Last game of first half monumental for Diamondbacks
Little in life is like baseball. Few things are as intricate, as multi-dimensional and myriad. One-hundred sixty-two games. Twenty-five thousand pitches. A baker's dozen worth of variables for every swing, slide, and situation. All of these accommodate some measure of significance, together comprising the fate of teams, players, coaches and executives.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers take the field on Sunday, this splendid reality will be vivid.
With a win, the Diamondbacks can finish the first half of their season just one game under .500, trimming their division deficit to just four games.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have the chance to finish the first half of their season with sole possession of the National League West lead (the Giants will enter play half a game back on Sunday), as they head for the All-Star break with an opportunity for their banged-up team to rest and recover before a difficult second half of the season.
"Nice to get yourself some momentum here going to the break?" a reporter asked Diamondbacks' Manager Kirk Gibson after Saturday's 5-3 win against the Dodgers.
"Well," Gibson responded, "we want to win tomorrow... [It would be] a big win tomorrow if we can crank something else off of our deficit."
Sunday is, indeed, big. In fact, it's the biggest game of the first half for the Diamondbacks.
A 21-year-old with 7.1 career innings -- and more earned runs -- under his belt will face a 33-year-old veteran who's in the midst of the best season of his career.
For the Diamondbacks, Trevor Bauer -- top prospect and hopeful rotation mainstay for years to come -- will chase his first career win. He failed to get more than 12 outs in either of his first two starts, giving up 11 hits, seven walks, and nine runs (eight earned) in 7.1 cumulative innings.
Chris Capuano will seek his 10th win for the Dodgers, who are looking to split the four-game series with the Diamondbacks.
One could argue this game is technically no more important than the other 161 on the Diamondbacks' schedule, or the other 17 versus the Dodgers. And as far as wins and losses and playoff races go, they'd be right. But seeming intangibles are rarely this palpable.
Kismet has this game doused. Consider:
Teams' All-Star break morales largely rest on this game. Beyond division standings, the destiny of players, coaches and executives could be seriously affected by this game. Players may or may not be traded based on the outcome of this game. Pitchers may or may not have secured a spot in their team's rotation by the end of this game. Everyday roles -- like the ones at shortstop, third base and centerfield for the Diamondbacks -- may or may not be decided by the end of this game.
Teams are about to go under the microscope. Sunday is the last chance for the Diamondbacks and Dodgers to modify and mold their first halves.
A lot is at stake and even more is at play when the first half finale commences on Sunday.
- Derrick Hall, D-backs President & CEO - Thursday May 23Hall talks to Doug & Wolf about injured players and the upcoming series
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB Insider - Thursday May 23Timmy gives us insider insight into this week's top MLB headlines.
- Kevin Towers, D-backs' General Manager - Wednesday May 22Are the D-backs ready for the upcoming MLB June draft? What's the latest on Adam Eaton?
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs' Manager - Tuesday May 21Gibby on Pat Corbin, Adam Eaton's return, & Paul Goldschmidt's success.
- Eric Chavez - Friday May 17D-Backs 3rd baseman Eric Chavez joined Burns & Gambo to discuss his recent hot streak.