The Arizona Diamondbacks are off to a nightmarish start to the 2014 season.
The D-backs are 4-14, the worst 18-game start in team history. They’re 1-11 (including two games in Australia) at home and are already 7.5 games out of first place.
Maybe the most frustrating part of the struggle is that while the D-backs certainly weren’t favored to win the NL West this season, many expected them to contend, or at least improve from back-to-back .500 campaigns.
For instance the Diamondbacks, who were the top defensive team in baseball last season, are near the bottom this season. They committed eight errors in their just-completed 0-6 homestand.
So what’s the problem?
“These mistakes are happening because these guys are putting so much pressure on themselves, they don’t want to lose, they want to win,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told Doug & Wolf Thursday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “They’re trying to get out of this, and again it’s magnified because of where it takes place in the season — right at the beginning of the year.
“Your team that wins the West is probably going to have a six-game losing streak during the season. Most teams will. But it’s the ugly way we’re doing it and it’s the timing of it all right now. It’s an avalanche, and it’s got to stop. We’ve got to stop the bleeding.”
Optimistically speaking, there are still 144 games remaining in the season — plenty of time to turn things around. However, to Hall’s point, the D-backs aren’t really instilling confidence with the way they’re playing in any facet of the game right now. No area has more of a glaring weakness than starting pitching.
“It’s not going to get any easier. We’re going to L.A., which is not a fun place to play,” Hall continued. “(Josh) Collmenter is going to make only his second start in the last three years and (Mike) Bolsinger making his first start ever, that’s tough sledding.
“Hopefully we get through this, hopefully we turn it around and they start having a little fun and again tasting some success.”
The wretched start has at least started speculation that the jobs of general manager Kevin Towers and field manager Kirk Gibson could be in jeopardy, and soon. Hall told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports Wednesday that neither should be worried about their job status, a statement he stood behind Thursday morning.
“I was asked if we were going to fire Gibby or K.T. right now and my point was ‘absolutely not,'” Hall said. “Nobody feels worse than they do and they feel like they’re in this together and they’re trying. For whatever reason, everything’s going wrong at once and they can’t pitch the ball, they can’t throw the ball, they can’t hit for the batters, it’s tough.
“These are two guys that haven’t had a losing season in three years. This is the first time they’ve ever dealt with major adversity. They had bullpen woes last year, but they snapped out of it.”