Column: Are the D-Backs for real? It’s too early to tell

'On The Ball'

by Brian M. Bergner Jr.

For all the changes made by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason, it seems the club has things moving in the right direction.

But is it too early to tell? That’s a safe assumption.

After Tuesday’s series opening win in San Diego, Arizona boasted a 10-5 record, its best start since the 2002 campaign, a year after they won a World Series.

But then the club turned around and lost two straight to the Padres, including Thursday night’s 4-1 loss. The Padres could lose 100 games this season!

Don’t take their opponents for granted in the first month of the 2017 season, however, because 20 of Arizona’s first 30 games come against clubs that made the postseason a year ago.

The San Francisco Giants are always formidable, and Arizona took three of four from them to begin the season, including an incredible come-from-behind victory against Madison Bumgarner, who had a perfecto going into the seventh inning on opening day.

The Diamondbacks than swept defending AL champion Cleveland to wrap up the season’s first home stand.

Also take into account the club’s first road trip, which began 1-4. Arizona responded by winning the last two of a four-game series in Los Angeles last weekend. They only won two games all season at Dodger Stadium in 2016.

First-year skipper Torey Lovullo seems to have quickly restored respectability and belief within player ranks, who appear more and more confident as the early season progresses.

Even in a tough 1-0 loss Wednesday to the Padres, Zack Greinke was lights out, pitching eight innings of one-run baseball, showing everyone why the powers that be signed him to a $206 million contract.

The new front office staff led by general manager Mike Hazen are still currently cleaning up the mess Tony LaRussa and Dave Stewart left behind, but their first few moves have already paid dividends.

Closer Fernando Rodney is off to a good start, catchers Jeff Mathis and Chris Iannetta look solid behind the plate and bench players Daniel Descalso and Jeremy Hazelbaker have already shown their worth.

Even the Taijuan Walker trade, sending Jean Segura to Seattle, seems to have worked out well for both sides.

Add that to a solid core of Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Jake Lamb, Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin, and the Diamondbacks may have one of the better clubs to fly under the radar this season.

Remember, in the baseball realm, things change daily. A fickle fan base can be filled with cheer one day, then claim the sky is falling after getting swept, erupting in “the season is over” agony.

One things for sure, in an ultra-competitive NL West featuring baseball’s highest payroll (Dodgers) and an upstart Colorado Rockies (who knew they’d be good in a post-Troy Tulowitzki era) club that leads the early division standings, it could be an exciting 2017 season for Diamondback fans.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is associate sports editor and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him at bbergner@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.