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Arizona Diamondbacks: Lamb, Goldschmidt seek for national attention

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Jake Lamb is on pace to hit 20 home runs before the Al-Star game. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Jake Lamb is on pace to hit 20 home runs before the Al-Star game. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Third baseman Jake Lamb and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks have to overcome “small market” stigma.

Despite helping the Arizona Diamondbacks surge to the top of the National League West division, third baseman Jake Lamb and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt face a prodigious identity crisis. Sure, both are having outstanding seasons and each is worthy of All-Star consideration.

While the mid-summer classic, slated for Marlins Park in Miami on July 11 is rapidly approaching and votes tabulating, Lamb, Goldschmidt and shortstop Chris Owings, who has slid into consideration, all encounter the reality of playing in the the Phoenix market. While the population is approximately 5,000,000 (12th largest market in the country), the Valley, known to local residents, is listed by Janson Media as the 13th media market in the nation. Here, Seattle is listed at number 12 and Tampa/St. Petersburg is 14th in the country.

That gives Goldschmidt, Lamb, Owings and potential writer-in candidates little in terms of monopolizing popular votes. Considering the recent seasons of failure and lack of substantial voters in the greater Phoenix market, the quest to gain votes nationally remains formidable.

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Last season, Lamb was one of five candidates whom fans could vote onto the NL All-Star team as the Final Vote, but fell short to first baseman Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants, who received 10.1 million votes. Lamb finished third behind Belt and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and ahead of Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies

Of the latest tabulation, dated June 12, Lamb, Goldschmidt and Owings all faced challenges. At first base, Goldschmidt (560,456) trailed Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals (1,060,532) and the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo (950.851). At third, Lamb was buried in fifth place (387,229) to the Cubs’ Kris Bryant (1,248,348), the top-vote getter at third and overall. At shortstop Owings was in fifth place (426,590) and behind Zack Cozart of the Cincinnati Reds (997,966), the position leader.

Despite the current lack of national attention, Lamb leads the National League in RBIs (57) and Goldschmidt is third (53). The Rockies’ Mark Reynolds (55) is second. Plus, Goldschmidt is hitting .323, and that’s good enough for the eighth highest batting average in the National League.

In order for Lamb, Owings and Goldschmidt to gain national attention, the Diamondbacks need to keep winning. Going forward, the schedule appears to be somewhat favorable. Seven of their next 10 games are against the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming into play Friday, the Phillies had a season record of 22-43 and a winning percentage of .338. That represents the worst record of any team in the majors.

The other three games on the immediate schedule is with the Rockies in Denver, and an early season showdown for first place in the NL West.

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The Diamondbacks now have three at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

On Friday night, it’s Patrick Corbin (5-6, 5.38) taking on righty Aaron Nola (3-4, 4.40). For Saturday, look for Zack Godley (2-1, 2.44) to face righty Jerad Eickhoff (0-7, 5.09). In the series finale on Sunday afternoon, Robbie Ray (7-3, 2.62) opposes righty Ben Lively (1-1, 3.00). Then, it’s on to Denver and those three with the Rockies.

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