After 162 games the Diamondbacks ended the 2013 season with the same record as they did in 2012, 81 wins and 81 losses. Last offseason General Manager Kevin Towers wanted to build a ball club centered around grit and determination, and traded away players he felt did not fit in with this image. Exit Justin Upton and Chris Young, enter Martín Prado, Cody Ross, Cliff Pennington and others. To say the grit plan was a failure would be incorrect, however this season did leave something to be desired for Dback fans.
Going into the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were supposed to fight it out all season long for the National League West Division Title. The Giants were defending World Series Champions, and the Dodgers had infused millions and millions of dollars into their payroll. The Diamondbacks were somewhat of an afterthought, but with the rebuilt bullpen and that gritty, never-say-die attitude Towers constructed, some pundits thought they could compete with the Dodgers and Giants.
After a slow start to the season for both L.A. and San Francisco, the Diamondbacks jumped out to the top of the division. By the end of June, Arizona was on top of the West and the Giants and Dodgers were in fourth and fifth place respectively. It appeared that a division title was a strong possibility for the Dbacks. But a month later, everything would be different.
By the end of July, the Dodgers had overtaken the Dbacks and had a hold on first place. Yasiel Puig had only been in the big leagues for a short time but was already making his mark. The Dodgers would go on a run of historical proportions, leaving the Diamondbacks in the dust, with little chance to catch them. Some say the turning point of the season came on June 11th, when Ian Kennedy hit Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke with a retaliation pitch, resulting in a full out BaseBrawl. Kennedy was suspended 10 games, and it was after this game that the Dodgers began their incredible winning ways. The Dodgers' record going into June 11th: 28-36, last place in the National League West. The Dodgers' record after the brawl: 64-34, finishing with a 92-70 record, National League West Champions.
Speaking of Kennedy, he is in large point one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Two years removed from a Cy Young calibre season, Kennedy looked shaky all season long and was traded before the trade deadline. The supposed Ace of the pitching staff would finish his season in San Diego.
All season long we waited for the Dbacks to go on a run, reeling off 7 victories here and 8 victories there, but one never came. The 81-81 record is truly representative of how the team played. No long losing streaks, but no long winning streaks either.
Not everyone was disappointing though. Paul Goldschmidt continued his upward progression and had a coming out party all season long. He had an MVP calibre season, leading the National League in RBI and tied for the league lead in Home Runs. His defense also took a step forward. He was rewarded mid season for his production with his first All Star Game appearance.
Perhaps one of the biggest, most pleasant surprises in all of baseball was the performance of Patrick Corbin. Competing for the fifth and final spot in the rotation during Spring Training, not much was expected from Corbin coming off of his average Rookie season. But Corbin shot out of the gates to start the season, pitching extremely well and catching the attention of the entire National League. Aided by a fantastic slider which he was able to control, Corbin dominated in the first half of the season and was also rewarded with his first trip to the All Star Game. Corbin fell off slightly in the second half, but still finished with a good Win-Loss record and Earned Run Average. Along with Goldschmidt, Corbin looks like he could be a star in the making.
Overall, the season for the Arizona Diamondbacks was just average. But when you are expecting to win and do well, average is disappointing. The Dbacks have some great, young pieces on this team and could be on the verge of a dynasty if they can put it all together. Hopefully this offseason, management will add another missing piece or two to complete the squad. Now that the season is complete, all we can do is wait patiently and excitedly for 2014.