Was Paul Goldschmidt’s injury the final straw for an impending meltdown? Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
I have a bad feeling about the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have hung in there after a terrible start to their 2014 season. Through much adversity, we have seen several young players shine in their first extended playing time. However, after consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the question I need to get off my chest is this. Are the Arizona Diamondbacks about to implode?
The signs are there and have been magnified thanks to the events of the past 48 hours. The D’backs lost 9-4 Friday night after leading 4-1 after seven innings. The Pirates erupted for eight runs against the non-main Arizona relievers: Randall Delgado, Eury De La Rosa and Bo Schultz. The unavailability of the rest of the bullpen indirectly cost the D’backs the game. A very tough loss indeed but OK. On Saturday, we learned that Paul Goldschmidt suffered a fractured hand after being hit by a pitch in a pinch-hitting role the previous night. In a season full of injuries, that is the most devastating of all. Saturday’s game is played and the Snakes and Bucs are tied at 1-1 heading into the eighth inning. Then Brad Ziegler, one of the main pitchers in the ‘pen, gets lit up for two earned runs (four total) and three hits in a third of inning. Another close game turns into a rout as the Pirates win 8-3. During the contest, manager Kirk Gibson was tossed before the third inning began after arguing a replay call from the prior frame.
Why do I think the seeds have been planted for an implosion? The last two days are the culmination of bad baseball and bad luck throughout the 2014 season. The D’backs were at expected to possibly be a fringe playoff contenders this year. However, March and April were so bad that there was no realistic way the team would be able to recover; even getting to .500 would be a challenge. This was before the injuries started to pile up. Granted, Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez were knocked out for the season before the games even began. Once guys like Mark Trumbo, A.J. Pollock and Bronson Arroyo went down, any remote chance for success vanished. Still, the team kept fighting and since the end of April have played at about a .500 clip. Now, the events of the last two days, wasting efforts by two starting pitchers that weren’t in the rotation at the beginning of the season and an injury to their best player point toward a sinking ship.
Gibson may very well be judged by how the D’backs play over the last 51 games. If they continue to play competitive baseball, then Tony LaRussa could bring him back. However, if the implosion does hit then we could easily be looking at his last stretch as D’backs’ manager. I said it on Friday and I will say it again. I still look forward to the rest of the season.