At this time yesterday, things were looking especially bleak for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They had just lost the first two games of their series against the New York Mets. They were 1-7 on the ten game road trip. And they were getting set to oppose perhaps the National League’s best pitcher, Matt Harvey. Then they got behind 2-0, staring in the face of a sixth consecutive defeat. Enter Cody Ross, who launched the biggest hit of his D’back career, a three run home run that gave Arizona a lead they would not relinquish. Fast forward to this afternoon when the bullpen gave away not one but two extra inning leads before Cliff Pennington, Mr. Extra Frame, singled home the winning run in the top of the 15th for another marathon victory by the score of 5-4. What can we take away from these two dramatic wins?
This road trip was as bad as anyone could have imagined. Yet, the team still managed to stay over .500 and retain their first place lead. It is quite possible that the previous eight games represented the bottoming out of the D’backs, that is they won’t go through a worse stretch than that the rest of the season. They get to come home to play three teams that are under .500: the Colorado Rockies, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers. As it stands right now, the Snakes own three game leads on both the Rockies and Dodgers. It is quite possible that if they take two of three from both teams and then win the series against the Brewers, they could head into the All Star Break with a five game lead or more. However, the thing that could be their undoing is their bullpen. The unit had a painfully bad series and let’s face it, do you trust anyone to close out games right now? The top three guys entering the season, J.J. Putz, Heath Bell and David Hernandez sure make fans cringe when the door swings open and see one of those three entering the game. Perhaps Will Harris with his 1.83 ERA in 23 games will be placed in more critical situations like today when he entered in the eighth inning with the score tied at 2.
When the D’backs began this road trip, they had a three game lead. After this horrific stretch, they are 2.5 games out in front. We may look back at these last two games as the turning point of the season and at Cody Ross’s home run as the hit that turned the season around.
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