At 20-43, the Arizona Diamondbacks have the worst record in baseball by three games. They’ve lost 19 consecutive road games — their last road win was Madison Bumgarner’s— and are 5-30 in their last 35 games overall. It has been a brutal stretch for the D-Backs.
Rarely does a team go through a stretch this terrible and not make changes. On Thursday, the D-Backs announced they have fired hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske. Triple-A hitting coach Rick Short and run production coordinator Drew Hedman have been elevated to Arizona’s co-hitting coaches. The D-Backs hired Coles and Hinske in Nov. 2018.
The D-Backs are averaging 4.17 runs per game, 19th most in baseball, and they rank 23rd in batting average (.231), 23rd in on-base percentage (.305), 23rd in slugging percentage (.380), and 25th in OPS+ (87). The offense has ranked among the worst in the league, and when that happens, the hitting coach(es) usually takes the fall.
Furthermore, several core D-Backs players have had disappointing seasons at the plate, including Nick Ahmed (66 OPS+), David Peralta (94 OPS+), and Christian Walker (49 OPS+). That said, catcher Carson Kelly (135 OPS+) has bounced back nicely from a tough 2020 season, and rookie Pavin Smith has been very good (115 OPS+).
Coles and Hinske are not the reason Arizona has a 4.97 ERA, however, nor responsible for the fact that three of Arizona’s top four in innings (Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly, Riley Smith) have an ERA north of 5.00. Generally speaking, coaches are first to go, then the manager, then the general manager. Manager Torey Lovullo could be on thin ice now.
Arizona has an off-day Thursday before opening a three-game home series with the Angels on Friday night. The team will look to avoid its 20th consecutive road loss when it heads to San Francisco on Monday.