We are now inside two weeks until the end of the 2012 regular season. Sadness, yes as we in the northeast will not have as lucky a Winter as we did last year. Disappointment, as there were such high hopes for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yes, we are interested in the final 12 games to see which talented youngsters can get a jump on a roster spot in 2013. Besides that, the only things left to play for are a .500 record and possibly leaping over the Dodgers and finishing in second place in the National League West. We wanted so much more than playing out the string for this team. We felt it in Spring Training. And after 150 games, it is hard to believe that we won’t be seeing the D-Backs back in the playoffs. With that in mind, let us look back at five losses during the season that contributed mightily to a mediocre season.
April 18th, 2-1 vs. the Pirates
This was Senior Day at Chase Field. It was also Daniel Hudson‘s second best performance before his season was cut short in June. Arizona held a slim 1-0 through six innings. Hudson was cruising, holding the Bucs to three hits through the first six frames. In the seventh, Pedro Alvarez went deep to tie the game at one. Hudson left the game with two outs in the eighth and two runners on. David Hernandez then relieved Hudson and allowed a broken-bat single to Neil Walker which scored Clint Barmes giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 win. It was also that day when it was revealed that Chris Young would be lost for at least two weeks with a shoulder injury. The injury derailed a promising season for CY who was off to the best start of his career.
May 22nd, 8-7 vs. the Dodgers
I remember going to sleep on this night thinking the D-Backs had bounced back after scoring one run the previous game. It wasn’t the first nor was it the last time I was wrong about this team. I fell asleep with the D-Backs up 5-0 in the fifth inning. The teams exchanged runs in the sixth before the Dodgers erupted for five runs in the seventh only to have the D-Backs retake the the lead in the home half of the frame. Arizona tacked on another run in the eighth before turning the game over to J.J. Putz. Putz’s struggles continued as he issued back-to-back walks after retiring the first batter. He then struck out Andre Ethier for the second out. Then Ivan De Jesus, Jr. stroked a two run double giving the Dodgers a stunning 8-7 victory. This was a foreshadowing of things to come.
July 13th, 8-1 vs. the Cubs
To me, this was the first sign the D-Backs were in danger of not making the playoffs, not just because the start of this game was delayed by almost four hours. At the end of June and into the first couple of days in July, Arizona had a six game losing streak. Then they won three straight at home vs. the Dodgers to close out the first half. I thought that all they needed to do was get to the All Star break to regroup and they would come out flying in the second half. After all they opened with the Cubs, whom they had swept not too long ago. The D-Backs then proceeded to lay the biggest egg of the season. Not only did they get pounded 8-1, they went on to get swept by Chicago, one of the worst teams in the game. Arizona was outscored in this three game debacle 15-3. Still, I believed…….
July 19, 7-6 vs. the Reds
……and then this game was an absolute crusher, maybe the worst loss of the season. I remember this vividly, not watching a single pitch but following the game at work. After the embarrassment in Chicago, Arizona traveled to Cincinnati to face the streaking Reds in a four game set. The Snakes took two of the first three games and were comfortably ahead 6-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. I was pumped, knowing how resilient this club was, that maybe they were about to go on a big run and climb into first place. Oh man, how wrong I was. Brandon Phillips smacked a three run homer in the sixth to cut the lead in half. No big deal, I thought. And then the seventh inning came and Cincy added three more runs. And then it was, “what just happened”? Philips drove in two more runs, Todd Frazier drove in the go-ahead run and it was on to the ninth inning. Still, I was not deterred, I believed they could pull this out. I got called into a meeting just as Aroldis Chapman took the mound. Talk about impeccable timing. Meeting over, I rushed back and saw the final score of Reds 7 Diamondbacks 6. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
August 21st, 6-5 vs. the Marlins
I learned my lesson and was able to stay awake long enough to see the latest implosion. Actually, I came close to using the previous night’s game when Joe Saunders, in what turned out to be his final D-Back start, gave up nine runs in the fourth inning. Alas, this one was much juicer. Arizona scored five times in the first inning vs. Miami…….and then did not score the rest of the game. I did not see the last out of the game which was won by the Marlins in ten innings but did manage to stick around long enough for Miami to tie the game in the sixth. Tevor Cahill, like in many games this season, could not make a lead hold up. Arizona managed only four hits over the final nine frames, a game that probably should have made me realize this was not the D-Backs’ year.
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