Injuries a Season-Long Enemy
In order to be in the thick of a division-race in any given season, historically the teams with the best pitching staffs have succeeded over teams without (just ask the 2010 San Francisco Giants). It’s obvious, the old saying “pitching wins you games” is true, but injuries are a key factor down the stretch.
A year ago, the Diamondbacks appeared to be unstoppable down the stretch, rolling over any NL West competitor that stood in their way. A main reason for that is that the team suffered the least amount of injuries out of any other team in the NL West. San Francisco may have had a slightly better pitching staff, but Arizona had more depth and was able to keep fresh legs on the field throughout the season.
August 5, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Henry Blanco (12) leaves the game with the trainer after being injured on a play at home plate against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
What a difference a season makes.
This season was a complete polar opposite of last year, as the 2012 D-backs have suffered (and continue to suffer) nagging injuries that force manager Kirk Gibson to shuffle his lineup more than he would like. Although it has given young players the opportunity to play and prove themselves, Gibby would like nothing more than to see consistency in his lineup.
The squad has suffered injuries and losses to key players throughout the season, such as outfielder Chris Young (Shoulder, quad), Willie Bloomquist (back), Daniel Hudson (Arm), Henry Blanco (Thumb), Paul Goldschmidt (back), Jason Kubel (hamstring), JJ Putz (back), and Chris Johnson (hand).
In comparison, the division champion San Francisco Giants have had a role reversal and have benefited from a healthier lineup than they did a season ago.
Some may call it bad luck, but in any case, we can agree that the stars did not align for these Arizona Diamondbacks and they will have to wait till next year to battle for the postseason once more.