Hall: D-backs still in great position to make playoffs
The Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled in the second half, but Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said the team is in a great spot.
“I hope our boys aren’t scoreboard watching,” Hall told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 F.M., Arizona’s Sports Station Thursday. “They probably aren’t. It’s fun when you control your own destiny.”
Entering Thursday’s series finale against the New York Mets at Citi Field, the D-backs were a half-game ahead of the Colorado Rockies for the top Wild Card spot, three games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers and four games better than the St. Louis Cardinals.
At this point in the season, Hall admitted his emotions can change quickly in a tight race.
“If you’d seen my emotions change from us losing to switching to me switching over to watch the end of the Rockies and Royals game, you would have just seen a complete change of emotion,” Hall said. “That is how it is this time of year, it’s fun.”
As Hall pointed out, 16 of Arizona’s 22 games so far in August were against teams leading the division, in the wild card race or leading the league.
In addition, the Rockies have lost seven of 10 and the Cardinals are 4-6 in their last 10 games. As a result, Hall is looking at the bigger picture.
“Right now, we are atop,” Hall said. “As much as we could say we could be five games ahead of Colorado, they’re kicking themselves. It is happening to a lot of teams.”
Regardless of what other teams are doing, Arizona has not been the same team in the second half.
Entering Thursday, the offense owned the third-worst batting average in the majors (.236), the starters have complied the 10th-worst ERA (4.27) and the bullpen owns the seventh-highest ERA (4.80) after the All-Star break.
Given their struggles at the plate, in the field and on the mound, do the D-backs need anger in the clubhouse? Hall does not believe that would help his team’s performance.
“I don’t think so because that is not the personality of the team,” Hall said. “It wouldn’t be effective and it wouldn’t be genuine and you certainly didn’t need that the first two-and-a-half, three months of the season when they were playing great together.
“They just have to stay together to get through it. We have good players on this team and we’re going to be getting guys back.”
On that note, starting pitcher Robbie Ray returned to the rotation Thursday against the Mets. The left-hander allowed one run and struck out nine Mets.
With seven games left until the final month of the season, Hall is excited to watch exciting baseball against divisional opponents. In September, the D-backs will square off with the Rockies seven times and the Dodgers three times.
Starting with Friday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field, Arizona will play 25-straight games against National League West foes.
“You want to have relevant games in September,” Hall said. “We haven’t in a few years. This is going to be a fun month. For us to still have that lead, we really just have to take care of business.”