D-Backs

Are you sitting down? You better sit down. I also hope you took your blood pressure medication today. I have some news that may shock you.

Ready? As of May 8, the Diamondbacks are above .500.

Yes, you heard that right. After winning seven of their last 10 games, the D-Backs improved their record to 15-14. They’re still in last place in the National League West, but that’s more an indication of how strong the division is.

Okay, just try to relax. Take deep breaths. In, out. In, out. Add the word “burger” if you like. There, that’s better. I know that was shocking, but at least it was a good shock if you’re a D-Backs fan.

At this point, the D-Backs have a better record than the 2021 World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves. They’re in position to pass two of their NL West rivals, the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants.

The D-Backs play their home games at Chase Field, one of the most notorious hitters’ parks in baseball. Yet, it looks like pitching will turn out to be their strongest asset this year. Of the five starters, three have ERAs under 3.00:  Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 1.50), Merrill Kelly (3-1, 1.22) and Zac Gallen (2-0, 0.95). The other in the starting rotation, Zach Davies (1-1, 3.34) and Humberto Castellanos (2-1, 4.12) aren’t slouches either.

In the bullpen, the two relief pitchers signed in the off-season have, so far, lived up to the advertised. Mark Melancon is 0-3, but he has 5 saves to go with his 4.00 ERA. Ian Kennedy is 2-1, 3.46 with 3 saves. I certainly hope the young pitchers on the D-Backs’ roster can learn something from these two veterans.

As for the hitting, I wonder if these guys might do better hitting the ball off a tee. The “power hitters” of the line-up are Daulton Varsho and Christian Walker. Varsho is 6-.245-13. Walker has 6 home runs and 12 RBI. However, his batting average is an anemic .163. Ketel Marte is batting just .206. The leading hitter among the starters is Pavin Smith at .250. He also has 3 home runs and 11 RBI.

At least Nick Ahmed and Josh Rojas are back from injuries. It says something about this team that Ahmed’s .214 batting average is considered an improvement over what was there before.

Whatever happened to Seth Beer? He started the season red hot, but has slumped and his batting average has dropped to .214. Maybe he needs to go back to the minors for some more “seasoning.” It wouldn’t be the first time a rookie started out very hot and then got very cold.

Of course, all this talk of the D-Backs being above .500 and their pitching staff looking good needs to be put into perspective. It’s still early in the season, and they could still revert to their form from 2021. We can always hope they don’t.

Who knows? If they keep playing like this, there may actually be some D-Backs fans who show up at Chase Field. I suspect the D-Backs would love to hear cheers from the home crowd. It would be wonderful to hear Arizona fans drown out the fans from other teams like the Dodgers and the Cubs.

I was at the Wild Card game in 2017, and I got to hear 48,000 Arizona fans cheering for their D-Backs. I’ll never forget it.

Say, did you hear about Bumgarner being ejected from a game after the umpire stared at him while checking his hands for foreign and banned substances? It seems Mad Bum doesn’t like being stared at and make a comment to the ump to that effect, which led to the ejection.

Mr. Bumgarner, the next time you get in a staring situation, let me know and I’ll send my cat, Misty. Believe me, she can outstare anyone.

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