COMMENTARY | Start shoveling the dirt on the Arizona Diamondbacks because with 17 games remaining and a nine game deficit in the wild card (12.5 in division), they're all but dead. What happened to the team that had a 4.5 game lead as recently as July 7th?
Of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers went on a historic tear, but the Diamondbacks could have kept up, if not for the following five reasons that led to their demise.
No. 5: Power Outage
Were we expecting the Diamondbacks to turn back the clock to the days of Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley mashing home runs like they were nothing? Of course not. However, this team did expect to get more than just five home runs from Jason Kubel. Aaron Hill's injury has limited him to just nine and Miguel Montero's 10 is just not good enough. As a team, they're No. 12 in the National League.
No. 4: Montero's Struggle
Speaking of Montero, he's been an enormous disappointment this season. Not only has he struggled to hit for power, he's struggled to hit much of anything. With a batting average of .233 and a slugging percentage of .349, he'd be in danger of being benched if it weren't for the six-year, $65.9 million extension he just signed. Did I mention he's got just 38 runs batted in?
No. 3: Historically Long Season
After their extra-inning affair at the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 10, the Diamondbacks are just one inning shy of playing the most extra innings in one season in MLB history. The 1969 Minnesota Twins played 76 extra innings, with the Diamondbacks at 75. No team can overcome playing an extra eight games in their schedule, especially one with the pitching issues that the Diamondbacks have.
No. 2: Not So Fast
Literally, the Diamondbacks aren't so fast. They've struggled with stolen bases for years now, but it looked like they were primed to snap out of that funk. They expected Didi Gregorius to show some speed and he has zero steals. It was expected that Adam Eaton would lead off and continue the stolen base tear he started in the minor leagues, but he has just three. As a team, they have just 55 steals in 96 attempts. The team leader? The same guy leading in home runs, Paul Goldschmidt (13 steals).
No. 1: Dumpster Fire Bullpen
It wouldn't be fair to label the overall body of work from the bullpen as "trash." It's been much, much worse than that. What looked to be a strength to start the season with J.J. Putz, Heath Bell, David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler turned into a major weakness. They've blown 27 saves, which is horrific. If they were merely average (17 blown saves), they'd be in a wild card spot. In save situations, the pitchers have posted a 4.53 ERA.
Michael Dunlap covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of HoopsHabit.com.
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- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Los Angeles Dodgers
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