At this point last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were the surprising low-budget team that shocked baseball by clinching a division title.
This year another team with an "A" on their hat, the Athletics, pulled that off. In 2012, the Diamondbacks fell to .500, narrowly missing their 10th winning season in the team's 15-year history.
The team remains loaded with young talent, but they dropped the season finale 2-1 to the Colorado Rockies.
The final series of the year was a thrilling one for the Diamondback fans who came to Chase Field. The first game was a 13-inning loss to the Rockies. The second game ended on a come-from-behind walk-off homer by Aaron Hill.
The finale had a terrific performance by Ian Kennedy, aiming for his 16th win of the season. He pitched seven innings letting up no earned runs, six hits, no walks and eight strikeouts.
Most nights that would be enough to win. But his defense conspired against him. Chris Johnson let an unearned run score after his throwing error. The Rockies would add a second run and never relinquish the lead.
Reliever Matt Belisle got the save and the Diamondbacks finished at break even.
Manager Kirk Gibson has shown he can manage with the best of them, and losing seasons are indeed rare in the desert of Arizona.
Alas, a winning season was denied for 2012. The likes of Miguel Montero and Trevor Cahill will be back. Maybe they will improve by a game for 2013.
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