After a surprising 2007 playoff run the Diamondbacks came out of the gates strong in 2008 and looked like world beaters after the first month of the season. The young team led by Justin Upton and Chris Young flew through April posting a 20-8 record and looked to be ready for another playoff run. Up the hill and an even quicker pace down the hill led to finishing the season at 82-80 and watching the playoffs from home. Last year through the first three months of the season the D-Backs sat at 44-38, in the middle of the pack, before going on incredible run during the second half of the season while winning the division at 94-68. A steady first half ended with a big spike towards the playoffs.
2012 has added to the roller coaster ride with quite a few more ups and downs. The first three months of this season included its own share of fast passes for the coaster but let’s look at the last month. To start July, the D-Backs were swept by the pathetic Padres, beat the division leading Dodgers 3-0, then got swept again by the last place Cubs. This was followed by 17 games where they didn’t lose a series. After a blown series against Philadelphia the D-Backs bounced back nicely splitting the series against the wild card leader Pirates.
As many ups and downs that this team has had this season they always find themselves in a familiar position, right around .500. Impressive series victories always seem to be followed by disappointing losses and vice versa. The question is, can this team pick a direction or are they going stay on the ride all the way to September? It seems unlikely that the D-Backs will sneak into a Wild Card spot but they are still only four games back in the NL West. Battling the deadline busy Dodgers and Giants for the crown it is going to take a big final 50 games to win the division. A 33-17 record over these games would give them 90 wins on the season, which may get it done.
The best under the radar addition of Chris Johnson at the deadline provides some hope, but it will take much more than just him to ride out the season on that kind of hot streak. To beat a dead horse, Justin Upton has got to remember how to hit if that kind of run is in the works. It is hard to believe this team can avoid the bad losses down the stretch in order to get past the division leaders and retain their crown. Both the pitching and hitting has been good since the All Star break but one group has got to be great to have any chance. Regardless of how the season ends up there will likely be some big changes in the off-season but the farm is full of arms and the future is still bright.
Prediction: D-Backs finish 87-75 out of the playoffs
About the Author
Written by Chas Forsythe
Nearly everyone who lives in Arizona is from somewhere else and sports allegiances are spread across the country. It can be frustrating for a native Arizonan. I watched the birth of an NFL, MLB, & NHL team, the Suns landed here before I was even a twinkle in my parents eyes. I have a good feel for the teams and fans here, I look forward to providing my insights and would love to hear back from anyone with an opinion on Arizona sports.