After making the postseason last year and almost pushing past the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card round, many expectations were placed on the Diamondbacks' shoulders heading into 2012. Call it a burden or call it reasonable, many thought this team would thrive with a young pitching rotation, solid hitting and a manager that refuses to lose. In fact, there were even some baseball analysts that claimed the Diamondbacks would make it to the World Series with all the talent they have.
So much for that.
The Diamondbacks' bid at making the postseason for the second consecutive time came to an end on Friday night as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Washington Nationals, 12-2. The players were disappointed after the game, as was their manager, Kirk Gibson. Star outfielder Justin Upton noted that the team just couldn't put the pieces together to ever make a substantial run. And it's somewhat curious as to why they couldn't.
Signing Jason Kubel in the offseason was a huge move for Arizona. He led the club in home runs and RBI's this season, proving to be the extra piece that the team needed. Adding Trevor Cahill didn't hurt either (although, you could argue that holding on to Jarrod Parker would have been wiser). He was a consistent pitcher that gave the Diamondbacks almost 200 innings in 2012.
Then you have the young talent that the team called up throughout the year. Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs; all pitchers that had a youthful impact with the team. Miley was the team's best pitcher this season and could end up winning himself an NL Rookie of the Year award.
So, what happened? Last time this season, Diamondbacks fans were wondering if Ian Kennedy would win the Cy Young. They were wondering if Justin Upton had a shot at actually claiming an MVP award. Wondering if the Diamondbacks had a magical run in them, one that could push them to their second World Series victory in franchise history.
Now, fans are wondering what in the world happened. The team imploded in front of their eyes. The pitching was there, the hitting, although streaky, could still put up big numbers with power. So, really, what happened?
Honestly, I don't think that is a question we can really answer. To me, it really comes down to what Justin Upton said. The team just couldn't manage to put it all together.
And when you fail to piece the puzzle together, expectations cannot be met.