Last game of first half monumental for Diamondbacks

Jul 8, 2012, 3:07 PM | Updated: Jul 9, 2012, 7:42 pm

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.

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