17 April 2010


Just when innately offensive Sedona Red was looking positively explosive, when Phoenicians fathomed a western changing of the guard, roster design fused with organizational karma to expose an all too familiar dud. Thursday's finale at Dodger Stadium was easily the Dbacks' most critical game of the noncompetitive Hinch Age. After battling LA even for two days, a win would have bestowed not just an early divisional series, but the dawn of The New Era careerist princelings have trumpeted for five years; the one where Mike Rizzo acquisitions finally get sufficient help to start winning - and the post Rizzo pretenders take full credit.

No such luck.

There's been much to like, too. Stuff we're not used to, like leading the NL in homers and finally having a first baseman who can field and hit. Plating over six runs per night, the Dbacks lurk in every contest, even when the pitching falters. Overall, the defense looks practiced and crisper than before. Even Chris Young has rebounded at the dish and on the bases.

Yet the most charitable (and gosh darned friendliest) organization in baseball sits 5-5, due to bargain pitching questionably managed, and the third lamest SOS in the league....Pittsburg.... San Diego, home and home. Even Los Angeles has declined. Yet Hollywood's shortcomings, including an uncharacteristically shallow rotation and ancient defensive left side, couldnt prevent the Dodgers from taking two of three. Last night, the Padres -and their $37M payroll - evened the season series (2-2) via yet another spectacular Hinch bullpen implosion.

While it's true Hinch oversees a more mature and balanced offense than Bob Melvin ever enjoyed, after nearly a year of Hinch & Stott mound visits prefacing immediate catastrophe, it's pretty clear they have less feel for managing a pen. I cant count the times Bryan Price used to visit a struggling pitcher on the hill and the pitcher would defuse trouble. In retrospect, I wish I had.


Russell said...

Our friend in New York is of the opinion that the D-Backs are not getting close calls because umpires are not afraid of Hinch.

He may have a point, but recent games have reminded me a lot of last season. The team just lacks the mentatlity to finish the opposition off. It's still early days and things can change but I am less optimistic than I was at the start of the season (and I wasn't that optimistic then).

Diamondhacks said...

I'm not quite as down on the team's overall chances as you guys seem to be, but agree with Paul on the calls. AJ's just not a presence out there; more observer or analyst than intense advocate or participant. Kennedy got squeezed pretty badly yesterday.