03 April 2010

Full Schedule Finally Confronts Hinch

Schedules arent always as they appear. Last April, the Dbacks opened with eighteen of 21 at home, but a physically compromised club couldnt win, and Bob Melvin was fired. In retrospect, it was a brutal opening schedule. Twenty three of 27 opponents with winning records (by year end) - and the four games against "losers" were in Milwaukee, who led their division in May and June and finished 80-82.

Nonetheless, my initial reaction is that Arizona's 2010 schedule looks quite tough. Certainly tougher than the pattycake run Josh Byrnes handed Hinch after Melvin's comparative death march. Which intrigues, because a vital thread in the Dbacks' ongoing disinformation campaign is this business about not judging AJ until he's had a full year under his belt - including his own spring training. It's just another organizational conceit; the idea that a non-experienced hire deserves more of a transition honeymoon, when experienced candidates (including Jim Tracy, presumably) were readily available.

At any rate, we're there. This was the spring and this is the full season the Diamondbacks have been pointing towards since last season's debacle. Forget about 2009, they assure us. Chalk it up to bad luck. Watch us be accountable, on defense and with a whirlwind of offseason moves. That was then and this is now.

They're right about one thing. This is now. Ordinarily, I wouldnt take much notice of preseason records, but since Hinch himself insisted that everything suddenly counted this spring, it should probably be noted he went 15-17, sixth among eight NL Cactus squads. Looking forward, they get an 'extra' game against Washington and Atlanta, but in the Central miss one game against Pittsburg and host St Louis for an extra three game set. That would seem a scheduling disadvantage.

The crusher, though, could be interleague:

Yankees (3)
@ Boston (3)
@ Tampa (3)
@ Detroit (3)
Toronto (3)

Add in eighteen games apiece against the Rockies and Dodgers, supplemented with San Fran's power arms, and it's hard not to get the impression we're looking up at the competition more often than not. That's subjective, very liquid and might not be true as the season unfolds. For example, I'm more optimistic about our offense than most and harbor manifold doubts about the Dodgers. But today, with the number and quality of Webb starts huge unknowns, leaving a rotation of Haren, Jackson, Kennedy, Rodrigo Lopez and somebody else... it's really hard not to form that impression.

Ironically, the schedule commences like another cupcake for Hinch, hosting San Diego and Pittsburg. Beyond that, however, it's a whole new ballgame for our manager trainee - perhaps, all over again.

4 comments:

Russell said...

I'm actually gettin less and less optimistic as the season approaches. Perhaps that's my innate British miserablism, but with Webb out for who knows how long and my lack of faith in Hinch I would happily settle for anything over 75 wins.

Diamondhacks said...

Yeah, I'm going back n forth, and one of the wild cards for me is Hinch. His insertion badly damaged the 2009 club, but I think teams can eventually rally around mgrs who take alot of 'the heat'.

Russell said...

I seem to have finally mastered the art of the invisible comment. Very Zen.

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