Touch 'Em All: D-backs sweep Dodgers
The Arizona Diamondbacks returned home and swept a two-game series from the Los Angeles Dodgers this week at Chase Field. This brief meeting marked the last time the D-backs and the Dodgers will face off in 2012.
The team in Sedona red took the season series from their division rivals 12-6. The two games in this series were the first time the Snakes won back-to-back one-run games since the opening series of the season.
"We need to keep running in the same direction, things are getting interesting," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson of the National League wild card race. "There's a lot of teams involved, so it's good, it's exciting and the energy should be good."
Ian Kennedy got the start going up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The highly-anticipated showdown between the two lived up to its potential. Kershaw pitched seven innings and didn't allow any earned runs. However, the D-backs did manage to plate one off of an error. Ian Kennedy pitched 7.1 innings and gave up only four hits and no runs to earn his 13th win of the season. The lone Arizona run came on a Miguel Montero double that scored Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh inning. Diamondbacks 1, Dodgers 0.
Trevor Cahill had a shaky first inning, but locked it down after that. The right-hander went seven strong frames and allowed only two runs, both of which came in the first. The D-backs offense was shaky at times but got the job done in the sixth inning when Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra hit back-to-back two-out RBI singles to give the D-backs the lead. Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez closed the door on the Dodgers once Cahill left the game. Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2.
What it Means
Arizona is now 10 games back in the NL West, so even if they sweep the Giants in their upcoming series, it won't mean much in that regard. However, the Diamondbacks are only four games out of the final wild card spot in the NL. The only problem is between them and the Cardinals there are four teams: The Dodgers, Pirates, red-hot Phillies and equally hot Brewers. One thing is for sure, September will be a thriller.
Series Report Card
Better late than never, I suppose. The D-backs may not have much of a chance to get into the playoffs, but a sweep of a division rival is sweet no matter what the context is.
Watching this series you would have thought the Diamondbacks left their bats in San Diego, but they were delivered to Chase Field with everything else. In fact, Kirk Gibson's squad just ran into two pitchers who brought their A-game to Arizona. It took until the sixth inning on Wednesday for the offense to really kick into gear, as Upton hit a clutch two-out RBI single to tie the game. Parra followed suit with another RBI single that gave the team a 3-2 lead.
It was an essentially flawless series for Arizona from a fielding perspective. They turned two double plays in Tuesday's game and played well behind their pitchers both nights.
Ian Kennedy pitched perhaps his best game of the season on Tuesday, starting what would be a great series for the D-backs pitching staff. Both Kennedy and Cahill each had great outings and the bullpen looked strong as well, even without the services of closer J.J. Putz who was out of action with a stiff back.
Kirk Gibson gave Jason Kubel a day off on Wednesday and Gerardo Parra was the one who came up with the game-winning RBI. Coincidence? I think not.
Play of the Series:
Parra's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning on Wednesday proved to be Arizona's winning run in the game.
Player of the Series:
Paul Goldschmidt. The first baseman went 2-for-5 with three runs scored in the series.
Stat of the Series:
Diamondbacks starters are 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA in their last 12 games against the Dodgers.
The "Dikembe Mutombo Finger Wag" Award:
Trevor Cahill. In the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday, Cahill grounded out to the pitcher. But that isn't what is getting the finger wag, that would be his lack of hustle. Cahill essentially walked towards the bag, so much so that Aaron Harang could have rolled the ball to first and still gotten him out by a mile. Come on man!
The Road Ahead
The Diamondbacks have another day off on Thursday, before welcoming the San Francisco Giants into town on Friday for a three-game set. It will be throwback weekend at Chase Field, featuring the old team colors and an alumni game on Saturday night.