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Swept Into Contention

Posted By Chas Forsythe On Aug 3 2012 @ 1:44 am In Arizona Diamondbacks,MLB | No Comments

The second half of the season began with the Diamondbacks getting swept by the Cubs and notching only three runs in the process.   The Cubs are going nowhere this season and were looking to be a seller at the trade deadline, so obviously it was a very disappointing series.   However, since then the D-Backs have run off twelve victories while losing only five times to climb back into the race.   This was capped off by a dominating three game sweep of the playoff hopeful Dodgers.  During the series the D-Backs starters went a total of 20 innings while giving up only two runs.  The boys from LA were put on notice that the D-Backs weren’t ready to start thinking about next season just yet.  Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero led the hit parade combining for four HRs and 11 RBIs in the series.

The National League West was busy at the trade deadline, SF and LA were the ones making the headlines but the D-Backs also made some small moves.  The Giants added Marco Scutaro and most notably Hunter Pence from the Phillies.  LA was busier than any other team closing in on the deadline adding three former All Stars to their roster.  Brandon League will shore up the bullpen while Shane Victorino will add some speed to the top of the order.  The wild card was LA trading for Hanley Ramirez, who had appeared to have worn out his welcome in Miami.  Just a couple seasons ago he was one of the best players in baseball.  While he doesn’t bring the dreads to LA that Manny did a few years ago, LA is hoping for a similar infusion of excitement.

The D-Backs, in three separate trades, showed the door to Ryan Roberts and Craig Breslow.  Packing their bags and heading to AZ will be Matt Albers and third baseman Chris Johnson.  Letting go of a solid left handed arm out of the bullpen in Breslow is a bit confusing but the key here is Johnson.  Albers will head to the bullpen where he pitched well for Boston this season logging a 2.29 ERA in 40 appearances.  Johnson should see the majority of the time at 3rd base the rest of the year and will be looked at to bring some sort of consistency to the position.  The D-Backs probably don’t see him as a long term solution; he is however the best player they have had at the hot corner this season.  After six hits in his first eleven at bats there is reason for optimism.

The Giants now lead the division with the Dodgers nipping at their heels only a half game back.  The sweep of the Dodgers has gotten the D-Backs within two games of the lead and should make for an interesting three way battle the rest of the way.  After their competitors made the big moves at the deadline can AZ hang in the race and which sweep will be more foretelling, the loss to the Cubs or the triumph over the Dodgers?  Only time will tell.

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