La, La, La, La, I Can’t Hear You

When the Arizona Diamondbacks began this six game road trip there were a lot of questions as to whether they would falter against their divisional rivals. The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Padres make up the top of the National League West food chain and each are very capable of running away with the divisional crown. While Arizona has played San Diego evenly over the course of this season the snakes have been abysmal against Los Angeles. The Dodgers have flat out owned the Diamondbacks so far in 2007 with Arizona only managing a 2-7 record. This is the kind of albatross that can drag a team down into a state of depression that they never recover from. As I looked at the schedule for August it was this past week that just made me cringe. The 8 game winning streak at the end of July could be a distant memory if the Diamondbacks got swept in San Diego and Los Angeles. Fortunately that hasn’t been the case.

The Diamondbacks began the San Diego series winning the first two games of the three game set ensuring them of a series win. The third game looked ominously familiar to the final game against the Braves when the Diamondbacks were soundly beaten 0-11. Following that clubbing Arizona went north to Chavez Raven to face their nemesis the Dodgers. The first game was brilliantly pitched by Doug Davis who continued his undefeated record against Los Angeles this year. The second game of the series saw Livan Hernandez face Derrick Lowe. On paper this one definitely looked to favor the home team but the Diamondbacks staked themselves a 7 run lead which they then squandered before finally holding on for an 8-7 victory. That was the most frustrating game I have ever watched. Nothing seemed to go write for Arizona. Who could have imagined after a 7-0 lead that the game would end with a Jose Valverde save? In the end the victory was all that mattered regardless of how ugly it was a win is a win. This set the stage for the final game of the road trip and a chance to sweep the Dodgers.

On the mound for Los Angeles was Brad Penny. All-Star Brad Penny the former Diamondback that seems to enjoy reminding the team of what could have been had he not been traded in 1999 for closer Matt Mantei. At the time that was the right move as it catapulted the Diamondbacks into the play-offs where they faced the New York Mets. Mantei would go on to record 74 saves for the Diamondbacks which was a franchise best until earlier this season when Jose Valverde surpassed him. But with a thin market for starting pitching Brad Penny not in a Diamondbacks uniform is tough to deal with. This is especially the case the past two years as he represented the Dodgers both seasons at the all-star game. Penny would face reigning Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb who has suddenly found another gear this late in the season. The game today had all the markings of a pitcher’s duel and the fans were not disappointed. Penny pitched well allowing only 3 runs on 6 hits. Unfortunately for him Webb pitched better allowing no runs and 7 hits. So after only winning 2 of the first 9 games against the Dodgers the Diamondbacks can now boast that they have a .556 winning percentage. The team returns home posting a 5-1 record and has a 1.5 game lead over the San Diego Padres. Dodger stadium was much quieter than I have heard in the past. I guess losing does that to a team.

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