D-backs need to capitalize on golden opportunity

May 17, 2012, 2:45 PM | Updated: May 18, 2012, 9:02 pm

It’s only mid-May, but the clock is ticking on the Arizona

Currently 8.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the
NL West, the D-backs’ lackluster 16-22 start has applied
pressure early in the season to “get their act together”.
Overcoming a double-digit deficit in the standings is
never easy, so Kirk Gibson’s club finds itself in a
tenuous position less than one-fourth of the way through
the schedule.

There is hope on the horizon: center fielder Chris Young,
shortstop Stephen Drew and starting pitcher Daniel Hudson
are all getting closer to returning from injuries.
Getting three main cogs back will undoubtedly give the
Diamondbacks a boost.

But until then, the D-backs have been presented with
another golden opportunity to try and exploit. Los
Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, the best player in
baseball not named Josh Hamilton, is on the disabled list
with a strained left hamstring for the next two weeks.

And quite simply, the Dodgers’ offense stinks without Matt

Don’t believe me? In the three games Kemp has missed
since being shelved, the Dodgers have scored a total of
six runs, are batting .229 and are 1-for-14 as a team
with runners in scoring position.

With Kemp in the middle of the lineup this season, the
Dodgers averaged 4.5 runs per game and hit .272 with
runners in scoring position.

It’s admittedly a tiny sample size, but Kemp’s absence has
already been felt.

During an offensive struggle, teams will talk about
keeping a positive attitude and approach and will look
inward to cure their ills. The Diamondbacks are saying
and doing those things, which is the right approach.

But the D-backs have also had a wide door opened up for
them, and Kemp’s injury and the Dodgers’ offensive
difficulties could make Arizona’s climb out of the hole
they’ve dug for themselves a little easier to get out of.

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D-backs need to capitalize on golden opportunity