The Diamondbacks weren’t due to compete for first place in the NL West this year, in part because the roster was having issues, but mostly because the Dodgers and Padres had rosters loaded. Turns out the Giants are pretty good too.
But no one thought the team in the desert would be this bad. Once upon a time, the Diamondbacks were 15-13, just two games away from first place in their division. Since then? They are just 5-36, an almost incomprehensible number. But that’s not even the worst stat in stretching.
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They have lost 22 straight road games. This equals the MLB record for back-to-back road losses. If they want to avoid being alone in the lead, they’ll have to beat the Giants on Thursday, and it won’t be easy. The Giants have the best record in the greats (43-25) and their best pitcher, Kevin Gausman (1.43 ERA, 7-1 record), is on the mound.
At least the Diamondbacks’ last road victory was memorable. It was Madison Bumgarner’s gem, when he (officially) had no hits against the Braves in seven innings in the nightcap of a doubles program on April 25. How long has it been since the Diamondbacks won a game? Here are some of the big things that have happened in the world of sports since April 15th.
Let’s start with baseball. The young Blue Jays star – soon to be a “superstar” – has completed 18 home runs, scoring 44 RBIs in 45 games since the Diamondbacks last celebrated a W.
Coach K announces his retirement
News of the retirement of North Carolina varsity basketball coach Roy Williams broke on April 1. The Diamondbacks lost their first game of the season – on the road, of course – to the Padres. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski held his retirement press conference on June 3, the same day the Diamondbacks lost – on the road, of course – to the Brewers in Milwaukee. It was the # 14 loss of the streak.
Lefty wins a big one
No one doubts Phil Mickelson’s flair for drama throughout his career, but no one seriously expected Mickelson to compete in major championships, not at his age. But he was there, at age 50 – weeks away from his 51st birthday – winning the PGA Championship on May 23 and earning $ 2.16 million for his unspoiled walking weekend. Lefty became the oldest golfer to win a major championship.
Lloyd scores again
About a month into his 39th birthday, Carli Lloyd scored his 125th career goal in international competition, in a friendly against Jamaica. It wasn’t necessarily a record – she was already alone in sixth place on the all-time list – but 125 just looks like a much better number than 124.
Montreal barely snuck into the NHL playoffs – 59 points was the lowest total for any team in the playoffs – but the Canadiens played inspired hockey. First, they ousted the Maple Leafs (a 77-point team) in the first round, rallying to a 3-1 deficit. They won Games 5 and 6 in overtime, then got a 3-1 victory in Game 7. Then they swept the Jets, and now they’re one of the four remaining teams, tied with the Golden Knights. , 1-1, in the semifinals.
Back when the Diamondbacks last won a road game, we knew that at some point the toll was imminent, a possible crackdown on the sticky substances used by pitchers to increase turnover rates. Well, now it’s about here. MLB announced its policies – anything other than rosin is illegal – and penalties – 10-game suspension for first offense – earlier this week, and enforcement begins June 21. It’s going to be complicated, folks.
Pulisic makes history
In the long and rich history of the Champions League, no member of the United States Men’s National Team has ever made a final, let alone a winning team. So far, that is. On May 29, Christian Pulisic, a midfielder from Hershey, Pa. Made history when Chelsea FC defeated Manchester City to win the championship.
Well, a little. There is an official proposal on the table for an expansion of the current four-team playoff model in college football to a 12-team playoff model. The mere idea that the college football playoff management committee is seriously considering the proposal, after years of membership in the current format, is a little mind-boggling.
Four more hits have been thrown from MadBum’s gem. Surprisingly, perhaps, the Diamondbacks weren’t one of those teams. John Means shut down the Mariners on May 5, Wade Miley shutout Cleveland on May 7, Spencer Turnbull silenced the M’s again on May 18, and Corey Kluber punched out former Rangers teammates on May 19. Kevin Gausman, by the way, starts against the D-backs with his 1.43 ERA today.
Delicate situation … in horse racing
Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby on May 1 and then tested positive for a banned substance, betamethasone. Now trainer Bob Baffert – who has a long history of horses that failed tests – has been suspended by both Churchill Downs and the New York Racing Association.
Aaron Rodgers showed up at the Packers camp
Wait, no. It hasn’t happened yet. My fault.
Shohei shows them
As a batter, Ohtani has 12 home runs and seven steals since April 25. As a pitcher, he has a 3.25 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings. These totals are individually impressive, although perhaps not stunning like some of the other numbers here. But for a baseball player to do both? Basically we’ll use just about any excuse to point out how amazing Ohtani has been this season.
Everyone wrote a QB
The NFL Draft was about the guys throwing the ball into the field. The top three picks – led by Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville – were quarterbacks, five of the top 15 picks were signalers, and eight QBs were taken in the first three rounds, which is a record. Oprah should have been on stage instead of Roger Goodell: “You have a quarterback! And you get a quarterback! And you get a quarterback!
Hélio climbs to the top
Helio Castroneves isn’t as old as Mickelson – he’s 46 – but his chances of winning a huge race seemed to be pretty much nil after being dumped by the Penske racing team. But he was there in the winner’s circle after the Indianapolis 500 on May 31, winning his fourth Indy 500 title 20 years after winning his first.
What is more likely to happen next? Another major sporting event or a Diamondbacks road victory? In fact, a road victory for the Dbacks at this point would cover both.