MLB: AZ Diamondbacks 2013 Review
When looking back at the Arizona Diamondbacks’2013 season you can note several things that led this team to another 81-81 season.
Let’s review some of the reasons that made this an average season.
We can begin with the lack of timely hits with runners in scoring position. There were many times when it looked like they had a chance, whether they were ahead or behind in the game, but they could not get the key hit when needed.
The Diamondbacks led baseball in grounding into double plays, with 160. Sloppy base running led to only 62 stolen bases and they were caught 41 times attempting to steal. That was the worst percentage in baseball.
For this team to contend next season they must improve their chances when runners are on base. That will come down to their hitting coach getting them in sync and the team making trades, if a power bat is available. They can’t just rely on one guy to come through every time; they will need multiple players contributing to the effort. A new first base coach (Steve Sax will not be back) will be assigned to get this team to improve on stealing bases, to improve on timely hit and run situations and to avoid getting caught stealing.
The 2013 Diamondback pitchers led the National League in yielding homeruns with 176 and led baseball with 84 wild pitches. But when you look those statistics, as well as others, it still came down to the poor performance by the bullpen; included in this was an MLB leading 29 blown saves.
Another issue tied to the blown saves and meager performance from the bullpen; was the fact that the Diamondbacks played 80 innings of extra baseball. They led MLB in extra inning games. That can be looked at as a major reason the club struggled the last two and a half months of the season. The Diamondbacks pitchers recorded 18+ more innings than any other club in baseball this season and only one team in the history of MLB has ever played more innings than the Diamondbacks did this past season.
We know that watching extra innings is fun and exciting, but it does take a toll on the pitching staff. It was great that the Diamondbacks did win 17 of those 25 extra inning games, but we did see what it did to the bullpen, as well as to their starting pitchers.
One step the Diamondbacks will take to get the pitching staff turned around is to look for a new pitching coach. (Charles Nagy will not be back) A pitching coach needs to be confident in his talents as a coach and that will reflect on the whole pitching staff. The pitchers need to feel comfortable in various pitching situations and with their fellow players, which should, in theory, improve the situation.
The front office, including Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson will be called on once again to re-build the bullpen. Players will be let go; trades will occur; and additional pitchers will be invited to spring training for a tryout, all in hopes of rebuilding the bullpen for 2014.
The Diamondbacks definitely have the talent to get better, but they will need to make improvements in all of the above areas or the 2014 season will be an exact image of 2013, just average.
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