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Preview, #156: 9/23 vs. Rockies

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Worst September ever?

Cowboys Camp

The Diamondbacks are now 5-15 in September. As we noted earlier in the week, this is the worst slump - in terms of performance compared to the earlier part of the season - in franchise history. But it’s now looking increasingly likely to be the worst September ever for the D-backs, regardless of previous play. The chart below sums up the play after August 31 for each year since the D-backs came into existence in 1998.

D-backs Septembers, 1998-2018

Year W L W-L% RS RA DIff RS/G RA/G Diff/G OPS ERA
Year W L W-L% RS RA DIff RS/G RA/G Diff/G OPS ERA
1998 12 12 .500 94 109 -15 3.92 4.54 -0.63 .683 4.00
1999 21 8 .724 179 129 50 6.17 4.45 1.72 .864 4.24
2000 12 18 .400 129 143 -14 4.30 4.77 -0.47 .713 4.65
2001 14 13 .519 157 130 27 5.81 4.81 1.00 .817 4.27
2002 14 13 .519 141 152 -11 5.22 5.63 -0.41 .791 5.17
2003 14 12 .538 123 133 -10 4.73 5.12 -0.38 .775 4.66
2004 10 20 .333 103 157 -54 3.43 5.23 -1.80 .666 4.61
2005 16 11 .593 106 111 -5 3.93 4.11 -0.19 .747 3.77
2006 12 17 .414 125 118 7 4.31 4.07 0.24 .722 3.82
2007 15 11 .577 139 118 21 5.35 4.54 0.81 .811 4.28
2008 13 13 .500 96 111 -15 3.69 4.27 -0.58 .760 3.96
2009 10 20 .333 118 156 -38 3.93 5.20 -1.27 .704 5.15
2010 11 18 .379 100 120 -20 3.45 4.14 -0.69 .688 3.91
2011 16 9 .640 119 89 30 4.76 3.56 1.20 .759 3.43
2012 15 14 .517 148 128 20 5.10 4.41 0.69 .776 3.90
2013 12 16 .429 107 132 -25 3.82 4.71 -0.89 .695 4.46
2014 7 19 .269 87 116 -29 3.35 4.46 -1.12 .623 4.54
2015 16 15 .516 132 148 -16 4.26 4.77 -0.52 .770 4.19
2016 13 16 .448 146 148 -2 5.03 5.10 -0.07 .757 4.94
2017 17 11 .607 157 116 41 5.61 4.14 1.46 .798 3.74
2018 5 15 .250 73 109 -36 3.65 5.45 -1.80 .653 5.33

What we see from this is as follows:

  • Yes, our win percentage is currently the all-time low. We would need to go 3-4 over the remaining seven games in order to finish about the previous worst (2014). I am not optimistic about that.
  • In terms of run differential, we are on pace to tie the record for runs per game. In 2004, we were also outscored by 1.8 per game. Matching 2004 is never a good thing in D-backs history. We need to be outscored by 12 or fewer runs down the stretch to avoid a new record there.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the offense which has been the particular source of the problem. There, we are at least ahead of three seasons (2004, 2010 and 2014) in runs scored per game, though are beating only 2014 in OPS.
  • No, the problem has more been pitching, where our September ERA of 5.33 is on top of the previous all-time worst of 5.17. Oddly, that was set in 2002, then the team won 98 games. However, they still had a winning record that month, and were only outscored by 11.

It has certainly been a month to forget. The team hasn’t just played badly, either. While I haven’t watched as much as I could have - yesterday was the first full game in several weeks - from what I have seen, and what others have said, it certainly seems they are doing so with little energy or enthusiasm. There is some good news though. Defeat for us today would make it almost impossible for the Dodgers to clinch at Chase Field next week. If we lose to the Rockies here, the Dodgers would need to beat the Padres, then sweep the D-backs AND hope the Rockies get swept at home by the Phillies in order to take the division here. Small mercies, yet those are probably all we have left.