What a Difference a Year Makes?

On May 7, 2009 the Arizona Diamondbacks announced they had fired manager Bob Melvin and hitting coach Rick Schu. They also accepted the resignation of pitching coach Bryan Price. General Manager Josh Byrnes introduced AJ Hinch, the Diamondbacks former Director of Player Personnel, as the team’s new manager.

At the time the Diamondbacks were in last place in the National League West. They had suffered the loss of starting pitcher Brandon Webb and left fielder Conor Jackson. The pitching staff was inconsistent and the offense went through hot and cold streaks that were driving management and the fans crazy.

At the time of the firing, the Diamondbacks record was 12-17 and trending downward. As the Arizona Diamondbacks began a six game home stand against the Milwaukee Brewers, the 2010 season is not looking that much differently.

At the one-year anniversary of Melvin’s firing the team had a record of 14-15 just two games in front of last year’s pace. Over the next four games the team would lose everyone putting them just one game ahead of last year’s record.

The pitching staff is still a shambles. Brandon Webb has still not returned and there does not appear to be any set timeframe for when he will again pitch off the mound. Left fielder Conor Jackson is just returning from an injury.

The hitters who had been very good earlier in the season all seem to have cooled off at exactly the same time. The starting pitching has been questionable with only Dan Haren and Ian Kennedy showing any signs of consistency. Add to that the fact that the Diamondbacks are at or near the bottom of every statistical category for relief pitching and these two years don’t look all that different.

So far Hinch has stood behind his bullpen and his players which sounds suspiciously like what Melvin said just days before his release. So far GM Byrnes and his staff have not been willing to make any changes.

The fans are getting noticeably frustrated and attendance appears to be getting lighter. Whether the attendance figures are a result of the poor Arizona economy or the struggling team on-field it is having a clear impact on the turnstiles.

The question now on nearly everyone’s lips is how long will the Diamondbacks stand pat before they are forced to make some changes to try and salvage this season. Over the past three years this team has not shown the ability to put together a sustainable winning streak to get back into the race.

If that fact continues to hold true it is going to be a very long summer in the desert. Personally I am still holding out hope that things will turn around but then I thought the Diamondbacks had a chance in 2004 at which point they went on to lose a franchise worst 111 games.



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