Don’t look now, but the Diamondbacks are within striking distance. With the recent tailspin of the Dodgers, few have noticed an interesting development in the National League West. The Arizona Diamondbacks are a mere 5 games out of first place. In the last six games, Arizona has gained five on the Dodgers.
So as we all focus on the Dodgers taking on the Giants in San Francisco, few are taking notice that by the All Star break, the D-Backs, with a strong run, could be close to if not in first place. As the Dodgers and Giants beat up on each other for three games, Arizona’s schedule places them in Atlanta and Milwaukee for six games before returning home to face the Padres. They then take on the Dodgers in a four game set just before the All Star break. That could be as crucial a series that the Dodgers have had all season.
What have the Diamondbacks done lately? A five game winning streak, 14 wins out of 20. They haven’t been world beaters, but they are slowly inching their way up in the standings in typical “snake-like fashion” as they have taken advantage of inferior teams. Arizona swept the Cubs, swept the A’s, took two of three from the Padres and Rockies. All it took was a Dodger dive and a 10 1/2 game lead over Arizona is down to 5 1/2 over a 12 game stretch.
Any Kirk Gibson managed team needs to be reckoned with. They have underachieved this year and there still is 52% of the season to be played. The Dodgers will be facing Arizona head to head another 13 times. Many of us seem to forget that the Diamondbacks were picked to win the division by almost all prognosticators when the season began. Now over .500 at 37-35, they are in position to make a run.
Arizona starter Wade Miley is 9-3 with a 2.19 ERA, probably a lock for the All Star team. Trevor Cagill and Joe Saunders are have decent years. Ian Kennedy has struggled, and if he turns things around, the N.L. West could be in trouble. The Arizona offense has a lot of guys that can hit the ball out of the ball park. Nobody is tearing the league apart this year, but many are having solid seasons, (Montero, Goldschmidt, Hill, Bloomquist, Upton, and Kubel).
We all key in on the intense Dodger Giant rivalry, all the while, the Snakes slither up closer and closer. It sure caught me by surprise. The Diamondbacks are still in this thing.