Dbacks/Dodgers series is a critical one

Arizona Sports News online

It’s an important stretch of games the Diamondbacks are in right now. They’re in the midst of playing 17 of their next 22 games at Chase Field. This stretch includes the All-Star break.

After salvaging their East Coast trip a bit by winning the final two games against the New York Mets at Citi Field, the Diamondbacks continued their recent hot streak by sweeping the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field over the weekend.

The team takes things game by game and series by series, which continues with the Los Angeles Dodgers invading downtown Phoenix for a three-game series this week.

Coming into Monday’s play, Arizona has a 4.5 game lead on Los Angeles. It’s a bit of breathing room for the Diamondbacks, but they know with the Dodgers starting to warm up over recent weeks, it’s imperative that they win as many games as they can in this series.

“They’ve played well,” Dbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “They’re a different team and we need to play well to beat them.”

The brawl between these two teams at Dodger Stadium a few weeks back made headlines worldwide because of the sheer chaos that ensued. Both teams have had time to get over what happened, and the majority of the players in the clubhouse, including All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, feel things won’t get too heated like it did back in Los Angeles.

“I think guys are going to go out there and play hard like we always do, and try and win the games,” Goldschmidt said. “I don’t expect anything to happen but you never know what’s going to go on.”

Right now, the Diamondbacks are the hunted, by virtue of being in first place in the NL West. They can be up a half game, they can be up 4 1/2 games. It doesn’t matter. The Dodgers want to be where they are, so they’re going to go all out in this three game set to get as close as they can to the top perch Arizona sits at currently.

“It’s good to be where we’re at right now and hopefully it stays there for the rest of the way,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “Obviously, you don’t want to be in second, [and] keep chasing somebody, you’d much rather feel like they’re chasing you than you keep following somebody.”