Arizona Diamondbacks September Plunge
All season long the Arizona Diamondbacks generated enough offense to keep them competitive. The team stayed around .500 or better throughout the season. This made believers out of everyone who had them finishing fourth or lower and winning no more than 70 to 75 games.
Offense Was Delivering
The team was providing hits and averaging five runs per game. Their overall offensive performance was consistent. Pitching was sometimes a challenge, but the offense was able to overcome that with their hitting. The offense produced enough runs to get wins and keep them close enough to be a Wild Card contender.
Big Winning Streak
Torey Lovullo and his players kept saying they had a winning streak in them, they just needed the whole team to put it together. That is a hot-and-cold offense, an up-and-down rotation, and an unreliable bullpen all needing to come together at the right time.
After losing their first two games on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers in late August, they won six in a row to move four games over .500. Even though they lost the finale of a four-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, they won five more in a row for 11 wins out of 12. It was the streak they needed and left them two games out of a Wild Card spot with 20 games remaining.
Second Straight September Slump
Now, for the second straight September, the Diamondbacks are in an offensive slump. The decline in offense appears to have ended any chance of a postseason berth. They have scored an average of just three runs a game this month and just 30 runs total in their past eleven games. That has only produced three wins. Hardly a design for a team looking for a playoff spot.
For a change, the pitching had been delivering with an overall staff ERA around 3.70—but the hitting is slumping. Overall, they are hitting .228 in the month of September and less than .200 with runners in scoring position. It has not been one single-player but a collection of several.
The final games for the Diamondbacks include six games against the San Diego Padres, three at Chase Field to closes out the season and three at Petco Park. They also will host the St Louis Cardinals, who are trying to win the NL Central, for three games. But if this team is going to make a late run, it needs to get its offense going NOW. With only nine games remaining they must win all of them to have a chance to reach the postseason. That’s asking a lot.
Sadly at this point, the Diamondbacks don’t control their own destiny. Even if they have one final run in them, making the playoffs will require the four other teams ahead of them in the playoff race—Chicago Cubs, Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets—to nose-dive down the stretch. As much as one wants to believe, that’s most likely not going to happen.