How the Arizona Diamondbacks Have Managed to Cling to First Place
|Photo by Jim Louvau|
Somehow, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves at the top of the NL West at the all-star break.
Arizona has had its difficulties this year, including injuries to multiple starters, 24 games without a win by a starting pitcher, and bipolar play, in which the team will follow up a terrible series with a wonderful next series. But, despite the hardships, the Diamondbacks have stayed in first for most of the year, so here's a list of five things that have helped the Diamondbacks reach their 50-45 mark.
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5. Paul Goldschmidt
Without Goldschmidt, the D-backs would probably be at the bottom of the NL West; instead, they're at the top, thanks in large part to the all-star. Goldschmidt leads the Diamondbacks in just about every offensive category -- even stolen bases, with nine. Goldschmidt has already eclipsed last season's home run total of 20, with 21 long balls this year, good enough for fourth-best in the NL. America's First Baseman has been Mr. Everything for Arizona this year. It's a shame Kirk Gibson doesn't try him as a pitcher, as he would probably be better at relieving games than half of the bullpen.
4. The Rest of the Division Sucks
Arizona has clung on to first place for most of the year, which says more about how bad the division is than how good the D-backs have been. The Diamondbacks have wavered just above .500 all year, while the rest of the division has battled for second place. First, it was the Giants, but their pitching failed them. The Padres and Rockies have returned to mediocrity after challenging Arizona for first place for the first few months of the season. And now Puig-mania has energized the Dodgers to a .500 record. The D-backs have had every chance to take control of the division and, hopefully, after the all-star break, the Diamondbacks can finally put the division in the bag.