I think it’s fair the say the Diamondbacks are killing it this year. Winning nine straight series to start the season is quite the feat to accomplish with the last time being the 2001 Mariners. The D-Backs are seriously something special this season. They are a much more balanced team that has learned to adapt to the small ball style of play in spite of the humidor and loss of many sluggers to DL or free agency. The bullpen doesn’t give mass heart attacks when they come out to save the game. They aren’t firing on all cylinders and destroying every aspect of the game like the Red Sox, but they are consistently dominant with pitching and just good enough at the plate.
The unexpected heroes currently are Patrick Corbin and Zack Godley, who are leading the team in wake of a rough stretch from Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke. Corbin has played six games with a 2.25 ERA and pitched his first ever career shutout against the Giants. On one hand it’s amazing to see the unexpected season from him, but also bittersweet that he’ll be seeking big money after this year. Greinke has been on the unfortunate end of some lucky plays, but is not playing like normal loveable Greinke with a 4.80 ERA in five games started. He’s given up more hits and homeruns than any other pitcher on the team. If he can start to put it back together and give up less hits in crucial situations, that could be the boost the Diamondbacks need to become the best team in the league.
The injury bug has started to hit the starting pitching though, with Taijuan Walker having to undergo TJ surgery and Robbie Ray leaving a game against the Nationals with a Strained Right Oblique. This has not been optimal, but when one falls another rises to take their place, such as Matt Koch who pitched a pretty great game against the Padres despite the loss.
This team is not without some minor pitfalls though. There have been some low batting averages amongst starters. David Peralta, AJ Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt are leading the bats with .900+ OPS, while Alex Avila and Ketel Marte are sitting around a sub .600 OPS. Avila was putrid at the start of the season although he has been picking it up recently, but Marte just hasn’t been good. If they are able to elevate their play just a bit, the whole team will rise with them. The reason why it’s so special is that the entire unit has overcome some poor play from certain individuals, and all the runners left on base. These upcoming series will show if the D-Backs are a serious contender or if the injuries have become too much, with a four game series against the Dodgers, three against the Astros, another two against the Dodgers and then three against the Nationals. Now is the time to watch and see what the Diamondbacks are capable of this season.
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