COMMENTARY | The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly ended the 2013 season with a thud, but does that make all of 2013 a dud?
They finished at 81-81 for the second consecutive year and didn't have great expectations heading in. With that said, how did they do?
Despite the fact that the Diamondbacks weren't expected to compete in the division, they found themselves in the thick of the race around the All-Star break. Because of that, expectations rose. When that happened, they folded like lawn chairs.
Here are five reasons why 2013 has to be considered a dud:
No. 1 - The Fall of Ian Kennedy
Remember when Ian Kennedy was the staff ace for the Diamondbacks and was a Cy Young candidate? That was only two years ago, when he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA. Since then, he fell and then he fell again before being traded to the San Diego Padres on July 31 for Joe Thatcher and Matt Stites. Kennedy was 3-8 with a horrid 5.23 ERA at that point and couldn't control the ball. If he wasn't hitting batters, he was giving up gopher balls.
No. 2 - Aaron Hill's Injury
Paul Goldschmidt needed protection in the lineup and Aaron Hill looked like he was going to be the guy to provide it. Hill hit .302 with 26 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 2012 and started 2013 well. He hit .306 with a .405 on-base percentage before breaking his hand, missing parts of three months (including all of May). When he came back, he wasn't the same. He got hot in August, with 16 runs batted in and a .372 batting average, but ended up hitting just 11 home runs on the year.
No. 3 - Watching the Dodgers Celebrate
There can't be anything worse in sports than watching another team celebrate on your home field. Making it worse, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to jump into the Chase Field pool, despite being asked not to. That's akin to telling someone he can cheer out in your yard, then having him come into your house and jump on your bed. It was too far and it was an embarrassment, because there was nothing the Diamondbacks could do about it.
No. 4 - Underachievers Galore
Jason Kubel, Miguel Montero and pretty much the entire bullpen fall under this one. Kubel was expected to provide some pop from the left side of the plate and instead looked like he popped something every time he swung, hitting .220 with a .324 slugging percentage. Montero was hurt on and off and ended up hitting .230 and never looked like himself. The bullpen blew a ton of saves and had three regulars (Heath Bell, David Hernandez, Tony Sipp) with ERAs above 4.00. It was ugly.
No. 5 - Fair-Weather Fans
No disrespect to the people of Phoenix, but they flat out didn't support this team this year. Even when they were in first place and were looking like they'd have a chance to sneak into the playoffs, the fans didn't come out. The Diamondbacks finished 14th out of 15 teams in the National League, drawing 2,134,795 fans (average of 26,355).
Michael Dunlap is the author of the "Daily NBA Fix", an all-encompassing daily column that covers the NBA. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com and the gambling site GamblersGrind.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.
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- Arizona Diamondbacks
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