The Rundown: Goldy’s Streaking, Secret to Success, Losing a Legend

Sometimes in life, as in baseball, you bump along trying to figure out what direction to go in. It happens to everyone, or at least everyone I know, and is something that you may or may not notice you’re going through. Sure, it helps when someone directly asks you if you’re in a funk, but we all know that sometimes it just takes some good old fashioned self awareness to break through.

The reason I draw a parallel to baseball is because, well, this is a baseball blog and all. And it seems that the Arizona Diamondbacks have been having a little trouble figuring things out themselves. They had been struggling since the All-Star break, with a 7-9 record heading into the series against the Chicago Cubs last week. They then went into Chicago and took down the defending champs in 2-of-3 games. Suddenly, it felt like maybe the team was back on track.

Heading to San Francisco — the team with the worst record in the NL West — it looked like the D-backs were in position to notch a winning road trip. Of course, that didn’t happen as they finished with a 5-5 record. If anything, the inconsistencies of this team once again came bubbling up to the surface. But one thing stayed pretty much the same. Paul Goldschmidt’s performance.

Goldschmidt is putting up MVP-type numbers for a team that, at times, looks lost. In the second half, Goldy is slashing .368/.480/.658 with five home runs and a 183 wRC+. Those numbers are good enough for 1.4 fWAR and that, my frents, is good enough for the top spot among all first basemen in the major leagues over the second half.

The real question isn’t how good Goldschmidt is, or whether he can win the MVP this year. No, this is about whether he can lead this team to a turn-around in the second half of the season. The answer to that question may come on this upcoming home-stand. The D-backs play eight games against three different teams that lead their division, including the two best teams in baseball.

Tell me a secret

Is there a secret to success for the Diamondbacks? Well, there’s certainly a number of things that factor into having a successful season for any team, really. When it comes to the D-backs it seems like the secret may be just giving them a field and letting them play. I realize that seems like a pretty broad statement, so let me expand a little bit.

There’s a good story at Fanrag Sports about Torey Lovullo, his coaching style, and how he goes about getting his players to buy into his philosophy. There’s no doubt that Lovullo has the right touch when it comes to connecting with his players and getting the most out of them. That being said, he also has the tendency to change things up right when everything seems to be swinging into place.

Take Jake Lamb, for example. Lamb hit .279/.376/.546 with 20 home runs and a 128 wRC+ in the first half of the season. In the majority of those games (90.6%, to be precise) he hit from fourth in the batting order. So far in the second half, Lamb has bat fourth in only three games (15% of the time) and he’s batting .197/.379/.424 with just three home runs and a 103 wRC+.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it make sense to at least try and swap Lamb back into the fourth spot in the order and have Goldy bat third? For me, it seems like a no-brainer and shouldn’t really disrupt the offensive production from Goldschmidt. He’s put up a .318/.436/.585 slash-line batting third in the order — 399 plate appearances — so far this season. Kind of seems like one of those situations where the secret to success may be doing what has worked up to this point.

R.I.P Don Baylor

Photo via @Dbacks

The sport lost a legend on Monday. Don Baylor lost his long battle with Multiple Myeloma, a type of cancer. He played 19 seasons in the major-leagues and won the American League Most-Valuable-Player award in 1979 as a member of the California Angels.

I lived in Denver, Colorado while Baylor coached the Rockies in the mid-90s. In fact, I attended the Rockies first ever playoff appearance in 1995 as a wildcard team against the Atlanta Braves. Baylor won National League Manager of the Year for his coaching efforts that season.

Baylor went on to coach the Chicago Cubs from 2000 through 2002. He was hitting coach for the Diamondbacks during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, before moving to the Anaheim Angels, where he ended his coaching career.

He was known as a gentle giant, a guy who was imposing in his stature but always willing to take the time to get to know a player. He will certainly be missed.

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Jon Strong

Jon is the editor and lead writer at Dbacks Insider. He is a life-long, passionate baseball fan who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, playing stickball and watching baseball at the College World Series. He aims to bring you the most up-to-date and relevant Dbacks news and commentary every day.

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