Diamondbacks surge has them back into thick of playoff picture

Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks
Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

After a stunning first half in which the Arizona Diamondbacks went 52-39 and positioned themselves as one of the best teams in the National League, post-All-Star break has not been as kind. Starting 5-20 in the second half, they were falling out of the playoff picture rapidly before their current 9-2 stretch, fueling them back into a Wild Card slot. 

Right before the stretch, the team fell below .500 for the first time since April 3 but not sit a firm five games above the mark as of their recent two-game sweep of the Texas Rangers. 

New addition Paul Sewald has picked up six saves during the stretch, Zac Gallen has pitched as best as he has all season en route to three wins and Kyle Nelson and Kevin Ginkel have pitched well enough to pick up a pair of wins each. As for the bats, Christian Walker has continued his scorching hot August and has been by far the best bat recently. 

Outside of Walker, Ketel Marte and Corbin Carroll have struggled, but clutch hitting throughout the lineup has provided enough firepower for the good pitching to take care of business. 

In his last three starts, Gallen has put up game scores of 71, 65 and 64, all three above-average starts to continue his strong multi-year run. In this stretch, he’s gone 18.1 innings, striking out 22 while giving up just two earned runs, an ERA below 1.00. He has also only walked one batter per start, dominating in all aspects of preventing opposing offensives from getting hot. 

Nelson has appeared in six games, pitching 4.1 innings without letting an earned run across. His season ERA is now down to 2.91 and his year has been a x-factor in the team’s success through mid-August. 

Finally, the new addition of Sewald has pitched 6.0 innings during the stretch, tallying six saves and successfully limited runs with zero earned runs since August 12. Since coming from the Seattle Mariners, he has solidified the backend of the bullpen. 

On to Walker, whose 1.176 OPS and 15 hits since August 12 have led the offense and been the major spark of the winning stretch. He’s been clutch too, as his 13 RBI during the stretch bring him to 84 on the year, just 10 below his career-high from 2022. 

With their nine wins in 11 games, Arizona is now tied for the third NL Wild Card spot with a big series upcoming against the Cincinnati Reds, another team fighting for that spot.