It’s not about wins and losses right now for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Memo to the national media who are criticizing Arizona for their actions Tuesday night at Chase Field: The Diamondbacks are out of it. They are not contending for the National League West crown or a Wild Card. They won’t even make it to .500 this season. They are playing for pride and for the future. Drilling Ryan Braun Tuesday night plants the seeds and hopefully changes the environment for future D-backs teams — and trust me, this environment needed to be changed.
For three years we have watched hitter after hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks take it on the chin and have no retaliation from the pitching staff. Anyone remember how many times Justin Upton was hit? Anyone remember what Kevin Towers said about the Dodgers taking liberty with the D-backs. Or how about what skipper Kirk Gibson said about Ryan Braun and his PED use?
This was the perfect storm. Public enemy No. 1 Braun at the plate with runners on second and third and an open base with one out in the seventh inning and Arizona ahead 4-3. Let’s remember the night before — same situation runners on second and third open base and Braun up. J.J. Putz pitched to Braun and the lying cheater ripped a two-run triple that gave Milwaukee a 9-3 lead and put the game away. Circle back to last night. Arizona wasn’t pitching to Braun in that spot. They were going to put him on to set up a double play or a force out at any base. It was the proper baseball decision. Yes, Jonathan Lucroy burned them with the grand slam, but the strategy was correct.
On Monday night Gerardo Parra was hit on purpose by Wily Peralta. In the sixth inning Tuesday, it was Chris Owings taking it on the back of the neck on a pitch by Kyle Lohse. Enough was enough. The Diamondbacks should have plunked Braun Monday night in the eighth or ninth inning and they didn’t. They had another chance and took advantage.
It was necessary and yes, that is baseball. Stick up for your teammates. There is a reason Evan Marshall got fist pumps from every coach and player in that clubhouse after he was ejected for hitting Braun.
Arizona wasn’t trying to lose the game. They weren’t sacrificing a win for revenge. They were trying to accomplish both and it didn’t work. But so what? They lost, whoop de damn do. So instead of being 13 games under .500 they are now 14 games under. Trust me, we stopped looking at the D-backs’ record in late April.
As AC/DC said, “I’ve got big balls, And they’re such big balls” And Tuesday night finally someone on this team had some balls.