National media still doesn’t get these Diamondbacks
You’d like to think that, sooner or later, the national media will see what’s going on in the desert and take notice of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Owners of the 7th-best record in baseball (and the NL West lead, too), the D-backs are now a part of the playoff conversation, something Grantland.com took notice of in a piece called “Six Teams You Don’t Want to Face in the Playoffs.”
While the D-backs being number four on the list would seem to prove that, finally, people are starting to take notice, the reasoning was just, well, unreasonable.
Complimenting what they dubbed “the second best defense in the majors” and noting how the D-backs rank second in the NL in home runs, the writer pointed to the D-backs pitching as their biggest question mark, specifically wondering if Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson will hold up against non-NL West teams.
My question is: Would Ian Kennedy still look like a borderline ace if he never left the Yankees? It’s harder to find success as a pitcher in the AL East than it is in any other division; it’s much harder there than it is in the NL West this year, where you get 54 games against the punchless Giants, Padres, and Dodgers. Will Kennedy and Dan Hudson fare as well against the likes of Philly and Milwaukee as they have against their soft divisional opponents? Does no. 3 starter Joe Saunders (4.9 K/9 IP) have a chance in hell of succeeding against the tougher competition that the postseason provides?
Well, nobody will ever know what things would have been like for Kennedy had he not left the Yankees, so we have to judge him on what has happened since.
And, disregarding the fact that Kennedy won’t make 54 starts against NL West teams this year, the division being light on offense isn’t that big of a deal.
Of course, the writer is correct when he says it will be important to see how the D-backs ace does against the likes of Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
Kennedy has one start against each team this season, throwing a combined 16 innings and giving up 0 runs. He’s struck out 15 and recorded a pair of wins.
Hudson hasn’t been as good, having earned a win against the Phillies while struggling with the Brewers, while Saunders beat the Brewers but lost to the Phillies.
So, backhanded compliments notwithstanding, it’s nice to see that, at the very least, the Diamondbacks are listed as a team that nobody will want to play.
It’d be nice if they were listed because they were a good team, and recognized as such.