The D-Backs had a good start in their return to contention in the NL West yesterday by beating the first place Dodgers 5-1 yesterday to avoid a sweep–and a double digit deficit in the division. Instead of 10.5 games out, the D-Backs find themselves 8.5 behind the Dodgers who just lost the NL’s best player for two weeks to a hamstring injury.
Coinciding with the the loss of Matt Kemp by the Dodgers is a run in the D-Backs schedule against teams that have been underperforming. 17 of the Diamondbacks next 20 games come against teams with records of .500 or worse including the Padres, Royals, Brewers, Rockies and a series against the rival Giants. The D-Backs also get a chance to make up ground on the Dodgers with a May 21st – 23rd home series that will likely see them miss ace Clayton Kershaw.
Kemp is the catalyst that drives the Dodgers offense. While it’s never good to see a superstar injured, it comes at an opportune time for the D-backs. The injury and their soft schedule perhaps allows the Diamondbacks to remain within striking distance as they’re currently perilously close to falling out of the NL West chase early should they fail to turn around their recent skid.
If you’re looking for reason to believe that the Dodgers will struggle without Kemp, look no further than yesterday’s game. The Dodgers one run–on a solo home run–matched their lowest output for the season. If the Diamondbacks are going to make a run, now is as good a time as any.