One June 11, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers engaged in a brawl.
At the time, Arizona was 36-28 and leading the NL West. L.A., on the other hand, was 27-36 and looking like an incredibly expensive flop.
Since then, the D-backs have gone 43-49, whereas the Dodgers have posted a 63-30 mark. Los Angeles won the NL West and looks every bit the World Series contender people projected them to be when the season began.
The D-backs won just four of 12 games against the Dodgers since the brawl, and at this point it’s obvious that if Arizona is to contend for a postseason spot next season, something is going to have to change, not only with the talent on the roster, but the roster’s attitude.
“They pretty much manhandled us from the beaning and the brawl we had in L.A.,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday. “They went one direction and we went the other.
“Those things have been talked about internally here, and it has to change for us to get back to being a championship ballclub and be where they’re at.”
Towers added the D-backs will have to “play a little bit meaner” and “protect our own,” saying it should not be up to the team’s management to take on that role.
“Those teams that have the swagger, those teams that wear the horns, that have the edge which they did at the end of the year play the game that way, and we didn’t,” he said.
That’s not to say Towers is not fond of the roster he assembled, as he believes the D-backs are a classy team that plays hard, wants to win and plays baseball the right way. But there are times, he said, where teammates need to protect their own.
“To me, there’s nothing more important than protecting your peers.”
There have been numerous instances of the D-backs not exactly doing that this season, with one even occurring Monday night in San Diego.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, D-backs reliever Heath Bell hit the Padres’ Ronny Cedeno in the head with a pitch. The following inning, San Diego’s Luke Gregerson threw a pitch at Aaron Hill. And although it didn’t hit him, Towers believes the D-backs should have responded.
“It sent a message,” Towers said of what Gregerson did. “And we come back, and certainly there was warnings, maybe the worst thing that’s going to happen is maybe you get a pitcher ejected, but I don’t think anybody on our side backed up Aaron Hill, and that’s bothersome.”