This must be the jungle because there are head hunters everywhere

The series with the Los Angeles Dodgers was brutal. After sweeping the Dodgers in May in a two-game series, the Diamondbacks come to LA and get swept in three games. It wasn’t just losing these games, it was the way they were lost. The first two games were lopsided routs and the final game though the score made it look a lot closer than it was.

Losing three games to a divisional rival is bad. Getting beat brutally is even worse. But the thing that struck me the most was the undertone of the game. During the game on Monday, Arizona pitchers hit 4 batters. Three of those were Nomar Garciaparra. The first was by pitcher Juan Cruz who just came off the disabled list and was fairly inconsistent with his location. The next two hit batters were by Edgar Gonzalez, a rookie, who hit Garciaparra and Russell Martin. Finally Randy Choate came in and hit Garciaparra again. This seemed too coincidental to all be accidental. Anyone who follows the game had to know that something was going to happen when a team’s best hitter is plunked 3 times.

In the game on Tuesday things seemed to calm down and level heads prevailed. Brandon Meddars of the Diamondbacks did hit JD Drew setting the stage for something to happen. Danny Baez of the Dodgers did not disappoint. In the ninth inning of a game that was way out of hand, Baez drilled Shawn Green in the hip. This was definitely intentional as Baez had been exhibiting good control. This was clearly a message that the Diamondbacks were fair game. Luis Gonzalez clearly took offense to this and expressed his disdain with Baez and the Dodger pitching staff. What started as a series between two divisional teams was quickly deteriorating into something pretty ugly. It set the stage for the final game of the series.

Brad Penny was making his final start before the All-Star break and as a named all-star you didn’t expect him to get into any trouble. Claudio Vargas has been pitching well and you didn’t expect him to start anything either. The game was cleanly played with neither team planning retaliation. At least that was the way it was until the top of the eighth inning. With Penny now out of the game, Dodger manager Grady Little brought in Danny Baez. The Dodgers were leading 5-2 and seemed to be in control of the game. Eric Byrnes on a full count and singled to center field. Chad Tracy then came up and popped out to the shortstop on a 3-1 count. Connor Jackson flew out on a 2-0 pitch to right field putting Luis Gonzalez at the plate with 2 outs and Byrnes on first. With the count of 1-2 Baez hits Gonzalez. Everyone was expecting Gonzo to charge the mound but instead he went to first but not before staring down Baez. Estrada came to the plate and lined out to the shortstop on a 2-2 count.

It was clear that Baez did not appreciate Gonzalez’ comments and Gonzo didn’t appreciate Baez throwing at his teammates or him. There had not been any bad blood between these two teams before but that has clearly changed. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Dodgers come to Chase Field on July 17 for a 4 game series. I have a feeling that there may be fireworks even after Independence Day.

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