One of the most anticipated times in Phoenix and surrounding areas is opening day for the Diamondbacks. Baseball is a staple for residents who are hopeful to see the Diamondbacks back in form and repeating their Division title victories in 2007 and 2011. While the D-Backs didn’t make it into the post season last year, many players and fans are preparing for an improved 2019 season.
The D-Backs started their 2018 season strong with 9 consecutive series wins, setting a record not matched since 1907. After starting strong, however, a September slump lead them to fall into third place in the National League West, which put them out of contention for the pennant. Fans left 2018 disappointed in what seemed like a hopeful season but have plenty of reasons to remain hopeful for 2019.
With that in mind, the Diamondbacks coach Luis Urueta has made selective trades to bolster the bullpen and fill gaps left by traded players. There have been some serious changes from 2018 to 2019 , and the D-Backs are boasting a franchise-record for payroll heading into the 2019 season.
In October, the D-Backs hired a new hitting coach in Darnell Coles to help on that front. They also worked out a trade for a couple of left-handed pitchers in Robby Scott (from Cincinnati) and Tim Locastro (from the Yankees). Most importantly, they are developing depth in the bullpen with their list of pitchers by moving their closing slot around between a couple of their existing veterans.
After some key losses—specifically first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Center Fielder A.J Pollock, and Patrick Corban, the D-Backs are looking to do a little rebuilding. This includes moving third baseman Jake Lamb to first to fill that gap. These losses are expected to be felt by the club, as these players were long-time Diamondback players, but the club is expected to use its budget and depth in other positions to keep their defense up to par.
The Diamondbacks open their 2019 season facing off against the LA Dodgers (at Los Angeles) in a four-game series beginning March 28th. The Diamondbacks home opener will find them competing against the Boston Red Sox (the first time they have hosted the Sox at home since 2007) for a three-game series beginning April 5th at Chase Field before they take a break and run a two-series rally at home against the Houston Texans and the San Diego Padres.
Most interestingly, the Boston Red Sox one the World Series in 2018, and Las Vegas oddsmakers are predicting another Boston win in 2019. Arizona has an estimated 60-1 chance to pull out a win, perhaps reflecting their performance late in the 2018 season.