Average Arizona: Diamondbacks set record for being OK
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks had an absolutely amazing run of being average.
In a strange Major League Baseball record that's the epitome of OK, the Diamondbacks were within two games of .500 — plus or minus — for more than two months. They lost to the Colorado Rockies on June 18 to fall to 38-36 and remained a middle-of-the-road club since for a huge chunk of the season.
The 60-game streak beat the Oakland A's mark of 56 straight games set in 2007, according to STATS. It finally ended on Friday night when the Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4, pushing their record to 69-66.
It's a run that was partly encouraging and partly frustrating for Arizona manager Torey Lovullo.
"I've talked about it being like a dune buggy on a sandy road in the Sahara Desert," Lovullo said. "Even though I've never been to the Sahara Desert, I can imagine there are some sand dunes there. You're just bouncing up and down and trying to do the best thing to eliminate that noise and that rattle."
Arizona is doing a lot of things right if you look at stats like run differential. The Diamondbacks have scored 68 more runs than their opponents this season, which suggests they should have a better record.
They've also been resilient: Ace Zack Greinke was surprisingly sent to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline, but the Diamondbacks have continued to hang around .500 and stay on the fringe of the NL wild-card race.
They were 4 ½ games behind the second wild-card spot after Thursday's games. The Diamondbacks have 17 of their remaining 27 games at home.
"You look at how we play baseball when we're doing things the right way, we should get on a run," Lovullo said. "If you're going to project things, it's sometime soon. When it does, it's going to be fun to watch."
Arizona has an intriguing roster, with a relatively young core of Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Nick Ahmed, Carson Kelly and Christian Walker. The rotation has been solid despite 59 starts from rookies, a team record.
Archie Bradley has emerged as the team's best closer over the past month, giving the Diamondbacks confidence in the ninth inning.
Put it all together and the Diamondbacks look as if they should be a pretty good team, but they're running out of time to show it.
Still, things are looking up: They're on a five-game winning streak after beating the Dodgers for a second straight night.
"With the talent in this clubhouse, we feel like we could have put ourselves in a better position, but we are where we are right now," Walker said. "So it's just a matter of moving forward and taking care of business."