Has the pre-season gloom dissipated?
As Opening Day arrived, things did not look too good for the Diamondbacks. A mediocre spring had also seen the team wracked by injuries. The roster was missing our best hitter from last year, Kole Calhoun, our best defender Nick Ahmed, team ace Zac Gallen, and veteran relievers Tyler Clippard and Joakim Soria. Unsurprisingly, confidence was at a low ebb:
- 33% – 1 (not confident in the slightest)
- 20% – 2
- 26% – 3
- 6% – 4
- 6% – 5
- 4% – 6
- 4% – 7
- 0% – 8
- 2% – 9 (very, very, VERY confident)
That’s basically eighty percent of respondents who were at a three or lower – a radical change from last year, when the comparable figure was just thirteen percent. The result was easily the lowest Opening Day figure in poll history at just 2.67. Here’s how this stacks up against the previous confidence numbers we’ve polled at the start of April.
- 2016 – 7.07
- 2017 – 5.37
- 2018 – 6.82
- 2019 – 4.49
- 2020 – 6.48
- 2021 – 2.67
Ouch. Below, you can see the breakdown for the past 12 polls’ results, followed by the line graph showing the trends over this and previous seasons.
And, yet… As I write this on Friday afternoon, the team is preparing to play their final game of the month, and are above .500. Only four NL teams have a better record than the D-backs, who have outscored their opponents over the first 25 games. That’s thanks largely to an offense which has scored more runs than any other team in the league. Which is remarkable, considering they have not yet been able to play a single game with their “best” line-up all on the field. The pitching has been… up and down, shall we say. Gallen came back quicker than expected, and Madison Bumgarner threw a “no-hitter”. But there have been issues elsewhere. Still, safe to say things have gone better than most expected.
Has that changed how you feel, or has this over-achievement been just a fluke, a flash in the pan that will evaporate as the grind of a full season takes its toll? This one should be particularly interesting. The poll is below, feel free to explain your choice in the comments, especially if it has changed from the April poll.