MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Hitting Slump
The trade deadline has ended and as we wait the “waiver claim” trade deadline we can say that all the trade pre-deadline chatter was at an all-time high, but not much emerged for the Diamondbacks. It certainly was not from a lack of effort on the part of GM Kevin Towers. The only deal that materialized saw former ace Ian Kennedy traded to San Diego and the Diamondbacks in return received lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, minor league reliever Matt Stites (who might be the closer of the future) and a supplemental draft pick. This trade did address two critical needs; the addition of left-handed relief pitching specialist and the departure of Kennedy from the Diamondbacks.
However what it did not do was fix the lackluster offense and the ability to score runs with runners in scoring position. The Diamondbacks are still at the bottom of baseball in this extremely important category. It has plagued the Diamondbacks all season.
Yes, we can say that the starting pitching has been hit or miss; but overall it has been right around the league average. The bullpen has been, well, unpredictable the first half of the season, but lately has shown great improvement and stability except for David Hernandez.
This roster, which was built by Kevin Towers, is full of names that should be producing, but simply are not. That is taking its toll on the Diamondbacks’ postseason chances and if you are a fan of this team, you are probably very uneasy about this situation.
As you look back at this season so far, you will probably think about blown saves because we have seen several, but the offense has been very lethargic in the run production aspect of the game. The bases-loaded groundouts and the 1-2-3 innings with the Diamondback hitters going down in order should be what you remember from 2013 season.
At the plate, with runners in scoring position; there are only six teams (WAS, KC, HOU, NYY, CHW, FLA) that have a more “punch less” offense than the Diamondbacks and that statistic needs improvement if the Diamondbacks are going to stay in the NL West race.
What can be done to turn this around? Actually not very much at this time, unless some players start hitting and producing with runners in scoring position. We may be at the point where we just have to stand up and face the fact that we have guys having down years simultaneously. It does happen to all teams in baseball. We will mention that the Diamondbacks have lost some key guys to injuries and the other players have filled in the best they can, but Cliff Pennington can’t replace the offensive production of Aaron Hill. And both Cody Ross and Jason Kubel never seemed to get in stride after their injuries. Also Adam Eaton, Miguel Montero and A.J. Pollock have not produced much offensively; and it took Martin Prado more than half of the 2013 season to get out of his hitting slump.
The race for the NL West title is not over for the Diamondbacks, but if they can’t get the timely hitting from everyone they will fall farther back and have to decide whether to resort to playing some players from the minor leagues to get ready for the 2014 season.
I hope to see you at the ballpark.
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