Every year when a team gets off to a rocky start in any sport, except maybe football, a normal excuse you’ll hear is that it's still early. You’ll hear this more often than not in major league baseball because of the 162-game season. In some cases, May 5th can still be considered early. That’s usually where you have a couple of above average teams in the same division and one might have left the opening gate a little slower than usual. That is where the excuse can fly.
With the 2009 Arizona Diamondbacks, this is not the case. At 11-15 and in danger of falling 8.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers with a loss this evening, you really have to start thinking (and the Dbacks might already be—you hope) maybe this isn’t going to be the season.
Now, the Dodgers aren’t world killers. However, they do possess the league's best record. Take nothing away from their accomplishments over the first five weeks, but if you look at the rest of the division in its current state, the Dodgers may have this thing wrapped up by the All-Star Game in July.
Every team within the division clearly has its strengths and weaknesses and the Dbacks are no different. Obviously the starting pitching is the Dbacks biggest reason they have 11 wins. You can give the offense credit for about four of those 11 wins: opening day against Colorado 9-8, the one win over the Dodgers in the opening home stand 9-4, the comeback against the Giants 5-4, and the blowout of the Cubs10-0. Other than that, the hitting and the bullpen have practically been abysmal.
Eric Byrnes, Chris Snyder, Chris Young, Tony Clark are all hitting under .200. Conor Jackson at .205 and Stephen Drew at .205 aren’t far behind.
It is too late to say this is early. Tonight is a must win, and you don’t say that many times in early May. The fact is, the Dbacks just don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Dodgers. A win tonight doesn’t take you far in the other direction.
However, it will at least keep that fresh in the Dodgers minds the next time they play each other. It’s not over by any stretch of the imagination. As you well know, the Dbacks held first place almost all of last season before relinquishing it to the Dodgers in mid-September.
Just please don’t tell me its still early.
AZScot is a Sports Jabber contributing author. You can view more of his work at Venom Strikes.