It’s Like the Twilight Zone With Mitts

To say this road trip has been strange would be like saying Conor Jackson doesn’t feel well. While the statement is accurate it does not even begin to express how weird this trip has been. The funny thing is you cannot just point to one thing as the source of the bizarre nature. It is more of an eclectic collection of weirdness that has made up this trip.

It really began at the conclusion of the home stand at Chase Field when closer Chad Qualls twisted to get out of the way of a batted ball and dislocated his kneecap requiring season ending surgery. The team left for Los Angeles not knowing the extent of Qualls injury and by the time game one started at Dodger Stadium they learned the team no longer had a closer but rather a collection of arms with no closing experience they would rely upon to finish out close games.

The strangeness continued during game one of the series when starting pitcher Jon Garland was traded during the game to the opposing team. After saying good-bye to his Diamondbacks teammates and coaches he gathered his things and walked from the visitor’s clubhouse to the home clubhouse. Within a span of an hour Garland went from cheering Justin Upton’s home run to tie the game to consoling his new teammates that had just gotten beat by his former club.

Game two of the series brought another strange and unusual occurrence when a fan brought a remote control airplane into the stadium and flew it over the field disrupting the game during the sixth inning. Play stopped on several occasions as the plane dipped and rolled over the outfield and the stands. The plane finally crashed in front of the Diamondbacks dugout and was destroyed by utility player Augie Ojeda who did his best height-challenged Godzilla impression.

The third game of the series say Diamondbacks starter Max Scherzer record his longest outing of his career lasting 7 2/3 innings allowing only one run and throwing 102 pitches. It was not just his dominating arm and relatively judicious pitch count. Scherzer also battled with his bat getting a hit that would open the gates for the Diamondbacks to score four runs against Chad Billingsley.

And if that was not strange enough Max also broke up a double play causing a Dodgers error extending the inning for the Diamondbacks. Arizona would end up winning that game and for the second night in a row reliever Juan Gutierrez would record a save staking claim to the now vacant closer’s job.

This brings us to game four, the final game to this series. Arizona was to send Jon Garland to the mound against the Dodgers but after the trade they will instead send Billy Buckner to the mound to face the Dodgers. Los Angeles will counter with right-handed pitcher Jon Garland. Yes, the same Jon Garland that was in the Diamondbacks dugout when the series started.

It will obviously be strange facing their former teammate just a few days after the trade. This is not the only time the Diamondbacks will see Garland either. He is tentatively scheduled to start the game next Tuesday at Chase Field when the Dodgers visit the Diamondbacks.

I am not sure which team will have an advantage tonight. Garland had an opportunity for five months to see the Diamondbacks hitters up close and assess their strengths and weaknesses at the plate. The Diamondbacks batters likewise played behind Garland for most of the season and know what his tendencies are in various situations. This storyline alone will make tonight’s game must see TV.

The way this series has gone so far, I half expect to see Rod Sterling appear before the first pitch and perhaps sing the national anthem.


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