Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks showed why he could be a contender for the National League MVP award.
If the Arizona Diamondbacks stay in the National League West Division race for the balance of the season, there is little doubt as to the value of Paul Goldschmidt.
As well, should the Colorado Rockies maintain on their steady course of action, the same can be said for third baseman Nolan Arenado.
In an early season showdown of the two West rivals, separated by one game coming into play Tuesday night, both Goldschmidt and Arenado delivered in clutch situations during the series opener. The way the Rockies have jumped out this season, Arenado and teammate centerfielder Charlie Blackmon, along with Goldschmidt and his teammate Jake Lamb, the Arizona third baseman, have all reached front and center.
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Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, David Peralta tied this series opener with his seventh home run of the season and Goldschmidt followed with his 17th bomb. In what a MVP candidate should do, Goldschmidt developed at a critical time to push the Diamondbacks into a one-run lead.
Then, Arenado tripled in two against starter Zack Greinke in the bottom of the eighth and that gave the Rockies a 4-3 victory. For his part, Arenado did what a MVP candidate should do and deliverd at a critical time.
The loss snapped the Diamondbacks’ winning streak at seven games. At the same time, Arenado, with a 2-for-4 night, lifted his batting average to .372 (16-for-43) over his last 10 games.
The fact this series is in June does not take away from the competitive inclination, but manager Torey Lovullo reminded RoxPile.com before the game of the calendar.
"“It’s only June 20 but I’m proud of these guys and what they accomplished,” he said. “We have a long way to go. It’s not necessarily do or die. We want to come in and play our brand of baseball against a quality opponent. If this was September and at the end of the season, I think it would say more do or die. For right now, it’s June 20 and we’ll just do our thing.”"
At this point of the season, Lovullo is careful not to overflow with excitement. Cautious and measured with words, Lovullo remains guarded in his language and careful in how much he actually says.
Still, the Diamondbacks are in the middle of the division race and the fervor seem to mount. Nowhere any crescendo at this point, Lovullo remains mindful of the formidable task ahead.
"“Just want to play our brand of baseball..” he said. “We’re winning games but not gaining ground. We love preparing ourselves for battles every single day. That’s what you want to do to have success in August and September. You want to say you’re battle-tested. Credit to the three teams (the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers) at the top of the division.”"
The series with the Rockies continues at Coors Field. On Wednesday night, righty Taijuan Walker (5-3, 3.32 ERA) takes on righty Jeff Hoffman (4-0, 2.25). In the finale Thursday afternoon, look for righty Zack Godley (2-1, 2.34) to oppose right-hander Antonio Senzatela (9-2, 4.10).
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For Thursday, that was lefty Patrick Corbin normal start, but Lovullo wanted Corbin to skip the Rockies in Coors. Instead, Corbin will open a 10-game home stand Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies in Chase Field.