Coming into the 2014 season, the general consensus was that the Arizona Diamondbacks would finish with close to a .500 record. With nearly 15 percent of their season complete, the Diamondbacks are already halfway there in a rather dismal sense, playing .250 ball through 24 games. Arizona has shown a level of ineptitude above and beyond simply a cold start.
Going back to 1900, only 81 teams won six or fewer games of the first 24. As might be expected, it's a list populated by a lot of teams that were cellar dwellers at the end of the season and very few teams that were competitive after their weak starts. Of the other 80 teams to start this badly or worse -- my time machine is broken, so I can't include Arizona -- only five made it back above .500. In that group, only a single team ended up making the playoffs, the 1914 Boston Braves, who went 88-41 after their 6-18 start and swept Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's in the World Series.
By run differential, Arizona looks even worse.
Having allowed 60 more runs than they scored in their first 24, the Diamondbacks can't even blame the cruelty of baseball's version of Pythagorean theorem, with a runs scored and runs allowed tally that suggest a team that should have gone 7-17 in that span. An extra win would be nice, but even 7-17 is hardly a figure that justifies the front office's winter braggadocio.
Is there any hope? Well...