After an inspiring run to the 2011 postseason via an NL West championship, the Arizona Diamondbacks took a step back in 2012, falling to a .500 record and a third-place finish in the NL West—a figurative regression to average.
Though a third-place Diamondbacks team, following the 2000 season, returned to claim the NL West title and the franchise's only World Series appearance and victory, the last two go-arounds for Arizona two years out of a division championship have seen a complete turnaround:
After securing their third NL West crown in 2002, the Diamondbacks fell to third place in 2003 and finished in the division cellar in 2004.
Following their 2007 NL West championship, the Diamondbacks finished second in 2008 before dropping to fifth in both 2009 and 2010.
The sports world tends to be cyclical, and as Arizona attempts to rebound from a first-to-third performance last season, the club will also attempt to break a most inauspicious trend.
Yet en route to such a goal, the D-Backs will encounter several key problems and face a few significant weaknesses along the way.