Those Pesky Trolley Dodgers

Going into this series with the Los Angeles Dodgers I had hoped that the Diamondbacks would take two out of three games at a minimum and hopefully sweep the Dodgers and put some space between them and their divisional rivals. Instead the Arizona Diamondbacks went into today’s game in a must win situation to avoid being swept by the third place team in the division. In my mind the Diamondbacks had their best opportunity to win in the first two games. Doug Davis was in my mind our best chance of getting a win since he had dominated the Dodgers during his career. Likewise Livan Hernandez has had past success and has historically been a much stronger pitcher in the second half of the season. In both instances the Diamondbacks were turned back by timely hitting and strong pitching by the Dodgers. This left the fate of the series in the hands of Edgar Gonzalez the last remaining Gonzalez on the current active roster. I have to be honest I’ve had happier thoughts this season.

Edgar Gonzalez has had an interesting season. He left Spring Training with the hopes of being the fifth starter. With injuries to Randy Johnson; Edgar was actually the fourth starter for the first three weeks of the season. As the pitching staff evolved Gonzalez found himself destined for the bullpen in a long relief role. He accepted that and has been a serviceable pitcher for much of the season. In the mean time the Diamondbacks have auditioned several individuals to take that fifth start with varying degrees of success. Now in the last three weeks of the season the Diamondbacks are again looking to Edgar Gonzalez to step in and pitch well to help the team make the play-offs.

The Dodgers have given the Diamondbacks a lot of trouble this season. Los Angeles has a 5-1 record against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field and a 4-4 record at Dodger Stadium. The 4-4 record is slightly misleading. Three of those losses came in August when the Diamondbacks swept the Dodgers with 2 of those games being one-run losses. It could very easily have been a 6-2 record at home. Given the Dodgers dominance perhaps it was a lot to ask of Gonzalez to lead the team to a victory. Today’s game showed the resilience of the 2007 Diamondbacks. Gonzalez looked very good limiting the Dodgers to 1 run on 6 hits over 5 innings. The Arizona offense took matters into their own hands scoring 6 runs on 6 hits to give the team a much needed victory over Los Angeles. The win extended the Diamondbacks lead to 4.5 games over the Dodgers and helped them maintain a 2 game lead over second place San Diego. While not the series win that any of us were hoping for, it did take another game off the schedule making it more difficult for teams behind the Diamondbacks to make up ground in the standings. This time of year schedule attrition is almost as important as wins.

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