COMMENTARY | Even though their offense has been cold lately in the hot summer desert, the Arizona Diamondbacks remain on top of the National League West.
Here are 10 reasons, in no particular order, to keep believing in the Snakes:
Paul Goldschmidt is playing like an MVP. Just when critics began lashing out against Goldschmidt during a 4-for-39 slump while the D-backs lost seven of 10 games in mid-June, "American's First Baseman" came roaring back with a 6-for-15 stretch with four home runs. He may have a quiet personality, but he makes plenty of noise with the bat.
Kirk Gibson manages the team. Manger Kirk Gibson only knows one gear, and he won't let his players tire out over the long season. The D-backs have proven to be a resilient bunch, playing their best in the seventh inning or later. And good late-game play defined the D-backs in their not-so-distant 2011 division title season.
D-backs have good broadcasters. With Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly calling games, the D-backs have arguably the best broadcasters in the game. That may have no effect whatsoever on the D-backs record, but it's worth pointing out.
Defense has been top-notch. The offense has gone missing at times so far this year, but the defense has been solid. They are led by Paul Goldgloveschmidt and Gerardo Parra, and there are no signs that the D-backs defense will regress in the second half of the year.
Gerardo Parra is playing like an All-Star. As mentioned above, Parra has been a valuable player on the defensive side of things, but he has also been a rock at the plate, ranking in the top 5 in Wins Above Replacement nearly all year. Parra has always been underrated, but he is a big reason to continue believing in the D-backs this year.
Other Arizona sports teams are awful right now. Perhaps the biggest reason to believe in the Diamondbacks is because other Arizona sports teams -- especially the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Cardinals -- have been an eyesore. Morale is low in the Grand Canyon State in terms of sports, but the D-backs can turn that around.
The bullpen (minus the closer) has been solid. Besides perhaps the most important part of it -- the closer -- the D-backs' bullpen has been reliable in 2013. The pitching staff has been one of the best in the league when it comes to close- and late-game situations, including a 3.22 ERA in over 104 innings under those circumstances. That's good for third best in the National League and should only get better as the D-backs fix the closer debacle. That reminds me, Brian Wilson has yet to sign with a team...
The disabled list will lighten. The D-backs remain in first place in the National League West despite a disabled list full of everyday players. We saw the shot in the arm Willie Bloomquist gave coming off the DL. (He has hit .345 with nine RBIs and eight runs-scored in his first 15 games back). Imagine what Aaron Hill and Eric Chavez can do to a slumping offense.
Patrick Corbin is pitching like a Cy Young Award candidate. The young southpaw continues to shine, even when the rest of the rotation has been underperforming. You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again right now: The D-backs are 13-1 in games Corbin starts.
The D-backs celebrated "Star Wars Night." Fans should keep believing, because the Force is with the D-backs. The Snakes recently had "Star Wars Night" at Chase Field -- the first MLB team to do so. And even though they lost that game against the Reds, they can't be angry. Because, as Yoda counsels us, "Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering."
Justin Bray, who studies sports history at the University of Utah, has followed the Arizona Diamondbacks since Andy Benes' first pitch at the BOB in 1998. He was an original member of the Andy Fox Fan Club and even risked his life for a Dan Plesac autograph.
- Sports & Recreation
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Gerardo Parra
- Kirk Gibson
- Paul Goldschmidt
- National League West