At one point, even recently, the Arizona Diamondbacks were the darlings of the baseball world. As recently as July 1, the Diamondbacks were 16 games over .500. They were on pace for 96 wins, and in theory, cruising to a playoff spot and even challening the Dodgers for the NL West title. Now, just over 5 weeks later, the Diamondbacks have lost 7 straight and 18 of the last 23 overall. They have fallen all the way to .500 and 2 games out of a wildcard spot!
This is just the latest reminder that baseball is a marathon and not a sprint. 162 games is a looooong time. The Dodgers started a little slowly this year, but they have a winning pedigree and know how to pace themselves over a long season. It’s easy to forget that this isn’t football or even basketball, where a couple of bad games or a bad couple of weeks can derail your season. Every baseball fan knows that the season is filled with peaks and valleys. There’s a reason this time of year is referred to as “the dog days of Summer” during the season. It’s hotter than usual and for a team like the Diamondbacks, a team that hasn’t won a lot in recent years, the pressure can build and become real. Now, it’s a snowballing effect. We’re seeing this with other surprises from earlier in the year, such as the Marlins and Reds. The teams that have been there before have that experience to draw from.
However, there’s still time for the Diamondbacks to turn it around! That’s what makes the long season so enjoyable. Teams that are struggling now can use these losing streaks as motivation and learn from these experiences. The teams that do and still manage to make the playoffs will be better off for this, and realize that resilience is a key for any winning team.