There is nothing like a quick start—in any walk of life—to get your confidence up and your mind set on the task ahead.
Say you wake up ultra-motivated and get to work at 6AM. You show up in your deserted office early and all of your meaningful work is done by 9AM. You can just glide through the rest of the day because of your early focus. Now on a normal day you might be stumbling into work after 9AM with no motivation. You’ll find yourself scrambling to get everything done with a million distractions right through the thick of your day. The same should be true in baseball. Get off to a 20-10 start, and coast the rest of the way–maybe playing a few games above .500–then when the season ends you have 95 wins and you’re in the playoffs.
That’s the way it SHOULD be. We all know otherwise. Just ask the 2011 Cleveland Indians. On May 23rd 2011, the Indians had a record of 30-15 and had a 7 game lead in the American League Central. They ended the season 80-82, 15 games behind the Detroit Tigers. Of the four major sports, baseball is not conducive to flukes. Everything evens out in the end and you can never trump talent.
That being said, a good start definitely isn’t a burden if your team is good. Not only do the D-Backs look to be the class of the NL West, but probably one of the top contenders in the NL— coupled in there with the Phillies and Cardinals and maybe the Braves and Marlins. The D-Backs first couple of weeks could instill a little confidence in them early to where their talent can help them coast through the dog days if they find themselves up 10-15 games in May.
Arizona opens with a home series against their rival Giants. While the Giants look to have a talented team, a charged up Chase Field should give the Diamondbacks an advantage in the series. After that, the D-Backs have a chance to roll until the tough schedule starts. Arizona will go to San Diego and Colorado for the next six games. The Padres are a perpetual mess and the Rockies have been among baseball’s biggest disappointments in recent history. After that the D-Backs get three off days in the form of the Pittsburgh Pirates at home. Next, they’ll get their biggest early tests in the form of the Phillies and Braves, but all seven games will be at home where the Diamondbacks played 21 games above .500 in 2011.
Like I said, nothing is certain with a fast start. In fact, sometimes teams peak too early and it might end up hurting them…but the bottom line in baseball is wins. When the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking at the standings the end of September—if they get off to the start I believe they will—they can thank their early schedule that sets up nicely for them.
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