Coming off an improbable run to the National League Divisional Series last season, the 2012 version was supposed to be even better than the one that caught many of the so-called “experts” by surprise last year.
Better starting rotation.
More power in the middle of the lineup.
A deeper, more versatile bullpen.
With the MLB regular season fading away quicker than the triple degree days here in Phoenix, Kirk Gibson’s team finds itself clinging to the slim hopes of punching their ticket back to the post-season via a wild card birth in the National League.
Some of the off-season moves like outfielder Jason Kubel have panned out, while others like pitcher Takashi Saito have not. Mix in inconsistency at the plate from players who were relied upon to build off of last season and you have a sub-.500 team buried in the middle of the division they clinched less than 12 months ago.
Some players struggles have led to opportunities for others, particularly in the starting rotation which now features highly rated prospects Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs, as well as Wade Miley who’s become the unheralded ace of the staff.
“I think it’s great these young lefties are up right now,” Diamondbacks Special Assistant to the President and Broadcaster Luis Gonzalez told Brad Cesmat Monday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “They’re learning. This is on the job training for them. With them pitching in these big games against the Giants, Dodgers. That’s only going to help them in the long run.”
If the Dbacks can’t pull themselves ahead of the cluster of teams above them in the playoff chase, Gonzo is certain there is a plan in place moving into the off-season.
“Last year was a great season for us,” Gonzalez explained to Cesmat. “I think a lot of guys got a reality check this year. We’ll continue to work to find the right players to fit our puzzle on this team. Kevin Towers is a great general manager. Kevin always looks for the grinder-type guys. I think guys like [infielder] Willie Bloomquist help us win more games…when they get in the game, they find ways to get the job done.”