There were two themes to this season, and both were on display through the D-backs’ last week of games. A 2-5 week brought the truly average D-backs to a truly average .500 record (and to a 16th place finish in the ESPN Power Rankings), and a couple of extra-inning games were thrown in for good measure.
The extra innings brought the season total to 80 extras — just 2 short of the all-time record of 82, set by the 1918 Washington Senators. But the Senators played a shorter season. In terms of total innings, the 1964 Yankees played 1,537 innings (in 164 games) — short of the 1,538-inning season the D-backs just completed. In other words, the D-backs may not have claimed the record for most extra innings in a season — but they did become the team to have played the most innings in a regular season, all time. That’s not nothing.
The Longest Season felt longer, of course, because there weren’t too many highs and lows. Sure, we had more than our share of comeback wins (42, to 33 blown leads) and walkoffs (13, to 7 walkoff losses), but the team never put up a streak of wins or losses longer than 5 games.
In fact, the team only put up winning streaks of 4 games or more 5 times, and losing streaks of at least 4 games just four times. The reason we shouldn’t be surprised about that: this season, it was like most games were decided by a coin flip. Just by run differential, we could have expected the team to finish 81-81 or 80-82; Arizona’s -10 run differential was second-closest to zero in the sport (Angels, -4). No other NL team had a run differential within less than 30 from zero, either positive or negative.
With just one regular season game left to play (Rays/Rangers), the Diamondbacks finish 14th in the majors in pitching staff ERA. The total WAR put up by position players (22.0) also ranks 14th in the sport.
Last week, I looked at the possible 2014 roster in the outfield and infield. The team’s performance this season pretty much spells out the conclusion — Arizona is close to average nearly everywhere on the field, and the exceptions generally have in-house obstacles to going out and getting someone new (we have to wait for Cody Ross, to pick a shortstop, and to figure out if Davidson will start enough to justify a spot at third).
Later this week, I’ll take a look at the rotation and the bullpen.
Around the interwebs in the last week:
- Be sure to check out Nick Piecoro’s year end postmortem with lots and lots of info from Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers. It’s a must read. Saturday’s dominating Dan Haren start led Piecoro to a bunch of Haren thoughts, as well.
- Zach Buchanan at azcentral.com published a notebook yesterday worth checking out. He notes that the bullpen finished the season strong (as Jeff Wiser did in late August), and that Cody Ross’s recovery has been encouraging so far. The Gibson birthday story in there is pretty hilarious.
- Also from azcentral.com: Aaron Hill won’t require surgery, as his hand miraculously healed while he was playing the last two months. He’s 80% there. Good news, as we just need Hill to keep doing whatever he’s doing. Also check out this slideshow revisiting the 2009 draft.
- Dan Bickley wants Gibson to show more fire.
- John Baragona put up his top 100 prospect list at AZ Snake Pit.
- Jim McLennan took the Stake Pit show on the road, and offered his thoughts from San Diego.
- Thomas Lynch at Venom Strikes guarantees the return of Willie Bloomquist. I can pretty much guarantee he won’t be back, barring a trade of Chris Owings or Didi Gregorius — Willie would be fourth on the depth chart at SS, 2B, and LF. Willie had a good season in his limited time on the roster, but he’s been about 40% below average as a hitter for his career. Bringing him back makes little sense.
- Lynch also notes that Martin Prado improved as the season went on. I took a stab at explaining how Prado turned it around in a piece earlier this month.
- I missed this last week: a new Diamondbacks team photo.
- Baseball Prospectus disclosed their voting for offseason awards ($), with Paul Goldschmidt coming in second for NL MVP. I am quietly expecting a 3rd-place finish, despite Goldy’s very strong finish to the season, but this could be a dynamic that repeats itself in the real voting: Goldy finished second despite getting less first-place votes (1) than Clayton Kershaw (2). Andrew McCutchen has a stranglehold on the award now, which maybe lessens the appeal of voting for Kershaw at all. Maybe Goldy will show up second on more ballots, at the end of the day.
Inside the ‘Zona isn’t going anywhere this offseason — Jeff and I will still be posting regularly. There’s lots to analyze from this season, and Kevin Towers rarely fails to make things interesting.
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