In April 2008, the Arizona Diamondbacks were the best team in baseball. Everyone in their lineup was hitting well. They had the best rotation in baseball. Closer Brandon Lyon already had eight saves. Then, after losing two of three against the Mets in May, Arizona started to fall apart.
The lineup was not scoring runs.
Dan Haren had a 4.45 ERA in May. Eventually, he got back on track in June, but Brandon Webb fell off and had a 4.76 ERA. Brandon Lyon started the year with a 2.77 ERA and ended up with a 4.70 ERA the whole season.
Good thing for the Diamondbacks the rest of the NL West was horrible, too, as they were able to keep first place in the division.
The Diamondbacks were in first place in the division until the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox in a three-way trade at the trade deadline.
Once Ramirez went to the Dodgers he propelled the team to first place in the division. Ramirez had 17 home runs in the last two months and a batting average over .380.
In the offseason, the Diamondbacks have lost Orlando Hudson and closer Brandon Lyon.
In the division the Colorado Rockies have lost All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday and closer Brian Fuentes. The Padres are to trade Jake Peavy before the season starts. The San Francisco Giants didn't do anything to get better and the Dodgers lost pitchers Brad Penny and Derek Lowe.
And it looks like Manny Ramirez will be a Cardinal.
If the Dodgers didn't get Ramirez, he wouldn't have propelled the Dodgers to first place in the division and the Diamondbacks would have won the division. The only team in the NL West that I can see knocking off the Diamondbacks is the Rockies.
Now all that young talent for the Diamondbacks has gained a year of experience. Maybe we will see Justin Upton or Steven Drew break out and become an All-Star. The 24-year-old Max Scherzer, who brings a high 90 miles per hour fastball to blow hitters away, can be a great pitcher for the Diamondbacks.
With Scherzer in the rotation, along with Brandon Webb and Daren Haren, the Diamondbacks can have one of the best rotations in Major League Baseball—a rotation that can help the Arizona Diamondbacks climb to the top.