If there is a consolation to the current Diamondbacks’ plight, it could be the timing.
Mired with a 4-14 mark and saddled with the worst record in the major leagues, Arizona finds little escape from its current despair. Winners of only one series this far and one home game in 1-9 (1-11 including two losses to the Dodgers in Australia), the D-backs only hope for a resilient character and renewed spirit.
Embarking on a six game road trip beginning Friday night with the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, the Diamondbacks seem to return to the scene of the crime. That’s because the Dodgers handled them so well last weekend in Chase Field and swept to the other two games at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
At this point, there appear to be no answers for the current demise and pitcher Brandon McCarthy suggested after Wednesday’s afternoon loss to the Mets that perhaps the team needs some kind of exorcism.
Perhaps, but the D-backs can look at the calendar and not quite panic.
“Right now, we’re not good enough and it doesn’t get much lower than this,” said pitcher Bronson Arroyo after he was lit up by the Mets for 10 hits and nine runs this past Tuesday night. “You still have to come to the ball park, grind it out, day in and day out regardless of the wins and losses.”
With only two weeks into the season, the timing for this misfortune could work in the D-backs favor. Here in mid-April, there’s plenty of time to recover.
If the Diamondbacks experienced this tailspin in the middle of a pennant race in August or early September, there would be no time to recover. Though their record at this point remains catastrophic, there is hope for a period of recovery.
“Our record adds to the frustration,” said manager Kirk Gibson during the recent home stand. “The players remain positive and there is no quit. We’ll try and fix it.”
A quick look at the numbers may tell part of the story.
Players with a history of production seemed to have stepped to the plate with ash in their hands instead of lumber.
Mark Trumbo, who had a career .250 hitter with the Angles before dealt to Arizona in the off-season, is hitting .197 through the D-backs first 18 games. Aaron Hill, a career .273 is out of the gate hitting .222. catcher Miguel Montero (career .267) is hitting .241 and infielder Martin Prado (career .293) is hitting .261.
The only two starters above Prado’s .261 are Paul Goldschmidt (currently hitting .338) and Chris Owings (.320).
Almost immediately, Gibson would tell any listener that starting pitching, or lack thereof, represents the main reason for the appalling start.
Numbers here help to explain.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill, banished to the bullpen, stands at 0-4 with a 9.17 ERA. McCarthy, at 0-3 to start the season, sports a 7.11 ERA and Arroyo is 1-1 but with a 9.95 ERA.
As a staff, the Diamondbacks, coming into Friday’s game at Los Angeles, have the highest ERA of any team. That currently stands of 6.02 and the Minnesota Twins, with an ERA of 5.68, are next.
“The offense has been okay,” Gibson acknowledged. “It’s the starters who have not pitched well enough to keep us in games. We expect them to go six, seven innings but that’s not happening. That makes it difficult on the bullpen and to keep running these guys out night after night. Each player has to find a way within themselves to get it done.”
The D-backs open that six game road trip Friday night with L. A.
Lefty Wade Miley (2-2, 5.04 ERA) takes on Zack Greinke (3-0, 2.76) in the opener. Mike Bolsinger, recently called up from Triple A Reno, takes Trevor Cahill’s spot in the rotation (0-0, 6.00) and will oppose ex-D-back Dan Haren (2-0. 2.04) at 5:10 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday afternoon, it’s Josh Collmenter (0-1, 3.75) against Josh Beckett (0-0, 4.00).
Then, it’s off to Wrigley Field for four with the Cubs before returning to Chase Field for a six-game home stand against the Phillies and Rockies.