Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Three Weeks: Sisters of the Poor? 

Let's get to it.

The Week That Was

Record: 4-2 (1st place in the NL West, 0.5 games ahead of SD, 3.0 games ahead of LA)
Runs Scored/Runs Against: 3.75 - 2.25 (high/low dropped)
Transactions: Brandon Lyon on 15-day DL, Matt Kata recalled from Tucson (5/18)

Two road series, two road series wins. I don't care if you're playing the St. Mary's Sisters of the Poor and your son's 6-year-old T-ball league, road series wins matter. Add those to the road series win against the Rockies, and you can make a stronger case that the Diamondbacks are here to stay. They might not make the playoffs, but the 51-win season of 2004 seems like such a distant memory. To those who might say, well, the Diamondbacks are supposed to beat those teams, I'd reply, well, yes. Which they just did.

There are still gaps in this team. The offense disappears for great swaths of innings at a time. The bullpen is mostly solid but, as you might expect with the 6 or 7 worst pitchers on the team, is hardly super-consistent. (Come back soon, Mr. Lyon.) Even the starting rotation has shown some gaps thus far (I'm giving an indirect glance in your direction, Mr. Ortiz). But you look around the National League West and you wonder, why not?

And a moment here to praise Javier Vazquez's tremendous season thus far. Setting aside just one game -- his Opening Day fiasco -- here are his stats.

65.1 IP, 57 hits, 19 ER, 8 walks, 61 strikeouts... that's a ERA of 2.62, a WHIP of 0.99. Those are stats that put him in the Top 5 or 6 pitchers in the National League, especially gaudy considering he's playing half his games in a pitchers' park.

We all hoped Vazquez would be stellar. This stellar, we did not expect.

The Weeks That Will Be

6 at home (3 vs. San Diego, 3 vs. the Dodgers)
7 on the road (3 vs. the Mets, 4 vs. Philadelphia, including Monday, June 6th)

It seems weird to be writing about the Padres and Dodgers once more, so I don't have much to say. The Padres have so-so hitting (11th in NL OPS) and decent pitching (5th in ERA), while the Dodgers have great hitting (1st in NL OPS) and poor pitching (13th in ERA). The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, have so-so-to-poor hitting (12th in NL OPS) and decent pitching (10th in ERA).

What's more important, of course, since nobody actually plays these games with the statistics, is that the Diamondbacks are in 1st place and are playing a set of meaningful intradivision games in late May. They lead the season series against both squads 4-2. I'm not ready to pronounce the season over if they only win 1 game over the next week. I'm not ready to clear out my October schedule to attend playoff games if they win 5 games.

But for all the outsiders who've been waiting for the Diamondbacks to play the "meat" of their schedule (and they've been saying that for a month now), even a 3-3 record for the week would have to qualify as "not bad."

Comments: Post a Comment