The Diamondbacks have been the proverbial red headed stepchild of the National League West. They have nipped at the Giants heels all season but could never make the jump into first. Finally on August 11th with a little help from the Phillies, the Diamondbacks took a one game lead over the Giants and Arizona has not looked back.
The Diamondbacks took a 6 game winning streak into their series with Philladelphia. The whole world was ready for a Phillies sweep over the “weak” NL West leaders. The Phillies were in control but the Diamondbacks would not go away. The Phillies held the lead 2-1 lead going into the 9th. Roy Halladay had 12 strikeouts having held the Diamondbacks to just one run over 8 innings. Philadelphia failed to remember the Diamondbacks lead the MLB with 34 comeback wins. This time the hero would be newly signed Lyle Overbay who knocked in 2 runs to give Arizona the lead and eventually the win. The Diamondbacks not only beat the Phillies, they did it in Philadelphia and against arguably the best pitcher in baseball.
The Phillies would go onto pound on the Diamondbacks the next two games. This is not a sign that the Diamondbacks are weak. The season series between the Diamondbacks and Phillies is tied at 3-3. Not a bad outing against the best team in baseball. If the Diamondbacks and Phillies face in the playoffs it will set up quite the storyline. Can the Diamondbacks dust themselves off in time to hold on to their small division lead? As long as the Giants keep losing they will not have a problem. The Giants have lost 12 of their last 18 games.
Meanwhile the Diamondbacks still have the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals next week to finish off their road trip. More than 50% of the Diamondbacks remaining schedule is against the Rockies, Dodgers, and Padres. No more Phillies, no more Braves with only 2 series remaining against the Giants.
Tonight, the Diamondbacks throw Wade Miley onto the mound who was just called up from AAA to replace injured Jason Marquis. Only time will tell if Wade Miley is the answer. Kirk Gibson likes the idea of keeping Micah Owings and Zack Duke in the bullpen for stability and long relief. However, not having that strong fifth arm in the rotation could be an Achilles Heel.
One way or another Arizona needs to find some stability. Assuming the Diamondbacks can pull themselves together against the Braves they should have no problem holding onto their division lead.
About the Author
Written by Matthew Hesse
Matthew Hesse is currently located in Tucson, Arizona and he graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors in Business Management in 2009. Graduated from Tiffin University with a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Sports Management in 2011. Recent intern with the Pro Exposure Basketball Showcase and Greene Sports Management. Fan of Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, and the University of Arizona Athletics.