I have to admit, it has been much more enjoyable watching the Arizona Diamondbacks (32-32) play over the last few weeks, than at any other point of the season. After a lack luster start to the season, which saw the club fall to a season low six games under .500, Gibby (Mgr. Kirk Gibson) has the team hungry for more victories.
With the exception of tuesday’s blowout in Arlington, the snakes have been competative in every game they’ve played since the last week in May. That was the same time that team owner Ken Kendrick publicly revealed his feelings regarding his club’s recent performance (singling out specific members of the team), which prompted Gibby to hold a series of closed-doored team meetings and giving his all-star outfielder Justin Upton a couple days off to clear his mind.
Although I’m not a particular fan of public team criticism by members of our own organization, his concerns were warrented and shared by many fans who follow the team closely. Whatever was said in those meetings seem to have hit home with members of the club, and clearly has them performing at the level that they are expected to play at on the professional level.
We’re back at .500. How do we sustain? Or better, how do we improve on this record?
Too many times this season we have seen the club take us on a roller coaster ride, putting up ten runs one night, and dropping a big goose egg the next. Or allowing 20 or more runs in one series, followed by four quality starts in a row.
Consistency is the key to success. It is what separates good teams from great teams. Great teams (playoff teams) find a way to put themselves in a position to win every single night. They win games they are supposed to win, and compete in tough matchups.
Every single game counts. I know it’s a long season, but the team cannot wait til August or September to play good baseball and hope to catchup to those at the top of the division. Last season was a prime example of how every single game plays a big part in determining the playoff picture. The Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves got complacent with their performance, took their foot off the pedal, and lost overwhelming divisional leads on the last the of the season to miss the playoffs.
As easy as I make it seam, I understand it is a much tougher task to complete. Baseball is a mental game. The wear and tear of a long season, nagging injuries, off field issues, unsettled contract situations, or even the thought of an uncertain future can certainly take a tole on a player who is expected to perform at an elite level on a daily basis.
But if this team wants to achieve their ultimate goal of making the postseason and winning a world series, they are going to have to find a way to compete at a consistent rate. Battling day in and day out, manufacturing runs, and grinding out tough victories is the only way to do it.