For the longest time, ESPN MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian thought the battle to win the NL West would be tight and filled with many contenders.
Now, a little more than halfway through the campaign, he’s ready to declare it a two-team race.
“When I see the Diamondbacks get on a tear, and I see Adam Eaton return for them, it looks like they’re going to win more than 85 games this year,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Wednesday. “And then you watch the Dodgers and see how well they’ve played not just for the last week, but really for the last month or so, they’re starting to become a better team also.”
The Diamondbacks currently pace the division with a 47-43 record, but the Dodgers are just 2.5 games back at 44-45. The teams are set to finish a three-game series Wednesday night in Phoenix, as the home team looks to prevent a sweep.
No matter what happens Wednesday, there is still plenty of baseball left to be played, and Kurkjian believes the D-backs may need to make a move or two if they are to hold off L.A. and take the division.
“If they can get another pitcher that would obviously help, but Ricky Nolasco showed you [Tuesday] night the benefit, at least for one night, of making a trade, what it means to a team,” he said. “When players on a team see that the front office has gone out and added somebody, and that somebody — such as Ricky Nolasco — comes in and pitches really well for seven innings, the team is emboldened.”
At that point, Kurkjian says, players then take it upon themselves to play better because management has done what it can to put them in position to succeed.
“I think that’s what the Diamondbacks need to do, and I think they will,” he said. “There’s still plenty of pitchers out there. I don’t think one is a real difference maker, but the Matt Garzas of the world are really useful people to help you get to where you need to go, and I think the Diamondbacks have to do something, I think they will do something.
“Because I think they understand that the Dodgers aren’t done yet.”
Maybe that will be the route the D-backs take, as they have been linked to some of the available starting pitchers. Whether or not they will be — or should be — willing to part with the necessary assets to swing a deal remains to be seen.