of July.
Derrick Hall was a guest on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Thursday, and while the D-backs president admitted that the team might be pressing a little bit, he said the confidence level is still high inside the locker room.
“I don’t think our guys have been watching the scoreboard at all,” Hall said. “It’s a professional bunch, a lot of these guys have been through pennant races and runs before. And they’re right with what they’ve been saying pre-game and post-game.
“Their comments are always, ‘Hey, we only worry about ourselves. We don’t look up there. If we play the way we’re supposed to, we will win and be fine.’ I like that approach, and I like that attitude.”
While that optimistic approach is a necessity this time of year, it won’t matter much if the Dodgers continue to play at a torrid pace.
Although Newton’s Law suggests that what must come up must come down, the question as it pertains to the NL West is to what degree that will happen with the Boys in Blue down the stretch.
“The consensus is that the Dodgers have to cool down a little bit,” said Hall. “I mean they have to. If they don’t, they deserve to win everything. They’re playing unbelievable baseball right now.
“This is a team that’s been on fire, they’re playing very well, they believe in themselves and they are very good players. Everyone in the division let them back into it. We woke them up, but we just hope they cool down.”
In Hall’s opinion, though, if the D-backs want to get back into first place, they can’t wait around expecting the division leaders to revert back to their early-season ways.
“We’ve got to get on a run, too,” said Hall. “We still haven’t gone on one of our runs, and we know we have one in us. It’s coming soon.
“Who knows, is it going to be 22 out of 28 like the [Dodgers]? Or, is it going to be five out of eight or 10 out of 12? Whatever it is, we just need to get on one of those.”
In theory it sounds nice, but the D-backs have proven incapable of stringing together wins all season long.
Arizona doesn’t have a single win streak longer than five games in 2013 and has also lost three games in a row on seven separation occasions.