Diamondbacks to face challenge in back-to-back division series
By Trisha Garcia
In their next two series, the Arizona Diamondbacks go head-to-head with NL West division rivals.
With consecutive sets against the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the coming week, the Arizona Diamondbacks will undoubtedly face a new challenge. This is an opportunity to prove themselves as a legitmate playoff-contending team.
Being named one of the most surprising team’s in Arizona sports history, the Diamondbacks, were before Friday’s series opener against the Rockies, 2.5 games behind the Dodgers. To challenge the Dodgers, the task should be difficult and arduous.
After the Diamondbacks took the series in Denver last week, the Rockies proceeded to lose eight straight games. That’s coming into the weekend set at Chase Field. The Dodgers, with 53 wins of their own, will face the San Diego Padres, who only have 33 wins.
Unless the Padres pull a few victories out of their friar robes, the Diamondbacks won’t gain much ground in the standings.
Luckily for San Diego, they won’t be facing LA’s ace Clayton Kershaw. They will however kick off the series Friday night by facing undefeated Alex Wood.
The Rockies, whose starting three own an average ERA of 4.36, will face the strong end of the Diamondbacks rotation that includes Robbie Ray, Zack Greinke and Taijuan Walker. The 2017 Diamondbacks losing a game led by any of those three pitchers at home is not a common sight.
But, where does it leave the Diamondbacks for the series against the Dodgers?
With a day off on Monday, the series against the Dodgers will start on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Kershaw was named the starter for game one, according to Dave Roberts and Alanna Rizzo on Twitter. The Diamondbacks will most likely send Zack Godley to the mound to face the Dodgers’ ace.
The day off means that Ray should be available for that matchup against Wood, both having career seasons.
Greinke and Hill should round out the series. Hill is coming off a season-best start that ended in a loss and Greinke, who finally settled down in Arizona, will look for redemption against his former team, who has previously owned him in matchups.
Dodgers’ Brandon McCarthy was supposed to be off the DL on Wednesday, but it looks like the Dodgers will be giving him extra time off. McCarthy will throw a bullpen session, a simulated game and a rehab game,and likely miss the Diamondbacks’ series.
With first place potentially up for grabs going into Tuesday’s series, all three games should receive national attention and higher ratings and attendance than previous games this season.
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The Diamondbacks would need to go undefeated this week and that’s just to gain a half-game lead on the Dodgers. Sweeping the Rockies would keep the Dodgers close, but it doesn’t seem likely the Diamondbacks could climb into first place by the time of the All-Star Game on July 11.