The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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The Dbacks are Fine

The celebration of sports return lasted less than two games for Dbacks fans.

After a pair of blowout losses inside fan-less Dodger Stadium, many Dbacks fans were already in midseason form with their pessimism.

Its funny how quickly our muscle memory kicks in as sports fans. Instead of being grateful and appreciative to have live sports back in our lives on a regular basis, we instinctively revert to complaining about umpires, lineups, bullpens, pitchers and pace of place.

Now, don't get be wrong, its not ideal to have the Dodgers blow your doors off a few days before the sprint of a 60 game season begins. One change that every baseball player and team is going to have to adjust to is the simple fact that there isn't the same long runway to endure losing streaks or slumps. In a typical baseball season, there's always time to ride it out and get back on track. This season? A single bad week could cost your team a playoff spot.

But let's keep one MAJOR fact in mind before we overreact to the Dbacks exhibition humiliation: Taylor Clarke and Taylor Widener were the starters.

Starting pitchers set a tone and when your starters on back to back nights are giving up grand slams to Cody Bellinger or rolling over innings because of high pitch counts, its tone deaf to winning.

The Diamondbacks went out and signed postseason legend Madison Bumgarner to set a tone. Robbie Ray's impending free agency will set a tone. Zac Gallen's youthful ace potential will set a tone. Luke Weaver picking up where he left off will set a tone. Merrill Kelly's occasional brilliance can even set a tone from the 5th starter spot.

This team, like every MLB team, is going to live or die with their pitching staff this season. It doesn't end with the starters. There's a chance a middle reliever could be the Cy Young this year. A pitcher that can go 2-3 innings 40+ times with dominant results could be the most valuable weapon in baseball.

For the Diamondbacks their new look bullpen is going to have to avoid prolonged stretches of futility. We've all sat down at the Dbacks closer roulette table in recent years and the results have been wildly scattered. This team this year needs Archie Bradley to be at his best for virtually the entire season. I believe that can happen.

Its not how you start, its how you finish and this year in baseball the wait to prove that true has never been shorter. The Dbacks are still a playoff pick for me.

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