If you haven’t paid attention to baseball much over the last week, you might be surprised to learn the Arizona Diamondbacks have caught the Boston Red Sox in the race for the best record in Major League Baseball.
With Saturday’s 4-3 win in 10 innings against the Nationals, Arizona improved to 19-7, which matches the franchise’s best start through 26 games.
We knew the Diamondbacks were going to be contenders this season. They have too much talent in every area of the game to be anything else. But we didn’t suspect they’d be so good out of the gate, they’d be challenging their own records while achieving a feat of success that hasn’t been equaled in 111 years.
They’ve done the former all month long. They did the latter on Saturday.
The win against Washington guaranteed Arizona its ninth straight series win to begin the season. The last National League team to open the season with nine straight series wins? The 1907 Chicago Cubs.
That Cubs team would go on to win 11 straight series to open the season. That’s the MLB record. Those Cubs would also go on to win a World Series that season, and then again in 1908.
The Diamondbacks aren’t thinking that far ahead. And by that far we mean, they’re not even thinking about the next series yet. But they’re definitely feeling good about their start. Their March and April schedule looked challenging on paper, but they’ve managed to win series against the Rockies, Dodgers (twice), Giants (twice), Cardinals, Padres, Phillies and now the Nationals.
“It just means that we’re doing a lot of things right and we’re a good baseball team,” manager Torey Lovullo says of Arizona’s unique streak. “We’re excited about that. We know that we’re having a lot of success and it takes a different approach day by day. We’re always ready to play and perform.”
It’s most impressive that Arizona is handling its business inside the division. Six of their series wins have come against division foes. They’ve dominated the Dodgers too, winning five of their six April matchups.
That’s notable because the Dodgers are still the team to beat in the NL West after clinching their fifth straight division title last season. It’s also notable because it’s the Dodgers that Arizona will welcome to town on Monday for the beginning of a four-game series.
If Arizona keeps the streak alive there, the World Series champion Houston Astros will be in town next weekend for three games. Then it’s the Dodgers again for two in Los Angeles.
If Arizona is to break this obscure record, they will have definitely earned it. But they clearly have their eyes on a much bigger prize that won’t be decided for another six months.
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