DbacksAllTheWay wrote:At the beginning of the season, I predicted that the Dbacks would go 97-65 this year. I got criticized a lot by my friends for this. I now am a total believer that they will win this division. The Padres are looking good right now, but they have a good may every year. I don't think they can keep this up. I think the Diamondbacks are just going to get better, because when they get Ortiz pitching like he should and get the bullpen straightened out, they WILL BE THE TEAM TO BEAT!! Do you think they will take this division?
Where to start?
Alright, I think of any team in the major leagues, the Diamondbacks made the best offseason moves. They solidified their starting pitching by adding two good young arms in Vazquez and Halsey. Halsey's value is even greater seeing as he's a left-hander replacing the left-handed void left by Johnson leaving. Glaus has been everything the D-Backs needed and more. He's a great fielder and his bat is well-suited for Arizona.
That said I think Russ Ortiz was one of the worst signing in the entire major leagues. When San Francisco let this guy walk after 67 wins in less than five season, I knew something was up. He went to Atlanta, where he walked 224 batters in two years. If Leo Mazzone can't help your control no one can. That's been the case this year; he can't find homeplate and to be honest, I don't see that changing. It looks like the organization will have to eat the contract or watch him blow games left and right.
If any team is over-achieving it's the Diamondbacks. They need bullpen help and relying on the players they are on offense is not wise. When you compare them to the Padres a few things stare out at you.
1. The difference in the bullpens. The D-Backs enter today with a bullpen record of 7-9. Not too horendous, but it isn't anything close to the Padres bullpen record of 15-5. The bullpen is greater reflected in the teams' extra innings records. Padres are 4-1, D-Backs 0-5.
2. Depth. The Padres have more talent on the bench to go along with more experience. This is pivitol in replacing injured players. The last three days, the game winning hits have been supplied by Damian Jackson, Miguel Ojeda, and Geoff Blum. All are not starters when the team is healthy. While the D-Backs bench certainly isn't bad there isn't that big of a safety net.
3. Homefield advantage. To me the greatest problem with having a hitters park like Arizona is that it becomes increasingly difficult to pull off a great home-field advantage. It basically becomes a slug-fest, whereas with Petco there is a certain style of play that works more efficiently and you need to be able to manufacture runs. Padres leave today with the best home record at 18-4.
That said, I give the Diamondbacks executives a thumbs-up for jolting life back into what was a pathetic 2004 effort, although I don't think this is the Diamonbacks year. I'd hope for a second place finish; I think once Schmidt is back to 100% and Bonds returns that the Giants will probably take over 2nd place.