Maybe this comes from personal bias but it would be glorious if the Los Angeles Dodgers missed the playoffs entirely. The thought of ending the Dodgers 5-year run as NL West regular season division champs only incites rabid excitement about eliminating them all together from the playoff picture. Holding an 8-4 advantage over the Dodgers in their seasonal series thus far, the Arizona Diamondbacks sit atop the NL West with a 0.5 game lead. The focus needs to be on winning the NL West! Ending a 5-year playoff drought with a Wild Card appearance last season was fine. This season making the playoffs as only a Wild Card should be viewed as a disappointment.
The key to focusing on winning the pennant relies on looking inward and not outward. Players and fans cannot allow themselves to become scoreboard watchers. Would it be nice if the Colorado Rockies took three out of four games this weekend from the Los Angeles Dodgers? Yes, but it mean nothing if the Dbacks cannot win the upcoming road series against the woeful Cincinnati Reds.
Back in May, the Diamondbacks took care of business hosting the Reds winning two of three games. Paul Goldschmidt, mired in his cold start, raised his batting average to .209 going 3-9 at the plate with 3 RBI. The bullpen, in today’s baseball game the key to winning in the playoffs, pitched nine (9) shutout innings. The streak snapped in the final inning of the 3-game set.
Fast forwarding to today, as we all expected, Goldschmidt’s numbers have come back to right about where everyone expected them. Arizona’s starters feature a 3.95 ERA placing them a respectable 11th in the league with the bullpen coming in 2nd in the league with 3.09 ERA.
More so than in the past couple seasons the team has avoided catastrophic injury. It’s been a wonderful sight seeing AJ Pollock and David Peralta in the same outfield over 50 times already this season. It is still a personal belief that the disappointment that was 2016 was fueled more by the absence of these two gentlemen than the struggles of Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Now if only Steven Souza Jr. can find the power we all know he has in his bat and Jarrod Dyson can return healthy enough to continue wreaking havoc on the base paths.
Yes, the Jake Lamb injury hurts but the trade deadline acquisition of Eduardo Escobar peels off the word catastrophic. Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed will not intimidate any opposing pitchers but numbers do not lie. Marte leads all second baseman in triples with 10 and Ahmed is one of four shortstops with 16 homers and 24 stolen bases.
With a four game road series and a three game home series remaining against the West Coast version of the evil empire, the Dbacks do wield some power in knocking them out of contention. First things first though. The next step in narrowing the focus on winning the NL West is a taking the series from Cincinnati.