A winning season: Did the 2019 D-backs overachieve or not?
There’s a dilemma with evaluating the 2019 Arizona Diamondbacks.
On one hand, they missed the playoffs. They won 11 out of 12 games in September and then lost six in a row to crush their hopes of going to the postseason. They lost some of their games against bad teams, an issue that might’ve made the difference in their chance at a Wild Card berth.
On the other hand, they clinched a winning record. They could get as many as 85 wins if they were to sweep the Padres in the final series of the season. They almost made the postseason despite losing Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin in the offseason, trading Zack Greinke at the deadline and losing David Peralta and Ketel Marte down the stretch.
So which is it? Were they better or worse than they should’ve been?
D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall was asked the question by Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday: Did Arizona blow an opportunity?
“I think perhaps, yeah,” Hall said. “The plot has been the same all year long where we really step up and play well against teams that are considered stronger, and teams that we probably should’ve had an easier time against, we struggle. And that’s part of the maturity process, but it’s also something we have to solve for, because I do think we were good enough to make the postseason.
“I think it was right in front of us. We had a period of time a couple weeks back where we were just five outs away from being half a game back of that second wild card spot, and we let it slip away. But I think that’s also reason for big-time excitement for next year. I’m not happy. We made the playoffs in ’17, that was great, but we haven’t made it in ’18, we haven’t made it in ’19 and I just don’t think that’s acceptable, because our goal every year is to get back to the postseason and ultimately to the big game.”
The D-backs were 82-77 entering an off-day on Thursday with three games left to go in the season. The previous day, on Wednesday, the D-backs won their second game of a three-game series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals, capped by Archie Bradley closing out the ballgame to get the save.
It all came after the D-backs and Cardinals went 19 innings the night before, and then Arizona rallied for a seven-run inning to come back and win on Wednesday.
“I think it just kind of shows what this team is about,” Bradley said. “We can all look back and wish we would’ve played better throughout the year to make the playoffs, but I don’t feel negative or down about not making the postseason. I’m upset, but I feel like this team, we fought hard all year. And we weren’t good enough in some big games. It’s not going to stop now, just because we didn’t make it.
“Guys want to win. I think you saw last night, the way we celebrated in the 19th. Same thing — we want to come in and win a series. We want to win the next three and push our record to — what would we finish? 85 wins? — I think that would be a pretty damn good year for what people said and expected and something to build off of.”