Talking intelligently about baseball is difficult. We have a tremendous amount of data available, but the same bounty can hide the truth just as easily as it can reveal.
Take, for instance, something as simple as Runs Scored and Runs Allowed. Ignoring the Pythagorean implications, the Diamondbacks don't seem to be doing too terribly. 300 Runs Scored is good enough for 4th in the NL, and 285 Runs Allowed is good enough for 7th. The latter is also the best figure in the NL West, so it seems like things are going okay for Arizona, right?
Yet if we focus a little bit more on Runs Allowed, we see reason for concern. Much of our advantage in the figure is from April, when the team gave up 99 runs in 27 games. Now a little halfway through June and the team has already given up 80.
Likewise, it's felt like the offense has struggled recently, yet June has so far been our best month for scoring runs. We've gone from 115 in April to being on pace for 140 in June.
These macro numbers don't really tell us what's going on anymore than trying to look at the aggregate ERA or batting average. For the offense, it's more accurate to realize the offense has been propped up by Paul Goldschmidt and Gerardo Parra, with additional help from Eric Chavez and Didi Gregorious. Yet as good as these guys have been, there also 3 major players that are dragging the lineup down. Martin Prado, Cody Ross, and Jason Kubel all have wRC+ less than 73, and these were guys that were expected to either be pillars, or at least good supporters.
If we're really looking for a culprit for June, however, we should just look at the last 10 days. The Diamondbacks have lost 8 games in June so far, to 7 wins. 7 of those losses have come in the last 10 games. The team's in a slump, certainly, but it could just be a short-term problem, one that might be correlated to Goldschmidt's week-long slump.
I think even looking at these slices is misleading, however. I can't put in a testable model, but it feels like the team doesn't suffer so much from being terrible at any one thing, but that none of the pieces are currently aligning. Take last night, where Patrick Corbin pitches more than well enough to earn a win, but the offense doesn't do its job. Yes, Heath Bell can be looked at for giving up the game winning home run, but if the team scores a normal amount of runs then that 9th inning homer doesn't matter.
Good teams need starting pitching, hitting, relief pitching, and fielding. It feels like the team is in a slump where these four elements are never fully aligning.
But how do you fix a problem like that? There's been some health issues, but at the moment the team needs to fix what it has on hand. Does the lineup need to be shuffled? Bring up fresh blood from the minors? A magical device? I don't have the answer, but maybe you have thoughts.
What do you think the D-backs should do, if anything?