With their 5-0 loss to the San Diego Padres Friday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks have 36 games to make up seven games in the National League West or six games in the wild cards standings. Adversity is something that this team has been used to having over the past two season. However, while in 2011 they were somehow able to overcome every obstacle in their path, 2012 has not been quite as successful.
The problem is that they are causing them more adversity than they should face. The number of games they are behind is not bad enough. The issue is that the are in third place in the division and they would have to pass three teams to be one of the two wild card teams.
It is now the end of August and the team has not yet decided, or been able, to jump on opposing teams and take control of their own destiny. They have opened five of their last six series with losses and have only scored nine runs in those games, a total of six runs in the losses.
They can't afford to that anymore.
Outfielder Chris Young talked about momentum a bit after the game Friday. He was answering a question that asked specifically about losing after the momentum of two straight wins before the off day. He downplayed the loss to start things off.
"We can still keep it going," he said. "This is just one loss, I understand that, but we can still win the series. I wouldn't say the momentum is gone just because one game is lost. You kind of take it series to series. If we win this series, then you could say we carried the momentum from before the off day, so that's all we have to focus on."
While that is the right approach to take after the loss, there is a reality he and other need to face. They haven't been rebounding. In the previous four series they opened with losses, they they have not come back to win any of them. They salvaged a split in two.
At this juncture in the season, they can;t afford anymore flat openers. You cannot expect to win every single game, but you have to come out at the start of each series better than they have. Winning the first game puts the team in control of the series. Falling in openers forces you to win the last two. And this D-backs team just has not been that good under pressure.
They have looked flat. On Friday, they were playing in front of over 32,000 fans and offensively they looked lifeless. You have to credit Padres pitcher Eric Stults in part for that, but it did not appear that the hitters had much fight in them.
The worst part? There don't seem to be any answers. Manager Kirk Gibson, when asked about the play in series openers noted, "we haven't been very good following off days either. Not sure I have the answer for that."
Urgency. The team needs to show it. They have not been doing it. It has almost been that way the whole year. They had such high hopes, such high expectations. The team is talented, no doubt about that. Maybe players felt that things would just happen again like last year, that the talent would just come through.
It hasn't, and it is soon to be a season of yet another Arizona team that has crumbled under the weight of lofty expectations.
Is it too late? Not quite. But it is getting awfully close. Young will be right if the team comes back and wins the final games of the series. But if you haven't seen it recently, can you expect it?
Sports is always a "what have you done lately" business. Lately, they haven't been doing it. Unless things change in a hurry and they get a little help, it will simply be too little, too late.
And with the talent on this team, it will be a shame.
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