Most teams would be disappointed with a 63-67 record at this juncture of the season, but not the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team that finished with baseball’s worst record a year ago. In 2015, the D-backs have overachieved tremendously, and entering the final month of the campaign, they even have a chance — albeit a very, very small one — at making a run at first-place in the NL West.
Tied with the San Diego Padres for third-place and 9.5 games back of the division-leading Dodgers, stranger things have happened in baseball history. Arizona has a month-and-change to go to make up that deficit, and considering they had basically zero expectations entering the year, there’s really nothing to lose from here on out, especially for the club’s fanbase. That’s because the average price on tickets to see the Diamondbacks the rest of the way clocks in at just $50.62, which could turn out to be an extraordinary value if Arizona makes an improbable postseason push. Even if they don’t, this is a team that has actually looked exciting throughout the season, paving the way for plenty of hope in regards to the near-future.
Of course, Arizona is led by its star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who continues to put up some of the best numbers in the game, hitting .325 with 26 home runs and 96 RBI entering the final day in August. Yasmany Tomas, the Cuban defector that Arizona signed during the offseason, hasn’t disappointed in his first year in the big leagues, batting .288, with 8 homers and 43 RBI. Furthermore, A.J. Pollock has been the team’s best surprise this season, hitting .319 to go along with 13 home runs, and he’s been such a bright spot this year that he was rewarded with his first career All-Star berth. David Peralta and Ender Inciarte have also made useful contributions in the outfield, too.
While making the playoffs seems unlikely, Arizona will definitely have plenty of meaningful baseball to be played throughout the final month-and-change of the season. One such matchup involves them traveling to storied Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs, which actually ranks as their most expensive series left in the year. Cubs tickets are normally a bit more pricey and that sentiment holds true for this early-September shown, as tickets are averaging $111.62 for the three-game set, while the get-in price is more than $30 for two of the three games, according to Razorgator.
The D-backs will also see a lot more of the two division rivals that currently sit above them duking it out for first-place. That, of course, would be the Dodgers and Giants, and fortunately for Arizona, they have a combined 13 games opposing both, providing a little bit of hope that perhaps they can make a run in overtaking both of them.
If the Diamondbacks are to make any sort of run, however, they’ll need improved starting pitching to help lead the way. The rotation has mostly been ineffective throughout the season, as even their Opening Day starter, Josh Collmenter, no longer resides on the pitching staff, as he was demoted to the bullpen months ago. The return of Patrick Corbin from Tommy John surgery has been a nice lift, not to mention the encouraging performance of youngster Robbie Ray, but outside of that, the depth in Arizona’s rotation is weak, and it could ultimately be their undoing.
When it comes to thinking about next season, the Diamondbacks should be happy with their immediate future outlook, especially after how last season went. But as for this season, they don’t want to throw in the towel just yet, and with so many important games against their NL West foes remaining, perhaps Arizona isn’t done surprising the baseball world.