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Poor start does not spell doom for Arizona Diamondbacks

PHOENIX — There’s a scene in the second installment of the “Airplane” series where the flight attendant, played by Julie Hagerty, is explaining all that has gone wrong with the ship.

For the majority of her speech, the passengers appear to be fine with the problems, seemingly understanding that while things aren’t great, they’re not too bad.

Then she announces they’re out of coffee, and all hell breaks loose.

It’s kind of the same in Arizona with regards to the Diamondbacks.

Patrick Corbin is lost for the season? Not good, but the team can survive.

David Hernandez is done too? That stinks, but he can be replaced.

But start the season 1-5?


Arizona’s latest loss came by a score of 8-5, and it was yet another game that the D-backs had control of before coughing it up late. It featured a poor start from Bronson Arroyo, who didn’t even last five innings, and then some not-so-good pitching from the bullpen.

Starting pitching and the bullpen were question marks entering the season, and through six games they haven’t been great.

But it’s just six games out of 162, meaning there is still plenty of time to right the ship.

“It’s just a few games,” first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said after Thursday’s loss. “We’ll keep playing hard and just keep going out there, try to score some runs and play good D and pitch and everything that we’ve been practicing all spring.”

In a way, the slow start maybe should not come as much of a surprise. The trip to Australia, while productive from a PR standpoint, had to have thrown off the players’ schedule at least a little bit. Then add the season-ending injuries to Corbin and Hernandez, two players who were expected to have big roles this season, and it’s like the D-backs have been taking punch after punch to the gut.

Losing three of four to the Giants was just another one added to the tally.

“Close games, but our bullpen cost us in two of them,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “Hudson threw a good game against us. They did this to us last year, we’ve got to figure out a way to get through it.”

No matter how pessimistic one might be, there is no denying that with the season just six games old, there is plenty of time for the D-backs to turn things around. Just as a team that gets off to a great start can fade down the stretch, one that struggles out of the gate can make up ground and win plenty of games.

Nothing is won in April, after all.

But at some point, the D-backs have to start finding ways to win games rather than discover new ways to lose them.

“You can tell yourself all you want that things are great, but the last couple years, where I came from, a couple rough starts,” left fielder Mark Trumbo said. “It’s tough to right the ship, so as soon as we can get going the better.”

Perhaps a change of scenery will do the team some good.

On Friday, the D-backs will begin a six-game road trip that will take them first to Colorado and then to San Francisco. It’s part of a stretch that will have the team play 15 consecutive games against NL West foes to start the season.

How the team responds from its poor start at home may say a lot about where this team is heading.

“The guys that are mentally strong tend to be the ones that last and are ultimately the ones that come through when you need them,” Trumbo said.

And the former Angel believes his team will have no problem coming through in the coming days.

“It’s insanely,” Trumbo responded when asked if the team is mentally tough. “A bunch of guys, grinders in here that know how to get it done. Maybe flash forward a week and we’ve rattled off a number of wins.”

It’s possible, and the opening home series, while disappointing, was not without its positives. Maybe one pitch here or one bounce there and the record is considerably different.

There’s still plenty of time to make it happen, and perhaps that’s why Gibson believes his team’s confidence is not an issue even with the tough start.

“I think we’re fine,” he said. “We’re disappointed right now because we lost the game and we lost the series.

“But we’ll regroup. It’s a long season; you can’t be deterred.”