07 September 2009

Who's Your Padre?

Practically speaking, the fact we fell into a tie for last place yesterday isnt big news. Not after the front office boldly declared winning secondary to showcasing minor league tryouts, shorty after the All Star break.

But psychologically, the impact of seeing your club dead even with the skeletal Padres, this late in the season, is spooky. In preseason, we were touted in intelligent circles as potential Dodger killers. Just for fun, Bill James had us in the World Series, and our executives were even regaled in Fortune, on how to run a ballclub. San Diego, with a divorced ownership, front office in flux and roster in shambles, was a consensus 1oo loss pick.

The effed up Friars have miraculously managed to avoid that, yet in terms of underlying measures like run differential, still project as the worst team in the National League - even worse than Washington. The Diamondbacks are a measurably stronger club, in theory if not in fact, scoring almost as many runs as they yield.

So, to share last place on Labor Day is a stunning, almost surreal, development. When I lamented our 6-11 start in April, I never saw this coming. When I lambasted the May hire of Hinch, this did not compute. Even when the club floundered in June, I couldnt have imagined we'd be tied with the Padres this deep into the year.

With due respect to Brandon Webb and Conor Jackson, it's remarkable to think a team could perform so shabbily while enjoying a plethora of breakout seasons. Mark Reynolds smashed 40 homers and Justin Upton became an All Star. Miguel Montero blossomed into the finest hitting catcher in franchise history. In lesser news, Felipe Lopez hit .300 while he was here, Drew's an above average offensive shortstop, Gerardo Parra was May's Rookie of the Month, and Ryan Roberts has been a godsend off the bench.

On the hill, Dan Haren was the league's dominant stopper through July. Better than Lincecum, Santana. Better than Webb, in his Cy Young season. The Dbacks big three (Haren, Davis, Garland) chucked sixty quality starts, more than any NL trio (incl. Wainwright, Carpenter, Piniero), despite toiling in an extreme hittters park. Our #4 Max Scherzer (110 ops+) would slot as the #3 in either Colorado or San Fran, teams curiously fifteen games our superior.

The bullpen is below average, but no worse than the Rockies relievers.

It all adds up to last place, with San Diego, a team playing out the string before the season even started. A team whose best starter by far ( Kevin Correia), would be our #5, edging out combustible Yusmiero Petit on the depth chart. I mean, you have to laugh, to keep from crying, if you're a Diamondbacks fan. There have been plenty of markers along the way, but now more than ever, this season has crystalized into an unmerciful indictment of a pretender organization, its poser leadership and their marketing-driven vision.


PAUL said...

The Padres have played well lately if that helps at all.

Caroline said...

Isn't Petit our (hate to say it) #4 starter now? And Buckner is #5?
I didn't realize our numbers were that good. Except Haren, who's having a career year offensively and defensively, as well as pitching-wise.

Diamondhacks said...


Yes! Since Jon Garland was traded for three long-sleeve raglan Dodger hoodies, Petit is our #4. Daron Sutton has reconstituted a knuckle curve and will slot in at 5.


break em up ;-)

Russell said...

I'm trying to think of a metaphor for something that is less than the sum of it's parts. But maybe the Diamondbacks ARE the metaphor.

Diamondhacks said...

Yeah, that's what I implied, but really, I'm not all that keen about the sum of the parts either.

There are terrific parts and what they used to refer to in an old chicken commercial as "pieces parts". Gristle, basically. To be chewed up and spit out at the major league level.

So, I dont necessarily feel they're less than the sum of their parts. They're less than what they think they are. Less than what they say they are. To an unusual degree.