Diamondbacks’ much-needed turnaround: By the numbers
Aug 25, 2023, 3:25 PM
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Coming off an 8-16 July and a nine-game losing streak to open August, the Arizona Diamondbacks have won 10 of their last 12 games and have catapulted themselves back into the tight wild card race.
At 67-61 as of Friday morning, the Diamondbacks hold a 0.5-game lead over the the San Francisco Giants (66-61) and Cincinnati Reds (67-62) for the third and final wild card spot.
What changed? An unforeseen midseason collapse seemed like the end of the road for an club that was once on pace for 96 wins.
From July 1 to Aug. 12, the team ranked bottom five in the league in nearly every major hitting category. Its team ERA of 5.31 was fourth-highest in the league over that span.
After a 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Aug. 12, the Diamondbacks’ first win of the month, winning pitcher Zac Gallen was asked if the victory was the spark that could turn the season around.
“We have a tough road ahead of us… nobody is going to give it to us. We have to take it,” Gallen said. “Just because we won today doesn’t mean they’re going to give it to us tomorrow. We have to earn it again.”
Maybe he was onto something. Winners of five straight, the team’s statistics have drastically improved throughout its current revival.
Which statistical U-turn is the most eye-opening? Here are some numbers to help put into perspective the team’s sudden resurgence, by the numbers:
Why have the Arizona Diamondbacks thrived since mid-August?
Since Aug. 12, the bats have been hot. From July 1 to Aug. 11, the team batted .225. Over its last 12 games, the Diamondbacks are batting .271, good for ninth in the league over that span. The awakenings of Corbin Carroll, Christian Walker, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and recently acquired Tommy Pham have contributed to the team’s recent success.
Since coming off the injured list on July 25, Merrill Kelly has made a significant impact upon an injured rotation. His ERA of 2.40 since coming back has lowered his season ERA to 2.97, best on the team and third-best in the entire league.
Brandon Pfaadt isn’t having the rookie season he likely imagined, pitching to a 6.13 ERA in 61.2 innings. However, he has looked better as of late. In his last four starts, he has recorded a 2.96 ERA with 25 strikeouts. The stat that sticks out, however, is his home runs per nine innings (HR/9), which is 0.37 over those four starts. In his starts leading up to this stretch, he had trouble with the long ball, allowing 3.13 home runs per nine innings. His 0.37 HR/9 is the best of any Diamondback pitcher since Aug. 1.
Paul Sewald was acquired from the Seattle Mariners as the team’s most notable acquisition of 2023’s trade deadline. Filling a void the Diamondbacks desperately needed at closer, Sewald has closed the door seven times since Aug. 12, allowing no runs over that span.
In his breakout rookie campaign, outfielder Corbin Carroll has slashed .277/.355/.509 with 38 stolen bases in 123 games. On Friday, Carroll smashed a go-ahead home run to help propel the Diamondbacks to a victory over the Reds. It was his first home run since July 23, snapping a 27-game homerless streak. From July 23 to Aug. 11, Carroll batted .196 and was among the team’s worst hitters. Since Aug. 12, Carroll has batted .333.
On Tuesday, outfielder Alek Thomas made a catch in center field that sent shockwaves all over the internet. In the ninth-inning, with a 6-3 lead, Texas Rangers infielder Marcus Semien crushed a ball into Thomas’ territory. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound center fielder covered 101 feet with a sprint speed of 30.2 feet per second.
With Sewald’s inconsistency that day, who knows if the Diamondbacks come out victorious if Thomas doesn’t make that catch.
“I just thought it was really funny that I ended up making that catch because of how far I had to run,” Thomas told reporters. “I mean, I think my sprint speed is down a little bit this year, but hopefully, that’ll put it up a few notches.”