What a difference punctuation makes. If you insert a comma between the header and subheader, you get "How bad was July 2016 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, really?" which seems positively optimistic. But if you use a period instead, you get the very different, "How bad was July 2016 for the Arizona Diamondbacks? Really." That seems a good deal closer to the truth, to be honest, as the D-backs went 7-17, for a winning percentage of just .292. There has only been one month in D-backs history where they won fewer games: the hell of July 2004, where the team went 5-23.
Part of this is that July contains the All-Star break, so there's a break and less games take place. But even if you look at overall win percentage, this has been the worst calendar month for any Diamondbacks team since the 2014 campaign. Here are some stats for the 10 months with the lowest W% in franchise history.
Looking at this, it's easy to point a finger at the cause. A large portion of awful pitching, with a side order of pathetic defense, which combined to lead to a near all-time record rate of runs allowed. The ERA alone was bad enough. 5.84 was the sixth-worst in Diamondbacks' history, and the highest figure for a month since May 2010 (6.10). But the defense was responsible for 21 unearned runs in only 24 games - close to giving the opposition an extra run per contest. If you include those, then the overall runs per game allowed spikes to 6.58. That's a number which has only been surpassed once. Back in August 2005, the D-backs allowed 196 total runs in 28 games, for an average of exactly seven
However, the offense largely went to sleep in July as well. That .685 OPS was the lowest in the National League for the month, though the Braves and, curiously, the Giants, both scored fewer runs than the D-backs. Arizona hitters showed particularly poor plate discipline, managing 49 walks for July. That's the lowest number for a month in franchise history, dipping below the old record of 51 from August 2004, and led to an OBP of .289. Particular offenders were Yasmany Tomas (90 PA, two walks) and Michael Bourn (98 PA, one walk); the latter also led the team in strikeouts last month, with 24. Though in his short time back, Chris Owings managed 29 plate-appearances without a single base on balls.
So, it's clear that this team has an enormous amount of room to improve during the final two months of the season, and not just on the mound. That is obviously an area of concern, particularly a bullpen where only Randall Delgado has any meaningful amount of major-league experience. But the lack of sound, fundamental baseball in the field is a deficiency which also needs to be addressed, and getting the hitters to leave bad pitches alone should be another focus of the coaching staff. There seem to be a lot of bad habits which have been learned over the first four months, and the D-backs need to flush as many out down the stretch, rather than letting them linger into the 2017 campaign.