One-sixth of the way through the season, the Diamondbacks' unimpressive 11-15 record has allowed the Dodgers to begin running away with the National League West. The offensive is horrible, ranking dead last in batting average (.227), on-base percentage (.300) and near the bottom in runs per game (3.77). They're striking out 7.58 times a game, fourth worst in the NL, which explains the gentle breeze in Glendale.
And yet after all the clamor about lack of hitting, the biggest loss has still been ace Brandon Webb. Believe it or not, he's still the key to saving the season in the desert.
Currently Webb is rehabbing his shoulder, an injury that doesn't have very much description to it. It just hurts when he throws, Webb says. If you remember, fans and bloggers weren't exactly optimistic about Webb's quick return, and that was before the team told him to stop throwing baseballs.
Webb may not return to the team until perhaps June, meaning he would be good for just over half a season. Unless, of course, it still hurts to throw off the mound in a couple weeks, and then the team may just — here comes a monsoon of speculation, folks — operate on Webb's arm, ending his season and then begin to sell off parts from their lineup at the trading deadline.
We may not be hearing the truth about Webb's arm — as Joe Posnanski wrote on his blog yesterday, sometimes lies are warranted — but perhaps it's because the team and their intelligent doctors simply don't know what's wrong with him. Is it possible? I don't claim to have incarnate knowledge of the human arm but I do know that not everything is known in the world of biology and that doctors can — gasp! — make incorrect diagnoses.
In the meantime, fill-in ace Dan Haren continues to throw magical lightning from the mound, second baseman Felipe Lopez is the only Diamondback in the lineup hitting over .275, and Tony Pena and Chad Qualls lead the bullpen in fewest times cursed by their fans. It's not shaping up to be that fun of a season.