D-backs aren’t as average as they look

May 7, 2012, 3:52 PM | Updated: 5:38 pm

On paper, you’d be hard pressed to find a more mediocre
ball club. The Arizona Diamondbacks are batting.246 as a
team. The Major League average is .249. They’ve hit 27
homeruns. Big league average is 27. Team ERA is 3.92. Big
league average is 3.86. They’ve committed 18 errors which
is exactly the Major League average. Of course the most
telling stat is their record, 14-15 heading into a
homestand which begins Monday against St. Louis.

Are the D-backs really that pedestrian, or are they just
underperforming? You can blame injuries if you want. Chris
Young was the best hitter in baseball not named Matt Kemp
when he hurt his shoulder last month. Justin Upton got off
to a slow start due in large part to a sore thumb. Stephen
Drew still hasn’t played since last summer. Their number
two starter, Daniel Hudson is on the disabled list with a
sore shoulder.

Physical breakdowns or not, the D-backs are still better
than what we’re seeing on the field. That being said, I’m
having a very difficult time criticizing them for two
reasons: One, we’re only a month into an excruciatingly
long season. On May 7th of last year, the D-backs were 15-
17, presumably on their way to another lowly finish. We
know what wound up happening. Today, they’re just under
.500, in third place and just 4.5 games behind a Dodgers
team that many believe are playing over their heads. The
D-backs are also three walk-off losses away from being 17-
12, and a few more late inning meltdowns from having one
of the best records in baseball. So should we be concerned
about the struggles of David Hernandez and J.J. Putz? Not
yet. Both still have live arms and good stuff and may just
be having a hard time finding their groove. Plus the
starters (minus Hudson and Josh Collmenter) have a 2.80
ERA. In other words, starting pitching isn’t the issue.

Another reason I’m not ready to call these D-backs “one-
hit wonders” just yet is Kirk Gibson and his staff. They
didn’t panic last season when things weren’t going well
and there’s no reason to believe they’re going to start
now. Gibson knows how to handle struggling players (Ryan
Roberts, Paul Goldschmidt and Jason Kubel), who have track
records of producing. We’ve seen on several occasions
already this season where all three of the aforementioned
players responded to time out of the lineup by coming up
with big hits and/or multi-hit games.

Young is expected back in the next couple of weeks. Upton
continues to creep closer to .300. And so far, all
indications point to Wade Miley holding his own in the
starting rotation. Just as in life, patience is required
in baseball. The D-backs are almost certain to reward fans
for showing the most difficult of virtues.

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D-backs aren’t as average as they look